Most common symptoms of PCOS are:
· Acne, its aggravation
. enlarged ovaries with multiple small cysts, an abnormally
high number of follicles at various states of maturation, and a
thick, scarred capsule surrounding each ovary.
· Amenorrhea (lack of menstrual periods) Absent menses
(amenorrhea), usually (but not always) after having one or more
normal menstrual periods during puberty (secondary amenorrhea)
· Oligomenorrhea (very light menstrual cycles), heavy flows at
shorter span cycles are also observed when pitta vitiation is ecessive. Exess unopposed estrogen gives rise to this situation and contrary to most beliefs, is easier to treat than vatic from of PCOS: most women suffering from Vatic PCOS have
irregular menses and may have scanty menstruation (oligomenorrhea) or
no menses at all (amenorrhea).
· Decreased breast size
· Anovulation (lack of ovulation and therefore infertility)
· Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (abnormal bleeding patterns at mid cycles)
· Hirsutism (excess hair growth, usually in a male pattern),
Growth is centred on the body, calf muscles, slightly below big toe
on feet, thighs, below navel, between breasts and mustache region.
Sometimes thick eyebrows and cheeks too. Facial hair, and/or thinning
of the scalp hair This pattern is sometimes termed virilization. This
is a advance of PCOS in difficult to treat regime. Change of voice may be present. Experienced vaidyas can spot a case by the hair growth easily.
· Insulin resistance (problems with blood sugar regulation)
· Male-pattern hair loss and fat deposition
· Weight gain, difficulties loosing weight, central obesity
In polycystic ovary disease, under-developed follicles accumulate in
the ovaries. Follicles are sacs within the ovaries that contain ova.
The ova in these follicles fail to mature and, therefore, cannot be
released from the ovaries. Instead, they accumulate as cysts in the
ovary. Such ovaries are two to five times larger than normal ovaries,
and they have a white, thick, tough outer covering. Women are usually
diagnosed when in their 20s or 30s.This can contribute to
infertility. The lack of follicular maturation and inability to
ovulate are likely caused by low levels of follicle stimulating
hormone (FSH) and higher-than-normal levels of androgens (male
hormones) produced in the ovary. The ratio of LH to FSH is used by
modern medicine as a pointer to PCOS. If a woman is suffering from
excess androgens, an experienced vaidya can pick up the features from
face, body frame etc. In medical astrology, influence of masculine
planets on 5th house of the chart indicates such possibilities. Many
feel urge to evacuate the bowels but when they visit toilet, nothing
happens. In the same way, in PCOS, eggs are there, but their lack of
maturity precluses their expulsion from the ovary. Ayurveda believes
that for a healthy baby, a strong healthy ovuma and equally strong
sperms are needed. Hence at least 3-6 months of strengthening of
ovaries, uterus, sperms are attempted by diet, herbal treatment.
Insulin resistance is believed to cause polycystic ovarian syndrome.
In addition to other hormones, insulin helps regulate ovarian
function. When someone is insulin resistant, this means that cells
throughout the body do not readily respond to insulin circulating in
the blood. For this reason, the amount of insulin remains high in the
blood (called hyperinsulinemia). High levels of insulin can
contribute to lack of ovulation, high androgen levels, infertility,
and early pregnancy loss.
Women who underwent precocious puberty have higher risk of PCOS.
Women diagnosed with this disorder frequently have a mother or sister
with similar symptoms commonly associated with PCOS.
Treatment for PCOS
Exercise and weight reduction have been shown to be highly
beneficial in the treatment of PCOS and its symptoms. Exercise can
helps reduce weight, regulate menstrual cycles, and reduce risk
factors for diabetes and heart disease which are associated with
Women with PCOS respond well to simple carbohydrates with low
calories, low animal product, high fiber diet which helps reduce
weight, regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, and reduce
inflammatory prostaglandins. author recommends avoiding night shade
Diet can help to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, reduce
circulating androgens, improve ovarian function, improve fertility,
reduce risk of heart disease, and support liver detoxification of
Depending on symptoms of PCOS, a variety of herbal options exist.
