What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in which a woman has an imbalance of female sex hormones. PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder among women between the ages of 18 and 44. This may lead to changes in the menstrual cycle, cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant and other health problems.
PCOS is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors include obesity, not enough physical exercise, and a family history of someone with the condition.
Diagnosis is based on two of the following three findings:
- Ovarian cysts: In PCOS, many small, fluid-filled sacs grow inside the ovaries. The word “polycystic” means “many cysts.” These sacs are actually follicles, each one containing an immature egg. The eggs never mature enough to trigger ovulation.
- High androgen levels: The lack of ovulation alters levels of estrogen, progesterone, FSH, and LH. Estrogen and progesterone levels are lower than usual, while androgen levels are higher than usual.
- Irregular or skipped periods: Extra male hormones disrupt the menstrual cycle, so women with PCOS get fewer periods than usual.
Causes of PCOS
PCOS problems are caused by hormone changes the hormonal imbalance. One hormone change trigger another, which changes another.
- Raised levels of Testosterone: Androgens or “male hormones,” although all women make small amounts of androgens. Higher than normal androgen levelsin women can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation) during each menstrual cycle. Excess androgen produced by the theca cells of the ovaries, due either to hyperinsulinemia or increased luteinizing hormone (LH) levels.
- Raised levels of Luteinising Hormone (LH): Due to increased production from the anterior pituitary. This stimulates ovulation but may have an abnormal effect on the ovaries if levels are too high.
- Low levels of Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG): A protein in the blood, which binds to testosterone and reduces the effect of testosterone.
- Raised levels of Prolactin: Hormone that stimulates the breast glands to produce milk during pregnancy.
- High levels of Insulin(a hormone that helps convert sugars and starches into energy) If the person have insulin resistance, the ability to use insulin effectively is impaired, and also the pancreas has to secrete more insulin to make glucose available to cells (hyperinsulinemia). Excess insulin might also affect the ovaries by increasing androgen production, which may interfere with the ovaries’ ability to ovulate.
- A significant hereditary component: If a mother or sister has PCOS, more likely to have it.
- Overweight: Chances of developing it are greater. As weight gain increases insulin resistance. Fatty tissues are hormonally active and they produce estrogen which disrupts ovulation.
Symptoms of PCOS
The most common PCOS symptoms are:
- Irregular periods: A lack of ovulation prevents the uterine lining from shedding every month. Some women with PCOS get fewer than eight periods a year.
- Heavy bleeding: The uterine lining builds up for a longer period of time, so the periods do get can be heavier than normal.
- Hair growth: More than 70 percent of women with this condition grow hair on their face and body including on their back, belly, and chest. Excess hair growth is called hirsutism.
- Acne: Male hormones can make the skin oilier than usual and cause breakouts on areas like the face, chest, and upper back.
- Weight gain: Up to 80 percent of women with PCOS are overweight or obese.
- Male-pattern baldness: Hair on the scalp gets thinner and fall out.
- Darkening of the skin: Dark patches of skin can form in body creases like those on the neck, in the groin, and under the breasts.
- Headaches: Hormone changes can trigger headaches in some women.
Complications of PCOS
- Reproductive problem
Hormone imbalances can cause several types of pregnancy problems and related problems, including:
- Infertility: This happens when the ovaries aren’t releasing an egg every month.
- Repeat miscarriages.
- Gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
- Increased blood pressure during pregnancy or delivery, having a larger than normal or smaller than normal baby, or having a premature baby.
- Precancer of the uterine lining (endometrial hyperplasia). This can happen when you don’t have regular menstrual cycles, which normally build up and “clear off” the uterine lining every month.
- Uterine (endometrial) cancer: Risk during the reproductive years is 3 times greater in women who have PCOS than in women who ovulate monthly.
- Problems with blood sugar
Insulin is a hormone that helps the body’s cells get the sugar they need for energy. Sometimes these cells don’t fully respond to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. It can lead to diabetes.
- Heart problems and stroke
High insulin levels from PCOS can lead to heart and blood vessel problems. These include:
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
- Coronary artery disease and heart attack.
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Medical history: Regular/ irregular menstrual cycles, heavy/scanty menstrual flow, the need to take hormonal tablets (progestins) to induce a period, etc.
- Physical Signs: Often obese and may have hirsutism, (excessive facial and body hair) as a result of the high androgen levels.
- Diagnosis can be confirmed by vaginal Ultrasound (USG pelvis): Shows that both the ovaries are enlarged; the bright central stroma is increased, and there are multiple small cysts in the ovaries. These cysts are usually arranged in the form of a necklace along the periphery of the ovary
- Blood levels of hormones:
- High LH (luteinizing hormone) level; and a Normal FSH level (follicle stimulating hormone) i.e. a reversal of the LH: FSH ratio, which is normally 1:1.
- Elevated levels of androgens (a high dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) level);
- Fasting cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Glucose tolerance test.
Best homeopathic treatment for PCOS
The human body has been perfectly enabled by nature to keep itself disease-free. It is only when the immunity or its own internal vitality is deranged that the body becomes incapable of keeping itself disease-free. Therefore, Homeopathy tries to restore the balance of that vitality. Once the vitality regains its original balance, it is able to nurse itself back to health without any external aid.
- Homeopathic medicines correct the hormonal imbalance & neutralize its negative effects.
- The cysts dissolve gradually can be checked in the next follow up after 3-6 months of starting the treatment, by repeating the USG pelvis.
- The menstrual cycle gets regularized. Other complaints, including acne and hair growth on the face, are also taken care.
- It opens the possibility of becoming fertile in the future for women to bear pregnancy.
