Polycystic Ovary Disease
Polycystic Ovary Disease, also known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition where an imbalance in a woman's reproductive hormones results in formation of multiple cysts in the ovaries. The underlying hormone balance affects many other systems and commonly results in acne, weight gain, infertility, and excessive hair growth. PCOS occurs in approximately 4-12% of reproductive aged women and is the most common cause of infertility.
Simply having cysts on the ovaries does not mean you have polycystic ovarian disease (see Diagnostic Testing section below).
Polycystic Ovary Disease
|Causes||Dietary Factors, Environmental Toxins|
|See Also||Women's Health, Infertility (Female), Type II Diabetes, Dyslipidemia, Hypertension, Metabolic Syndrome, Central adiposity|
|Books||Books on Women's Health|
|Articles||Articles on Women's Health|
|Check out this book||Living with PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome|
|Article||Polycystic ovary syndrome: Clinical considerations and therapeutic options, IHP ; 2011 Apr/May|
|Article||Treating PCOS Acne From the Inside Out , NDNR, 2012 May|
|Article||N-Acetylcysteine and fertility in PCOS , April 2013 Natural Medicine |
|Article||Berberine Compared to Metformin in Women with PCOS , December 2012 Natural Medicine |
|Article||Maitake Induces Ovulation in People with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, 22011 February Natural Medicine |
In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. Polycystic Ovary Disease appears to be associated with many other conditions and may actually be a symptom of another pathology. Some of the factors that tend to increase a person's susceptibility to PCOS include:
- Rates of PCOS are higher in those that also have sleep apnea.
- PCOS tends to run in families.
According to revised guidelines of PCOS Consensus Workshop Group, to be diagnosed with PCOS, a woman must have 2 of the following 3 manifestations:
- irregular or absent ovulation
- elevated levels of androgenic hormones
- enlarged ovaries containing at least 12 follicles each.
Based on the criteria above, the diagnosis of PCOS is includes a detailed medical history, a physical exam and the following:
- Hormone blood tests including lutenizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, DHEAs, Prolactin, TSH, 17-hydroxyprogesterone
- Imaging Tests including a trans-vaginal ultrasound.
Related Symptoms and Conditions
PCOS is often associated with one or more of the following conditons:
- Hyperinsulinemia predisposes women with polycystic ovary disease to increased rates of Type II Diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome
- Central adiposity
PCOS is characterized primarily due to the disruption of hormones which contribute to:
- High levels of androgens ("male" hormones)
- Absent or irregular menstrual periods and ovulatory cycles
- Multiple cysts of the ovaries
- Hirsutism or excessive hair growth
- Weight gain or obesity
The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Polycystic Ovary Disease is typically a chronic disease that can be managed well when the other underlying conditions are treated.
It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.
Lifestyle recommendations include:
- Increase cardiovascular and resistance exercise.
The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.
Naturopathic Therapies for Polycystic ovary disease include:
- Clinical Nutritional Supplementation includes
|Article||Insulin Sensitizers in the Treatment of PCOS, NMJ, 2012 January|
|Article||Polycystic ovary syndrome: Role of inositol in PCOS management, IHP, October 2009|
- Herbs such as Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus), Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus), Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)
|Article||Inducing Ovulation in Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, NMJ, , 2012 May|
- According to TCM theory, Polycystic Ovary Disease may be caused by the following: Kidney yang deficiency, Liver qi transforms to liver fire, Qi and blood stagnation, or Phlegm dampness.
Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND 
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- Nilsson E, Larsen G, Manikkam M, Guerrero-Bosagna C, Savenkova MI, Skinner MK (2012) Environmentally induced epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of ovarian disease. PLoS One;;7(5):e36129. PMID: 22570695.
- Rotterdam ESHRE/ASRM-Sponsored PCOS Consensus Workshop Group (2004 Jan) Revised 2003 consensus on diagnostic criteria and long-term health risks related to polycystic ovary syndrome Fertil Steril;Vol81(1):19-25 PMID: 14711538.
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- Hershoff Asa 2000 Homeopathic Remedies, A Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders and their Homeopathic Treatments Avery Publishing Group, New York
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