Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: How herbal medicine and lifestyle changes can help, study says
(NaturalHealth365) An estimated one in 10 women has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that can make it very difficult for them to have children. PCOS causes irregular menstrual cycles and commonly strikes women in their 20s or 30s – lasting beyond menopause.
With PCOS, hormones become imbalanced creating a risk of infertility and chronic illnesses. Treatments vary, but one study shows a combination of herbal medicine and lifestyle changes can help. The key here is to find a healthcare provider that appreciates this kind of information.
Polycystic ovary syndrome boils down to inadequate hormone production
PCOS is a hormonal problem that begins when a woman reaches reproductive age. Conventionally speaking, it’s not clear why this happens, but medical science does offer many clues, like:
- Excess insulin production
- Excess androgen – the hormone responsible for mostly male traits like facial hair
All of which can be deeply connected to lifestyle habits – like, what you eat on a daily basis.
Women with this diagnosis experience:
- Irregular periods
- Higher than normal levels of male hormones
- Facial and body hair
- Male pattern baldness
- and, polycystic ovaries that lead to infertility
And, there also is a strong connection between obesity and PCOS.
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Hope for PCOS patients: One group of researchers highlight the benefits of herbal medicine
The 2017 study published in Phytotherapy Research found that changing one’s lifestyle was the first line of defense against this disease but additional herbal therapies had benefits, as well.
The researchers choose to conduct their study in Australia focusing on communities with overweight women that had a body mass index (BMI) of at least 24.5 kg. They also needed to have a PCOS diagnosis that met specific criteria.
They divided the more than 100 participants into three groups. The woman in each group worked with the study authors to create a personal lifestyle plan that would include things like:
- A low-calorie diet
- Moderate exercise with a goal of losing at least 5 percent of their body weight
- Limited carbohydrate intake – because they can increase insulin levels
On top of these crucial changes, two groups took herbal tablet formulas that included:
- First group: A combination of Cinnamon, Licorice, St. Johns Wort and Peony
- Second group: Tribulus, a small, flowering plant also known as puncture vine and goat’s head
The third group of women was the control, so they did lifestyle changes without any herbal supplement.
The results are in: Lifestyle changes CAN help greatly…
After three months, the researchers measured:
- The frequency of their periods
- Body mass index
- Waist circumference
- Hormone levels
- Blood pressure readings
- Quality of life
The first group showed an improvement in menstrual cycles, BMI and waist circumference. The second group had more balanced hormone levels, better insulin sensitivity and an average of 3.5 percent weight loss.
Within both groups, some of the women that lost weight did go on to have a baby. The changes in the control group were minimal.
Bottom line: the study showed that – in the treatment of PCOS – there are real benefits to using certain herbal supplements combined with lifestyle changes. Of course, more research is (always) needed. But, this is encouraging news!
Sources used in this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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