Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can be difficult to treat, but an individualized approach can go a long way toward long-term wellbeing. Hormonal conditions don’t present the same for everyone, so it’s important to know your options for symptom management.
Can PCOS go away naturally? PCOS can’t go away naturally, but you can manage PCOS symptoms long-term using a combination of lifestyle changes and natural remedies.
These natural remedies include alternative therapies, dietary supplements, and herbs that address everything from fertility to insulin sensitivity. The best natural remedies for PCOS go beyond symptom management and address the hormonal imbalances at the root of your issues.
What are the best natural remedies for PCOS? The best natural remedies for PCOS are healthy habits like managing stress, getting enough sleep, and eating a well-balanced diet.
PCOS diets emphasize natural ingredients, whole grains, and healthy fats. These foods are proven to support overall wellness and healthy hormone levels. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Eat mostly whole foods.
Processed foods and sugars can worsen symptoms of hormonal disorders like PCOS. Eat a diet rich in whole foods like healthy whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and legumes for healthier blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of hormonal imbalances.
2. Get enough protein.
Protein curbs food cravings and keeps you satiated longer than carbohydrates or fats. Diets higher in protein can also help balance your glucose metabolism, a major cause of PCOS symptoms.
3. Watch out for carbohydrates
Sugars are carbs, and anyone struggling with PCOS or a metabolic syndrome like diabetes or heart disease has to watch their consumption of sugars. Too many carbs can make it harder to regulate blood sugar levels, leading to worsened PCOS symptoms.
4. Up your fiber intake.
Fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes a healthy gut microbiome, and reduces bloat. As a PCOS treatment, increasing your fiber intake by eating more fruits and veggies, legumes, and whole grains is one of the best natural ways to improve your symptoms.
5. Pay attention to your iron.
Heavy periods can sometimes cause iron deficiency anemia, but many women with PCOS have the opposite problem: iron overload. Too much iron in the body can worsen insulin resistance. If you’re worried about your iron levels, talk to your physician about monitoring bloodwork.
6. Cut back on caffeine.
Too much caffeine can elevate levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. This can mean even higher blood sugar levels, weight gain, and inflammation.
If you need a bit of a boost, green tea is best for PCOS. Green tea supports healthy weight management in women struggling with obesity and can decrease levels of male sex hormones like testosterone in the body.
7. Avoid alcohol.
Drinking too much can raise levels of estrogen in the body. Estrogen dominance can lead to unwanted hair growth, irregular periods, and hormonal acne. Women with PCOS are also at a higher risk of fatty liver disease with or without alcohol use.
8. Maintain a healthy body weight.
Medical advice for PCOS patients typically includes advice about maintaining a healthy body weight. It can be a challenge to lose weight with PCOS when your insulin levels and metabolism are affected.
Diets that follow guidelines we described, lifestyle changes that include regular exercise, high-quality supplements, and a good support network can all help you get there.
SoWell’s weight loss program uses 1:1 medical management and group coaching to tick all the boxes for long-term success. You’ll get the individualized support you need with an added layer of accountability from others like you. End the cycle of yo-yo dieting with PCOS.
9. Get good sleep.
Low-quality sleep can hamper progress made with PCOS symptoms. Practice good sleep hygiene with a consistent sleep schedule and a calm sleep environment.
If you’ve made changes and still feel fatigued in the morning, talk to your doctor. You could be dealing with a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea.
10. Find a good exercise routine.
Regular exercise can boost your mood, support a healthy weight, and improve glucose metabolism. High-intensity internal training (HIIT) and strength training come with added benefits for improved insulin resistance, but the right PCOS workout for you depends on your symptoms.
11. Manage your stress levels.
Chronic stress can increase inflammation, impact your metabolism, and increase your risk for developing anxiety and depression. Managing stress using techniques like mindfulness or regular exercise is good for PCOS and your mental health.
12. Check out some alternative therapies.
Alternative therapies like acupuncture, yoga, or even controlled martial arts like tai chi or qigong can be another way to manage stress and reduce chronic pain from PCOS. Reduced stress using these methods may also improve outcomes for conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
14 Supplements for PCOS
What is the most common vitamin deficiency with PCOS? The most common vitamin deficiency with PCOS is an insufficient intake of B vitamins, especially folic acid. Women with PCOS are also at risk for C and D vitamin deficiencies, low magnesium, and insufficient calcium.
High-quality supplements can help you fill in the gaps where diet is lacking and support long-term management of PCOS symptoms.
