Rachel came to me after trying to have a baby for 4 years. She was at her wits end. She tried IVF but had hyperstimulated and was unsure of whether to try again.
She had not had a menstrual cycle in 3.5 years no matter what medication she was on. Rachel used a variety of medications to try to get her ovulating but nothing helped.
After six months on an herb formula, Rachel began to spot. She called me, very excited. I was actually getting a little despondent myself after six months and nothing happening. I asked her to send in her charts so we could see what was going on and lo and behold, she wasn’t going to have a period. She was pregnant! Rachel has now had 2 beautiful little girls while utilizing the herbs.
What happened? How did Rachel conceive when she was told it couldn’t happen? Afterall, she wasn’t even having a period.
When a woman is dealing with Polycystic Ovaries it is important to remember that this syndrome is a symptom of an imbalance in the system. Polycystic ovaries commonly occur when a woman is experiencing insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. So the very first step in addressing this syndrome naturally is through the diet.
Step 1: Optimize your Eating Plan
- Remove white flour products and other high glycemic foods.
- Choose carbohydrates that are low glycemic
- With each meal make sure you have a protein and or a good fat to slow dose the glucose response in the blood. This helps to take stress off the system.
- ELIMINATE sugar. Sugar and sweeteners are major enemies of women with Polycystic Ovaries so get them out your the diet.
- Eliminate empty calories from soft drinks and alcohol that also disrupt your sugar levels.
Step 2: Optimize a Supplementation Program
- Use a broadspectrum of antioxidants and minerals to help improve cellular health and address the underlying issue with glucose and insulin.
- Besides Vitamins A, B, C, D3, E and folic acid (a type of vitamin B) it is also important for women to have appropriate amounts of selenium, zinc, chromium, and iodine in their diet and supplementation program to improve their situation.
- Herbs such as Gymnena (not to be taken with drugs that are used for resistance eg. Metformin and others) and Cinnamon have been shown to help support optimal glucose metabolism.
- With Rachel it was also helpful to take herbs that support her thyroid such as Withania and Bacopa.
- Other herbs to support ovulation are Peony and Agnus Castus (Chaste Tree).
- When dealing with herbs always consult a qualifed herbalist to assess your situation otherwise you may be taking too much or too little of the necessary herbs. And the supplementation program including herbs must only supplement the diet. With PCOS, diet is number 1!
Step 3: Minimize Toxins
- Exposure to voluntary toxins from smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and chemically laden skin care products, improper use of plastics (i.e. heating food in plastic containers, etc) and even air fresheners and cleaning products can impair your fertility according to various studies.
- Always use “green” products when you can and avoid products whose ingredient list is full of scientific names you cannot pronounce.
- Herbs such as St. Mary’s Thistle (Milk Thistle), Schisandra, and even Bladderwrack are herbs that can be used to help the body properly remove toxins from the system
Step 4: Appropriate Exercise Program
- A balanced exercise program including cardiovascular fitness and resistance training can help make the body more insulin sensitive and along with an optimal diet can reverse insulin resistance in some individuals. Polycystic Ovaries have been reversed when hormone balance returns to normal.
- Seek out a qualified personal trainer or physical therapist to help you set up the best program for you.
Step 5: Support the Mind Body Connection
- Several studies show that addressing stress and the mind body connection has helped women with ovulation disorders such as Polycystic Ovaries. In a study performed at Emory University, 80% of patients who previously were not ovulating spontaneous ovulated after hypnosis sessions.
Rachel knows the importance of addressing all of these steps at one time versus trying one thing for a while and moving on to the next without appropriate guidance. But now after addressing her situation by following the five steps above perhaps Rachel can help her little girls avoid the difficulties that she experienced trying to conceive as well as the other negative consequences that women with Polycystic Ovaries can face, i.e. high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid issues, and autoimmune diseases.
It is important to note that all treatments should be done under the auspices of a trained professional.
Stacey Roberts, PT, MH, Phd-C is a leading herbalist and internationally recognized expert on complementary medicines. She is the owner of Sharkey's Healing Centre and resides in Melbourne, Australia. She is a guest contributor to The American Fertility Association's online library, directory, and blog.