Modern science offes mostly birth control pills to regulate cycles,
anti-diabetets medicines such as metformin/glucophage for
hyperinsulinemia and synthetic hormone tablets such as clomid to
force ovulations. With new scientific evidence drawing links between
use of the contraceptive pill and anxiety and depression, the use of
female hormones in the treatment of excessive androgens may bring
about additional undesirable symptoms in women already looking for
relief. Few of this authors patient obtained excessive central
obesity after using birth control pills for 5-10 years.
Ayurveda has a wide range of phytosterols to strengthen ovarian
functions. Various Ghrutams made from herbs and cow ghee are used to
balance out hormones. Aloe vera, cinnamon, fenugreek, amalki, honey,
glycosugars, shilajit, shatawari, aswgandha, Kauncha, Vidarikand,
salam, ashoka, etc is a wide spectrum. The goal of herbal medicine
might be reducing circulating androgens, optimizing ovarian function,
and supporting optimal endocrine function.
Any herbal treatment of PCOS must consider the fact that sex hormones
are steroids ie fats and are therefore water insoluble – which is why
they need the sex hormone binding globulins or SHBGs (which are water-
soluble proteins) to move through the bloodstream. In order to get
rid of used or excess hormones the liver conjugates, or joins, them
with another molecule to make them water soluble. They are then
excreted via the bile duct into the gut. If they hang about in the
gut too long these conjugates are broken down by bacteria in the gut
and the hormone component is reabsorbed into the hepatic portal vein.
This is known as entero-hepatic recirculation. So by increasing bile
flow you are helping to both improve the clearance of excess hormones
via the liver and reduce the amount of entero-hepatic recirculation.
Improved bowel function also helps to reduce insulin levels.
Author obtained a reasonable success when treatment focused on
helping the liver function more optimally in the hormonal balancing
process. Let body take care of its own balance instead of
manipulating the hormones. Modulation of hormones is best left to
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. of cinnamon with every meal helps keep insulin &
blood sugar levels under control. Alternative practitioners and some
researchers believe that the hidden epidemic of PCOS is caused by bad
ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fats in diet. Fatty acids help keep cell
membranes flexible. Flexible cell membranes have more and better
insulin receptors, which improves glucose metabolism. Flax seed and
some kinds of deep-sea fish have them; in addition borage oil, black
currant oil, evening primrose oil, flax seed oil, fish oil are used
in west, but in ayurveda, sesame oil, cow butter and ghee is supposed
to take care of most of cardiac problems as well as insulin
resistance problems. Glycosugars are also essential as discussed by
this author in ayurvedaonline archieves under tittles "Iron rules of
Indian women can take a paste made from 21 leaves each of neem, bail,
tulsi at breakfast time to reduce insulin resistance. Similarly soak
1 tsp fenugreek seeds at bedtime in a cup of water, take this water
first thing in the morning.
A weight decrease of only 5 percent of total body weight is
associated with decreased insulin levels, increased fertility,
reduced hirsutism and acne, and lower androgen levels.
Western herbal medicine uses phytoestrogen and phytoprogesteronic
herbs, such as blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) and false
unicorn root (Chamaelirium luteum), as well as liver herbs, like
milk thistle, dandelion (Taraxacum mongolicum), to work toward
hormonal balance. Vitamin supplements with antioxidants, including
zinc, and vitamins A, E, and C, are also recommended.
Although the treatments for PCOS seem simple and straightforward when
written in black and white, living with PCOS can be difficult and
stressful. Many women seek explanations for their symptoms, only to
be turned away by doctors who do not take their complaints seriously,
or who explain away their symptoms as simply "modern life". In
particular, excessive hair growth and acne are symptoms which have
been labeled "purely cosmetic" by doctors either not familiar with or
not willing to look deeper at what these symptoms might be pointing
to. Abnormal menstrual cycles, particularly in teenage sufferers of
PCOS, have similarly been labeled as variations on a normal cycle,
and women reporting particularly long and/or painful periods have
been treated with skepticism or disbelief. Because of the wide
variation of symptoms this syndrome exhibits, doctors may not be able
to recognize the link between them, and may exclude PCOS as a