1. B vitamins
Supplementation with B-complex vitamins and folate (B12) in particular may improve ovulation rates and promote healthy fertility in women with PCOS. Women with healthy levels of B vitamins also have more regular periods and better metabolic profiles.
If you’re worried about whether there are metabolic factors at play with your own wellness journey or weight loss, our Weight Biology Kit can help identify those factors. We’ll look at biomarkers like insulin, glucose, vitamin B12, and more to help you optimize your health.
When combined with vitamin D, calcium supports healthy fertility, regular periods, and lower rates of hyperandrogenism, or high androgen levels in the body.
Androgens are the male hormones responsible for many of the classic symptoms of PCOS, like excessive hair growth, acne, and irregular periods. Any supplements that reduce androgens in hormonal conditions like PCOS are a great start toward a more balanced hormonal profile.
Carnitine is a substance that supports energy metabolism. Healthy levels make it easier for your body to use energy efficiently and manage a healthy weight.
Chromium supports blood sugar regulation and healthy insulin levels in the body. A chromium supplement may also reduce levels of testosterone in the body.
For a metabolism boost that harnesses the benefits of chromium, GetSoBalanced is an evidence-based blend of chromium, berberine, and cinnamon. That combination supports blood sugar regulation, weight management, and insulin sensitivity.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in superfood turmeric, reduces chronic inflammation and supports healthy glucose levels in women with PCOS. It also shows promise in managing obesity thanks to effects on oxidative stress, but more studies are needed to understand how that works.
Insulin resistance is a classic symptom of PCOS. Many treatment options for the hormonal condition aim to balance insulin levels for better glucose metabolism. Inositol can help.
Inositol, a naturally-occuring sugar in the body, is linked to improved insulin sensitivity, more consistent ovulation, and reduced PCOS symptoms like excessive hair growth and weight gain. It comes with fewer side effects that show up with popular PCOS medications like metformin.
While you can find inositol in some foods, many of those sources can cause glucose spikes, the opposite desired effect for women with PCOS. Supplements ensure the most effective dose.
7. Fish oil (Omega-3s)
Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids from fish like salmon and mackerel can help improve insulin levels and reduce inflammation in the body. If you don’t love fish, a fish oil supplement is an easy substitute. Fish oil can also reduce abnormal menstruation.
Is there an all in one supplement for PCOS? There are all in one supplements for PCOS formulated to reduce hormonal imbalances and target insulin sensitivity.
GetSoSynced combines essential vitamins and minerals like folic acid, magnesium, and vitamin D3 with myo-inositol and d-chiro inositol for an ideal blend of ingredients for hormonal health. This combination supports other aspects of female wellness, like metabolic health and fertility.
Women with PCOS are more likely to have a magnesium deficiency. A magnesium supplement can boost your metabolism and lower levels of androgens in the body. Remember: Androgens are responsible for symptoms of PCOS like excess body and facial hair and weight gain.
10. NAC (N-Acetylcysteine)
N-acetylcysteine (NAC), an amino acid and antioxidant, is linked to improved pregnancy rates and ovarian function in women with PCOS. It may also have a positive effect on blood cholesterol levels, a common side effect of hormonal conditions.
Probiotics are important to digestive health and a balanced gut microbiome, and a healthy gut can support balanced hormones and reduced inflammation. When your gut is out of balance, your body has a more difficult time with absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Yogurts, kefir, kimchi, and kombucha are all good food sources if you want to increase probiotics in your diet, but supplements are an easy way to make sure you’re staying regular.
The antioxidant resveratrol has been linked to reduced androgen levels in the body. As excess androgens affect glucose metabolism, the overall effect could be improved insulin sensitivity.
13. Vitamin D
Healthy levels of vitamin D support fertility, improve your mood, and make it less likely that you’ll experience irregular periods. A vitamin D deficiency may contribute to insulin resistance, a common PCOS symptom that leads to weight gain and endocrine disorders like type 2 diabetes.
Healthy levels of zinc support a healthy immune system and may reduce hirsutism, or excessive hair growth, and hair loss in women with PCOS. Zinc supplementation may also improve insulin resistance and period pain and support a healthier lipid profile.
22 Herbal Remedies for PCOS
There are a number of herbal remedies that show promise in managing PCOS symptoms and supporting reproductive health. Before starting a new regimen, it’s important to talk to your primary healthcare provider, particularly if you’re already on other medications.
Ashwagandha may offer some stress relief for patients with PCOS. It’s linked to healthy levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. This may relieve anxiety from PCOS symptoms and reduce chronic inflammation.