Homeopathic remedies for PCOS
- Top Remedy for PCOS
Sepia occupies the top position among the medicines for treatment for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Late and scanty menses. This is accompanied by bearing down sensations in the pelvic region. The ovaries remain enlarged with fluid-filled cysts in them. Sepia acts very efficiently to regulate the menstrual cycle to appear at the proper expected time. Sepia can also be considered to treat infertility cases due to PCOS. Abnormal hair growth on the face, especially on upper lips, can also be well controlled with Sepia. Other general symptoms to look for before taking Sepia are sensitivity to cold air, mental irritability, and indifferent behavior towards loved ones.
- For Extremely Suppressed Menses
Pulsatilla is a natural medicine for treating PCOS. It is especially beneficial for treating PCOS cases in females who suffer from suppressed periods for a long duration. In women requiring Pulsatilla, the periods when they appear remain very scanty and extremely painful. Pulsatilla removes the obstacles that cause the periods to be suppressed and the periods start to flow normally. Pulsatilla increases the body’s power and directs its path towards removing the obstacle, thus re-establishing the menstrual flow. Pulsatilla is of great help for young girls at puberty who suffer from PCOS with irregular periods. The physical general symptoms to consider for using Pulsatilla include the total absence of thirst and a desire for cool open air. Open air overall seems to provide relief to the patient. And in the mental sphere, the significant features to take note of are mild, sensitive nature with weeping tendencies. Such a woman weeps at the slightest instance and feels somewhat better when given consolation.
- For Prolonged and Profuse Periods
Calcarea Carb is a natural medicine. It is great help in the treatment of PCOS and is particularly suited when a woman with PCOS suffers from profuse periods that are prolonged more than the usual duration. The women with PCOS facing the problem of weight gain and obesity are also the candidates requiring Calcarea Carb. Calcarea Carb helps such women in reducing the excessive weight gain very efficiently. There are a few physical general symptoms to look out for while choosing to take Calcarea Carb. The first is excessive sweating on the head. The second is extreme sensitivity to cold air. And the last is a peculiar craving in eating habits like a desire for boiled eggs and in a few cases, strange things like chalk and lime.
- PCOS with Irregular and Suppressed Menstrual Cycles
Natrum Mur is a very beneficial medicine to treat women with PCOS who have irregular and suppressed menstrual cycles. Natrum Mur benefits most women by regularising their menstrual cycles. Natrum Mur should also be considered for women with difficulty in conception due to PCOS. The important symptoms to look out for while using Natrum Mur are an excessively hot sensation, aversion to the heat of sun and craving for extra salt in the diet. The mental picture that needs to be considered includes the reserved nature of the patient, weeping spells especially when alone and worsening of symptoms when sympathy is offered.
- For Retarded Menstrual Flow
Thuja is a medicine that is considered of great help in PCOS treatment. Thuja is a very efficient medicine and its use is called for when a woman suffers from a retarded menstrual flow with multiple cysts in ovaries. Thuja has the innate ability to dissolve abnormal growth or accumulation anywhere in the body. Thus, it has the supreme power to dissolve cysts also. Most women requiring Thuja have cystic growths more pronounced in the left-side ovary. Thuja is also of great help in the treatment of extreme hair growth on unusual parts in women due to hormonal imbalance.
- For Suppressed or Absent Menses
Kali Carb and Senecio work successfully in re-establishing the menses that have been absent. Kali Carb is a very beneficial medicine when the menses are suppressed altogether for several months. Senecio is the ideal medicine when the menses are suppressed but the woman feels that menses are about to come. In such cases, the complaints related to menses are present like heaviness or pain in the pelvic region and nausea, but the menstrual flow is absent.
- For Scanty and Short Duration of Periods in PCOS
The problem of scanty menses can be treated with medicines Pulsatilla, Sepia and Senecio. The short duration of periods may vary from a few hours to one or two days. Several natural medicines are present to tackle this condition. For menses remaining only for a few hours, Euphrasia, Coccus Cacti, and Psorinum are of great help. Sepia and Pulsatilla can help for periods of one-day duration.
- For PCOS with Irregular Menstrual Cycle
The selection of medicines that are helpful in regularising the menstrual cycle is based on individual case presentation. Natrum Mur, Pulsatilla, and Sepia are the top polycystic ovarian syndrome medication in homeopathy. Women can benefit from the use of any of these medicines depending upon the constitution. Please remember, regularising the menstrual cycle is not an overnight issue. It takes a lot of patience and time to bring about a change.
- For Reducing Excessive Hair Growth
Homeopathy can be very useful to decrease abnormal hair growth (hirsutism) in women suffering from PCOS. Sepia is preferred if there is hair growth on upper lips. For hair growth on the chin, Oleum Jecoris Aselli is of great help. Thuja is a medicine of great help for excessive hair growth anywhere on the body, be it the face or arms and legs.
- For Acne or Pimples in PCOS
Both Sulphur and Silicea are equally helpful medicines for treating acne in women with PCOS. Sulphur brings about excellent results in most cases of acne. The acne may be painful or may itch in persons requiring Sulphur. Silicea is to be considered when the acne contains pus and they are deep-rooted.
- For Obesity in due to PCOS
The best medicines for treating obesity are Calcarea Carb, Graphites and Ammonium Carb.
- For Ovarian Cysts in PCOS
The isolated presence of cysts in the ovaries in no way means that the woman is suffering from PCOS unless the other significant symptoms are experienced. The symptoms are mainly menstrual irregularities and abnormal hair growth, acne, obesity and difficulty in conceiving. The remedy is chosen not on the basis of cysts but rather on each patient’s symptoms, though the cysts may provide help in making the choice of medicine. To take an example, the presence of cysts predominantly in the right ovary suggests the use of Homeopathic medicines Lycopodium, Belladonna and Apis Mellifica. And if the cysts occupy the left ovary, Thuja Occidentalis and Lachesis are of great help.