PCOS – Herbal Healing
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS for short, is an incredibly common yet little-discussed hormonal disorder, which effects just under 10% of women of childbearing age.
Many women are unaware of having the condition, due to the insidious yet ultimately life-altering symptoms. If you’ve ever found that your menstrual cycle lasts a little longer than the expected 28 days, you’ve had trouble conceiving, suffer hair loss, adult acne or even find that your weight (especially around your middle / abdomen) is harder to shift than you would hope – these are all signs that may point to you being diagnosed with PCOS.
PCOS is a distinct lack of balance between the two key hormones of your reproductive system, those being estrogen and testosterone. A woman with PCOS shows significantly more testosterone in her bloodstream than a healthy woman of a similar age. This excess of testosterone inhibits a woman’s reproductive system from functioning normally, and can cause symptoms ranging from adult acne, weight-gain, hair loss or even infertility.
The actual diagnosis of PCOS includes several blood tests to check for excess testosterone, and eventually an ultrasound scan of the ovaries. This ultrasound will often reveal “dark spots” on the scan where eggs that would normally have been released during ovulation, have remained unreleased and instead become “cysts” upon the ovaries. The cysts appear to look like “a string of pearls” against the ovary.
There is at this present time, no comprehensive “cure” for PCOS, and instead health professionals suggest a number of life-style changes to help manage the symptoms of the disorder instead.
As PCOS is a hormonal disorder, it can also influence the effectiveness of your insulin, the hormone which controls the amount of sugar in the blood. Women with PCOS often develop Insulin Resistance, which results in the Insulin in the bloodstream becoming less-effective in converting blood-sugars into energy, and instead leaving the sugar to be instantly stored as body fat (as mentioned previously, especially around the central part of the body).
Therefore a diet that is low in carbohydrates, or Low GI, is insisted upon as the main life-style change for a women suffering from PCOS. A simple way to start lowering your carbohydrate intake is to substitute your use of refined sugar with a sweetner, such as Nature’s Sweet Life Xylitol, instead. It is heat stable, therefore can be used in many different recipes to keep the Glycemic Index of your food down.
Taking Control – A Herbal Helping Hand
Generally taking care of your health is of the utmost importance for PCOS suffers, and ensuring you exercise adequately, eat well, take part in smoking relapse prevention and try not to drink too much alcohol will all benefit you greatly, especially if you are trying to conceive.
Herbal products are also cited as a much-needed complimentary therapy in replacement of the lack of prescribed drugs available for dealing with PCOS.
Dong Quai is known to be a traditional ingredient in many herbal remedies aimed at women, especially dealing with their reproductive system. It is a fantastic addition to your everyday herbs, when helping to regulate your menstrual cycle. When teamed with other well-known “feminine” herbs such as Black Cohosh and Red Raspberry Root, as can be found in our “Female Comfort” supplement, these herbs can help balance your hormones to allow for a more comfortable and reliable menstrual cycle.
If you’re trying to conceive, studies have shown that taking Folic Acid before conception and in the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy will greatly aid the development of your baby and help ensure healthy growth. Giving your body and baby the right amount of folic acid can most importantly help reduce the risk of miscarriage, and also reduces the risks of your baby developing a cleft lip and palate.
As for your skin, acne can be a difficult problem to deal with even as a teenager, so having to suffer as an adult can feel even more unjustified. Keeping your skin calm and supple during stages of adult acne is very important, and products such as “Black Ointment” can help sooth angry skin. It contains a mix of herbs, and includes Vitamin E, which is renowned for it’s skin-healing properties.
Although herbal and traditional treatment cannot completely cure PCOS, taking close-care of your symptoms is an important part of your health routine. Studies have found that once a PCOS sufferer can curtail the effects of their symptoms, the disorder itself actually decreases its hold over the body. This is why a combination of herbal supplements and a healthy lifestyle is crucial in learning to live with PCOS in the long-term.