PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome – this is the entire reason I enrolled in and received my Hormone Specialist Certification, after hearing from a handful of health coaching clients that they suffered from this condition. So what is it? Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance resulting in enlarged ovaries with small cysts that disrupt the reproductive system through an overproduction of androgens. For my clients, PCOS caused major issues with fertility and weight loss.

The exact causes are unknown but obesity, genetics, environmental toxins, chronic stress, unhealthy diet, low physical activity levels, high levels of inflammation, hormonal imbalance interfering with the growth and release of the egg during ovulation (such as thyroid hormone imbalance), increased androgen levels, and high insulin levels causing insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes may play a role.

In addition to changes to your diet, research has shown the following supplements to be helpful in managing PCOS (to be used with medical consultation):

Similar to a vitamin, inositol is found in plants, animals, and is also made in a lab. Inositol helps lower triglycerides, testosterone, insulin levels, and blood pressure. It also functions to promote ovulation, fertility, and egg production in women with PCOS.

New research indicates that berberine, a naturally occurring plant extract, reduces insulin levels, prevents leaky gut syndrome, improves fatty liver disease, fights off cancer, decreases cholesterol levels, boosts fertility, fights off inflammation, reduces testosterone, lowers blood pressure, and promotes weight loss. Both berberine and inositol can be found at health food stores or online at Amazon.

Who would have thought that by keeping your breath minty fresh, you can also help reduce the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome? If you drink two to three cups of spearmint tea daily, you can reduce androgen levels and excessive body hair growth. Spearmint has also been shown to reduce testosterone levels, so start drinking that tea!

There is no cure for PCOS but the causes and symptoms are manageable and reversible. A common question for many women with PCOS is, “Will I be able to get pregnant?” The answer is yes! Even though it’s a common cause of infertility, you can manage the hormone imbalance that causes PCOS with lifestyle changes. Losing weight, eating healthy, and increasing physical activity can increase your chances of getting pregnant. An anti-inflammatory diet can do wonders for those trying to manage their PCOS!

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