Every third woman today has Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which is a huge number in itself. The issue with PCOS is that it never presents the same way in all women and even though the imbalance starts during puberty, it can take years to actually appear clinically. The problem lies in the name: Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. So now people look for cysts in the ovaries without realizing that this is functional condition caused by hormonal imbalance which may or may not present as cysts in the ovaries. So my advice; nip it in the bud. And to do that one must know what actually happens. 

Presentation of PCOS

Medically speaking, PCOS has the following variations:

The following symptoms may also point towards PCOS even without the cysts in the ovary:

  • Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (periods with cramps/too much bleeding etc.)
  • Excess premenstrual symptoms
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Infertility

In adolescent girls the following symptoms could be signs that PCOS tendency exists:

  • Delayed menarche (beginning of menses)
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Uterine cramps
  • Secondary amenorrhea (absence of menses) after menarche 
  • Breast tenderness/ lumps in the breasts. 

As one can see, PCOS has little to do with ovarian cysts are more to do with dysfunctional hormonal system and thus it needs a more holistic approach for treating.

It is an excess estrogen condition

The bottom line for PCOS is excess estrogen exposure (either through environment, or food or internally). This excess estrogen alters the estrogen progesterone balance which affects the negative feedback mechanism in the brain. This in turn affects the release of GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) which causes a surge in LH (Luteinizing hormone) and a drop in FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone). This altered LH/ FSH ratio stimulates the ovarian follicles to stimulate more androgens (they naturally also secrete tiny amounts of androgens) and impairs the maturation of the follicle thereby affecting ovulation. Also, the increased LH also stimulates the follicles to secrete more estrogen which adds to the existing pool of excess estrogen thereby maintaining the loop. 

Increased sympathetic activity

The body of those suffering from PCOS is in a constant state of sympathetic stimulation (flight or fight mode). This is probably because the body is in a constant state of inflammation and it goes into thinking that it needs to fightback. This increased sympathetic tone and decreased parasympathetic tone is what leads to obesity, insulin resistance, increased BP, etc.

Take-away Points

1. PCOS is a condition of estrogen imbalance in the body (with or without other accompanying symptoms).

2. PCOS is a reversible condition. If caught early, PCOS is reversible which is good news and bad news. Good news because it is completely treatable if caught early and bad news because it can also recur if the body is again subject to the same triggering factors.

3. Diet is extremely important and it is one of the maintaining factors of PCOS. Body is subject to excess estrogen either from environment (microplastics having estrogenic effect) or food (many food products like soya have estrogen like effect when consumed). By understanding the trigger foods and keeping them at bay, you are reducing the estrogen stress on the body and this is extremely essential to get the hormone balance back. Also, food intolerance to dairy, gluten etc. keep the body in a constantly inflamed state (flight or fight state), thereby maintaining the sympathetic activity. It is therefore essential to have anti-inflammatory foods which can counter this. 

4. Puberty and initial years of menstruation are extremely important. In a lot of people with PCOS, the hormonal troubles start during the initial years of puberty and they are often overlooked as normal or are treating with hormones (which further add insult to the problem). The key to successfully tackling this PCOS epidemic is to catch the imbalance early and to treat it holistically.

Homeopathy in PCOS

Homeopathy has a wide application in PCOS. It helps eliminate / reduce the cysts, restore fertility, control dysfunctional bleeding, eliminate/ reduce premenstrual symptoms. It has best results if used early in the process before the pathology has set in.