3 Holistic Approaches to Managing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

3 Holistic Approaches to Managing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Are you tired of relying on medications to manage your PCOS symptoms?

PCOS is a complex condition with various possible root causes including inflammation, insulin resistance, and hormonal imbalances. The mainstream medical approach focuses heavily on pharmaceuticals to manage symptoms. However, more women are seeking holistic alternatives and complementary approaches to heal their bodies and balance their hormones naturally.

In this post, we’ll explore three holistic ways to manage PCOS symptoms and promote hormone health without necessarily needing long-term medication. Read on to learn practical steps you can take today to start feeling better and balancing your hormones.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder that affects approximately 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. PCOS is characterized by a combination of symptoms that can include menstrual irregularities, excess androgen levels, ovarian cysts, and metabolic issues like insulin resistance.

While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, it is believed to stem from complex interactions between genetics, insulin resistance, inflammation, and abnormal hormone levels. The most defining features of PCOS are irregular or absent periods, elevated male hormones like testosterone, and polycystic ovaries containing multiple small cysts that are visible on an ultrasound.

PCOS is often described as a hormonal imbalance or a metabolic condition. The elevated male hormones commonly seen in PCOS frequently cause symptoms like excess facial and body hair growth, scalp hair loss, acne, and irregular periods. The metabolic disturbances like insulin resistance increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and other cardiovascular issues.

Overall, PCOS is a multifaceted disorder that can impact fertility, metabolism, hormones, menstrual cycles, and appearance. Managing PCOS typically requires a combination of lifestyle changes and medications aimed at treating the various symptoms and reducing long-term health risks. While there is no cure for PCOS, many women can minimize unpleasant symptoms and prevent complications through holistic and conventional approaches.

Symptoms of PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex condition that manifests in different ways from woman to woman. However, there are some common symptoms associated with PCOS:

  • Irregular or missed periods – This is often one of the first signs of PCOS for many women. The ovaries may not release eggs regularly, leading to irregular menstrual cycles or missed periods altogether.
  • Excess androgen – Women with PCOS tend to have higher levels of androgens (male hormones). This can cause symptoms like facial hair growth, scalp hair loss, acne, and oily skin.
  • Ovarian cysts – Polycystic ovaries develop many small, fluid-filled sacs along the outer edges. While often harmless, these cysts are a hallmark of PCOS and can contribute to irregular ovulation.

The combination and severity of PCOS symptoms varies for each woman. Getting an accurate diagnosis from a doctor is important to understand your unique manifestations and hormone levels. This enables you to create a tailored treatment plan to manage PCOS symptoms long-term.

Holistic Approach #1: Dietary Changes

Making dietary changes is one of the most effective holistic approaches for managing PCOS symptoms. Focusing on a low glycemic diet full of anti-inflammatory foods can help regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, promote hormonal balance, and support weight loss.

Some key dietary recommendations for women with PCOS include:

  • Follow a low glycemic diet – Minimize foods that spike blood sugar like refined carbs, sugars, and processed foods. Emphasize complex carbs from foods like whole grains, beans, lentils, and starchy vegetables.
  • Load up on anti-inflammatory foods – Incorporate more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, olive oil, and spices like turmeric. Reduce inflammatory foods like red meat, dairy, gluten, fried foods, and alcohol.
  • Increase omega-3s – Eat more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds to help balance hormones and reduce inflammation. Consider taking a fish oil supplement too.
  • Choose lean protein sources – Stick to lean and plant-based protein like chicken, turkey, eggs, beans, lentils, tempeh, etc. Limit red meat which can aggravate inflammation and hormone imbalances.
  • Avoid added sugars – Cut back on sugary foods, candies, baked goods, and even natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, etc. Read labels closely.

Making targeted dietary changes is a foundational holistic approach to PCOS. Focus on a low glycemic, anti-inflammatory diet to start balancing blood sugar, decreasing inflammation, and supporting overall hormonal health.

Holistic Approach #2: Herbal Remedies

Certain herbs have shown promise in helping manage PCOS symptoms. Some of the most commonly used herbs include:

Spearmint Tea

Spearmint tea contains anti-androgen properties that may help reduce excessive hair growth associated with PCOS. Drinking spearmint tea once or twice daily may help lower androgen levels and improve hormonal balance. Some studies have found spearmint tea can reduce hirsutism and regulate periods in women with PCOS.


Cinnamon has been shown to help lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity, which are common issues for women with PCOS. Taking cinnamon supplements or sprinkling cinnamon on foods may help stabilize blood sugar levels. This can alleviate PCOS symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, and acne.


The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation can exacerbate PCOS, so turmeric may help relieve inflammatory symptoms. Turmeric also shows promise for aiding weight loss and metabolic function. Consuming turmeric daily through food or supplements may regulate periods, improve fertility, and relieve PCOS pain.

Herbal remedies provide a more gentle approach to managing PCOS than pharmaceutical drugs. Herbs like spearmint, cinnamon, and turmeric have scientifically proven benefits with minimal side effects. Incorporating these herbs into your daily routine can offer safe, natural relief for bothersome PCOS symptoms.

Holistic Approach #3: Stress Management

Dealing with the symptoms of PCOS can be extremely stressful, and stress itself can exacerbate PCOS symptoms even further. That’s why stress management may have a powerful impact on helping to alleviate symptoms. Here are some effective ways to reduce stress through a holistic approach:

Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation are time-tested stress relievers that may help women with PCOS manage stress and improve well-being. Certain yoga poses and meditation techniques can lower cortisol levels and reduce inflammation, while also helping to relieve pain, regulate hormones, and improve fertility in women with PCOS. Regular yoga and meditation practice creates a sense of calm and relaxation that can be beneficial for the mind and body.

Get Enough Sleep

Lack of adequate sleep can increase hormone imbalance and worsen PCOS symptoms. Getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night allows the body to repair itself, regulates hormones, and leads to better stress management. Establishing a regular nighttime routine that promotes healthy sleep hygiene can provide the rest the body needs to combat stress and PCOS symptoms.

Reduce Stress

Making simple but impactful lifestyle changes to reduce stress can also alleviate symptoms. Practicing self-care, setting healthy boundaries, simplifying obligations, and saying no to unnecessary responsibilities are ways to minimize daily stressors and anxieties. Engaging in hobbies, spending time in nature, and enjoying quality time with loved ones also helps keep stress levels in check.

Managing PCOS holistically can provide tremendous benefits for women with this common hormone disorder.  The natural methods covered in this post allow women to take control of managing PCOS symptoms long-term. Instead of just masking issues with medication, holistic approaches promote true healing by addressing the root causes of hormone imbalance.

With patience and consistency, an integrative approach can help women find lasting relief from PCOS.

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