Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in women which is known to affect around 6-8% of women in reproductive years. Globally, the prevalence rate of PCOS is estimated to be in the range of 2.2% to 26%. Most prevalence studies in India which were conducted among adolescents in schools report a prevalence of PCOS as 9.13% to 36%. Although the genetic etiology of PCOS remains unknown, a family history of PCOS is relatively common. Environmental factors such as poor dietary choices and physical inactivity can also play a role in increasing your risk of PCOS. This is the reason why the reproductive and metabolic problems related to this condition can sometimes be treated with lifestyle modifications such as weight loss and exercise and home remedies for PCOS.
What Is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
As the name suggests, PCOS is a complex condition characterized by structural changes such as small cysts on one or both ovaries or biochemical and hormonal changes such as elevated androgen levels (hyperandrogenemia). High levels of androgen can inhibit the follicular development and cause anovulation and menstrual irregularities. Although signs and symptoms vary, problems with ovulation and elevated androgen levels occur in the majority of women with PCOS. Moreover, hirsutism, acne, and alopecia (hair loss) are directly associated with elevated androgen levels.
Home Remedies For PCOS
PCOS has been linked to insulin resistance and obesity. The hormone insulin helps to regulate ovarian function. However, in women with PCOS, there is a defect in the secretion and action of insulin and thus, ovarian function. Due to excess insulin, the ovaries produce androgen, which can lead to anovulation. Hence, the treatment of PCOS is mainly focussed on controlling your weight and insulin levels in the body. And what’s best than few lifestyle changes which include diet and supplements. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before you opt for any alternative treatment or home remedies for PCOS.
Here are few home remedies for PCOS that can help manage the symptoms and help in the treatment.
1. Cinnamon: Commonly used spice, cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, which helps in reducing insulin resistance that plays a key role to regulate your periods. It also increases the production of the hormone progesterone which helps to balance the hormones and reduces the amount of testosterone in the body.
You can add half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to juices, porridges, soups, curries or salads. You can even mix half a teaspoon of the powder in water and drink it to reap its benefits.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is used as a home remedy for a wide range of health problems right from acne and hair fall to obesity. It exerts anti-glycemic effect which helps to regulate insulin levels in the body and thus, aids in the management of PCOS.
Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water. Drink it on an empty stomach every day for effective results.
3. Green tea: As you might be aware of, green tea is packed with potent antioxidants such as catechins which help in relieving the symptoms of PCOS by acting on the hormones. Moreover, it is also known to aid in weight loss as people with PCOS suffer from weight gain.
Add a teaspoon of green tea leaves to a glass of boiling water. Let it steep for 5 minutes. Remove from flame, cool, strain and drink when lukewarm. You can even dip a green tea bag in a cup of boiling water. Drink it twice a day to reap the benefits.
4. Jeera: Also known as cumin seeds, jeera is one of the popular home remedies for PCOS. This Indian spice contains antioxidants and certain chemicals which manages blood glucose levels in the body. Moreover, its powerful antioxidant properties help in flushing out harmful toxins and help maintain regulatory processes in the body.
Add half a teaspoon of jeera powder to a glass of water. Boil it for 2-3 minutes. Let it cool. Drink this water at least twice a day to improve the symptoms of PCOS.
5. Licorice: Known as mulethi in Hindi, licorice is a medical herb that is commonly used in many Ayurvedic preparations. It acts as a potent anti-adrenergic compound which helps in maintaining the levels of male hormones, which is the reason for PCOS. It also reduces inflammation, insulin resistance, and stress. It aids in liver detoxification and improves immunity and gut health, which helps in improving the symptoms of PCOS.
The best way to have mulethi for PCOS is in the tea form. Add 1-inch dry mulethi root (or half a teaspoon of mulethi powder) to boiled water, steep for 10 minutes, strain. Drink this water 2 – 3 times a day as it acts as one of the effective home remedies for PCOS.
6. Shatavari: This Ayurvedic herb is not only loaded with nutrients such as bioflavonoids, zinc, and calcium which are good for the overall women’s health but also helps to improve symptoms of PCOS. It is well known to regulate the menstrual cycle and energize female reproductive cycle, which is impaired in women with the condition. Moreover, it also helps to manage insulin levels and promote the balance of hormones in the body, which is the key to treat PCOS.
Add ¼ to 1/2 teaspoon of Shatavari powder to a glass of milk, mix it well and drink it. You can buy Shatavari from any online medical/ Ayurveda store.
5. Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are loaded with nutrients which are good for overall health. However, not many people are aware of the fact that pumpkin seeds also act as home remedies for PCOS. These seeds contain healthy fats which not only help manage excess cholesterol levels in the body but also regulate insulin levels. It also contains a compound known as beta-sitosterol which helps remove excess androgen and treat symptoms of PCOS such as hirsutism, acne and weight gain.
Add a fistful of pumpkin seeds to curries, parathas, salads or smoothies. You can even dry roast these seeds and eat as a healthy snack for PCOS.
(The content is verified by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician and Dr. Deepak Soni, Ayurvedacharya)
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