POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS) affects 10% of women of reproductive age and is the most common cause of infertility. The main focus of treatments for PCOS are targeted for decreasing insulin, androgens (testosterone and DHEA) and improving LH/FSH ratios. Diet and lifestyle changes are imperative when treating PCOS. Without these changes, not much else will work effectively, including medications.
Diet and BMI changes have been shown to have the largest impact in treating PCOS. In a study looking at those consuming a high-fat, high-sugar diet, subjects exhibited impaired estradiol, progesterone and LH surges before ovulation. They also found alterations in progesterone to testosterone ratios, which correlated strongly with ovarian cyst formation.
In contrast, a pilot study looking at a low-carb, ketogenic diet found significant improvements in weight, percent-free testosterone, LH/FSH ratio, and fasting insulin in women with PCOS. Other natural therapies that were found to have a great impact on PCOS include berberine, vitex, NAC, cinnamon, saw palmetto and myo-inositol.
In a study on IVF, berberine and metformin treatments prior to IVF improved pregnancy outcome by normalizing parameters in PCOS women and berberine was even found to have a more pronounced therapeutic effect and achieved more live births with fewer side effects than metformin. Although metformin can be extremely helpful in those with PCOS, it can also lead to decreased levels of vitamin B12, magnesium and B6. It might be wise to check these nutrients levels if taking metformin or consider adding these nutrients for protection. Although PCOS can be difficult to treat, there are many natural therapies that can help. There is hope for those wishing to heal PCOS!