PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome)

Article by Angela Haldane

Q. I have been recently diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome. What is the best way to manage this apart from taking the oral contraceptive pill?

A. Whilst the oral contraceptive pill manages the syndrome well, by regulating the menstrual cycle and inhibiting the testosterone, there comes a time when one might wish to conceive and then the oral contraceptive is not longer useful.

With Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) it is beneficial to lose weight, such that you are a slim build. Any stored body fat gives the opportunity for stored oestrogen to convert to testosterone which can lead to acne and male pattern hair growth and fewer periods – failure to ovulate.

Herbal medicine such as Paeonia lactiflora and Glycyrrhiza glabra have been traditionally used to treat PCOS and reinstate periods. Zinc also inhibits testosterone formation and is also useful in the treatment of acne (visit www.nzamh.org.nz for a practitioner near you).

Acupuncture can also help to regulate the syndrome.

Metformin is a useful medication for PCOS which prescribed by your doctor. It acts by reducing the insulin resistance which is thought to be the underlying cause of the syndrome. It also addresses many of the symptoms arising from the condition such as infertility, miscarriage, irregular periods, and male pattern hair growth, and future complications such as heart disease and diabetes.

A research study revealed positive outcomes for women with PCOS when they supplemented with calcium and vitamin D.

There is no one particular treatment to suit all, I recommend that you see a health practitioner(s) for individual assessment, take your diagnostic reports with you and plan a lifestyle approach in managing this condition.