Need a PCOS naturopath Brisbane? PCOS is in the top three conditions that our naturopaths treat at Shift.
What is PCOS and can you treat it naturally?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is the most common women’s health condition we see at Shift Brisbane. Women with PCOS can present in a number of different ways, however, some of the more common issues associated with PCOS are…
- Irregular menstrual cycles – the time between periods getting longer or not coming at the same time each month
- Insulin resistance – which causes issues with blood sugar levels
- Weight gain
- Hirsutism – excessive hair growth
A diagnosis of PCOS technically involves a combination of irregular menstrual cycles and a picture of insulin resistance and androgen excess. From a naturopathic perspective, we want to look at the whole picture and no two women with PCOS have quite the same presentation.
Does PCOS mean you need to have cysts?
While it is thought that PCOS involves having multiple cysts on the ovaries – many women do not have cysts yet still present with a PCOS picture. An ultrasound of the ovaries showing many follicles is also not diagnostic of PCOS – this can be a very normal presentation in a cycling woman and can lead to misdiagnosis of irregular period or amenorrhea – the absence of periods.
The subtypes of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
What we find in clinical practice is that women with PCOS tend to have concurrent issues happening that are adding to their PCOS and making matters worse. By looking at the landscape of your entire health, and addressing all pieces of the picture – we have a very good chance of putting your PCOS into remission and supporting the natural healing of PCOS.
Here are some of the issues that we want to look at related to PCOS.
- Insulin Resistance
- Androgen excess
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Adrenal depletion, stress and emotional health
- Gut health
Insulin Resistance and PCOS
Insulin resistance happens when your blood sugar is too dysregulated for too long. It is insulins job to get the sugar into your cells and when insulin resistance develops you end up with high blood glucose and many complications from this.
Symptoms can include weight gain, craving sugar, frequent urination, thirstiness, and fatigue. Naturopathic treatment of PCOS will include herbal medicine and nutritional supplements to reduce insulin resistance.
Androgen dominance and PCOS
High testosterone and androgens cause symptoms like hirsutism (hair growth), acne and irregular cycles.In many women that we see with PCOS the androgens are mildly elevated – enough to cause issues but perhaps not high enough to cause the “classic” symptoms of PCOS such as acne or excessive hair growth.
Our naturopaths will do extensive hormonal testing to see is androgens need to be addressed and use specific treatments to address this.
Thyroid dysfunction and PCOS
Women with PCOS are much more likely to have thyroid issues like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In many cases, PCOS is misdiagnosed and the cause is low thyroid function. Irregular cycles can occur when thyroid function is low, leading to symptoms such as weight gain, foggy headedness, dry skin, anxiety and/or depression and low body temperature. Click here to read more about thyroid issues.
Adrenal depletion and PCOS
Adrenal issues can often be the first thing that sets off Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The cortisol and adrenaline secreted during stress can lead to high androgens and insulin resistance. Caused by excessive stress, adrenally depleted PCOS patients suffer from fatigue, insomnia and sometimes mood issues.
This is a very important part of treatment if we want o overcome PCOS and get you cycling naturally again. Our naturopaths may use herbal medicines to support your stress pathways, and our emotional wellness team can also help.
Gut health and PCOS
Research shows that women with PCOS have disrupted microbiomes compared to those that do not develop the condition. Addressing gut health is core part of our naturopathic treatment at Shift Brisbane. Good gut health is a foundational healing pillar and without addressing it it can be difficult to fully heal from PCOS.
How you treat your PCOS is important
PCOS varies widely in presentation, hormonal changes and also symptoms. When our naturopaths are assessing your entire health, they’re looking for what is specifically going on for you. That means there is no one magic pill for the treatment of PCOS, rather the success depends on treating your individual imbalances with specific natural medicines to correct the condition. If insulin resistance is an issue that is a focus. If you have high androgens then our naturopaths will address this. If you’re not sleeping this is important to fix too.
Can natural therapies help with PCOS?
We can confidently say we have helped thousands of women with Polycystic ovarian syndrome at Shift Brisbane. Both naturopathy and acupuncture are very effective in addressing the causes and imbalances that are causing your PCOS. At Shift Brisbane we help correct their PCOS permanently by supporting them to live a healthier lifestyle and providing treatments that target the underlying causes.
How does naturopathy work for PCOS?
Our naturopaths help PCOS first by looking at your symptoms and pathology results to determine what the individual issues you face are. They then develop a tailored treatment plan which includes herbal medicines, nutritional supplements as well as specific dietary advice. Naturopathy is so effective for PCOS due to herbal medicines ability to regulate hormones, support your adrenal and thyroid health and to reduce insulin resistance. It is very easy to track progress and effectiveness of treatment as your bloods will change over the months, as will your menstrual cycles.
Can acupuncture help PCOS?
Acupuncture helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and bring the body back into balance over time. It works by stimulating specific acupuncture points on the body to facilitate change. This study found acupuncture to be effective in PCOS, helping to increase blood flow to the ovaries, reduced ovarian volume, reduced number of cysts, improvements in insulin resistance and reduced cortisol levels.
Many of our patients also choose to do naturopathy and acupuncture concurrently. This is ideal if you need faster results, such as if you are treating your PCOS for fertility reasons and want to conceive as quickly as possible. We offer memberships that are just naturopathy based or ones that include both modalities.
How long does it take to treat PCOS naturally?
Unfortunately, the natural treatment of PCOS is not a quick fix. Unlike the oral contraceptive pill, which works immediately (although this does not correct the issue, rather masks it – learn more here), the herbal medicines and acupuncture take some time to correct the issue. For most of our clients, we have seen a significant improvement within 6-12 months, however, it can take 12-24 months to really correct the condition. The success, of course, depends on the severity of your condition, other concurrent issues that need to be addressed and what diet and lifestyle changes you’re prepared to make to make it work. Although PCOS is said to have no “cure” – we have observed that in many of our patients has been reversed, with many of our PCOS patients going on to have healthy babies after treatment.
What if I’m also trying to get pregnant and I have PCOS?
If you’re trying to conceive then your treatment may vary slightly to take this into account. We may prescribe nutrients to support your pregnancy in addition to your regular supplements. As we correct the underlying causes of PCOS your fertility will increase anyway, but there are some other considerations that we make if trying to get pregnant is your goal.
Having a diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome can be daunting but there is so much you can do to help.
To make an appointment with Shift Brisbane naturopath to help with your PCOS, call us on 07 3367 0337 or book online now.