Holy basil, or tulsi, is linked to reduced symptoms of stress, anxiety, and inflammation, and has a detoxifying effect on the body. It’s also been used in patients with type 2 diabetes for its positive effects on insulin resistance, weight management, and lipid profiles.
Berberine is a compound found in plants with a long history of use in Chinese medicine. In women with PCOS, it may improve insulin resistance, support weight management, and improve pregnancy rates.
4. Black Cohosh
Black cohosh is used as a natural remedy for women struggling with infertility. Some studies show that it may support pregnancy outcomes and healthier ovulation.
5. Chasteberry (Vitex)
Chasteberry, also known as Monk’s pepper or vitex agnus-castus, its scientific name, is a popular natural remedy for PMS symptoms and uterine fibroids.
In one study, it showed promise in raising progesterone and estrogen in women with PCOS, but more research is needed for long-term effects on hormones.
Cinnamon, or cinnamomum, is linked to improved insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes outcomes. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory may also help irregular menstrual cycles in women with PCOS.
7. Dong Quai
Dong quai is a traditional Chinese herb used to treat a variety of conditions that affect women. In women with PCOS, it may support healthier fertility and more regular ovulation.
8. Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is already a common natural remedy for PMS symptoms like bloating, irritability, and breast pain. It may also lower testosterone levels in women with PCOS.
9. Fennel Seeds
Fennel and fennel seed extract are linked to period pain relief and overall ovarian health. Limited studies show promise in using fennel to boost follicle development in women struggling with infertility.
Fenugreek, an ancient herb with seeds that smell like maple syrup, comes with quite a few sweet health benefits. The extract is linked to improved insulin resistance, better cholesterol levels, a healthier thyroid, and more regular periods.
Flaxseed extract may increase levels of progesterone and decrease testosterone in women with PCOS. This can lead to a healthier hormonal balance and reduced PCOS symptoms.
Ginger is a common natural remedy for nausea and other digestive problems, but it may also support pain relief from ovarian cysts and PMS. In women with a history of ovarian cancer, it may even inhibit cancer cell growth.
Ginseng is a common herbal medicine used by women going through menopause, but it may also support women of reproductive age struggling with infertility. One study showed Korean red ginseng extract in particular reduced ovarian cysts in women with PCOS.
Licorice, a potent antioxidant, may support healthy hormone levels by reducing testosterone in women with PCOS. It may also reduce the growth of ovarian cysts and improve follicle development in women struggling with infertility.
Marjoram tea is linked to improved insulin sensitivity and reduced androgen levels. It can also help relieve stomach cramps and other digestive issues thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects.
When used in combination with licorice root, Chinese peony may support healthier hormone levels, including reduced levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), and improved ovulation.
Saffron petals are a common remedy for PMS pain, but those anti-inflammatory effects may also offer some therapeutic support for women with pelvic and abdominal pain from PCOS.
Shatavari, an adaptogenic herb in the asparagus family, has been used in traditional Ayurveda medicine for centuries as a treatment for reproductive ailments. For women with PCOS, it may help those struggling with infertility by improving egg quality and ovulation.
Spearmint has an anti-androgenic effect, which means potentially lower testosterone and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels in PCOS patients.
20. St. John’s Wort
Anxiety and depression is common in women struggling with PCOS. St. John’s wort may boost serotonin, your happy hormone, and potentially improve mental health symptoms.
21. Tea Tree Oil
When combined with lavender, a topical application of tea tree oil may reduce hirsutism, or excessive hair growth, in women with PCOS.
We’ve already shared the potential of curcumin, the anti-inflammatory found in turmeric, but turmeric itself may also reduce PCOS symptoms. Turmeric extract may even support balanced hormone and lipid levels as well as prescription medications like metformin.
Some Words of Caution
What are the side effects of PCOS supplements? The side effects of PCOS supplements may include digestive distress, allergic reactions, or unintended interactions with existing medications.
You should always talk to your doctor first before starting any regimen of new supplements, especially if you’re dealing with PCOS on top of other health concerns.
Be wary of supplements that promise immediate results. PCOS is complicated and requires an individualized approach for long-term symptom management. Supplements can certainly be a part of that journey, but there are no short-term fixes for PCOS.
At SoWell, any supplements we recommend to our members are vetted, high-quality, and full of natural ingredients meant to support overall wellness. Our supplement bundles are formulated by experts to support female health, boost metabolism and even reduce inflammation.
Interested in learning more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter for a regular dose of up-to-date information on metabolic health. The more you know, the more prepared you’ll be to get to the root of your symptoms for long-term health.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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