Updated: Jan 8
PCOS is a common cause of infertility, affecting over 5 million women. If you're struggling with PCOS, you're not alone. Many people turn to the internet for natural remedies to manage the uncomfortable symptoms of PCOS, including irregular periods, acne, thinning hair, and weight gain. However, the results can be disappointing and often rely on the birth control pill as the only solution offered by Western medicine.
That's why I created my own list of natural remedies for managing PCOS symptoms. In this post, you'll find my top holistic remedies for addressing these common issues. If you're looking for alternative approaches to managing your PCOS, be sure to read on for our tips and recommendations.
1. Eating a whole foods diet
Managing PCOS symptoms naturally often involves making dietary changes to support hormonal balance and overall health. One effective strategy is to prioritize whole, unprocessed foods in your diet. This includes organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed and pastured meats, poultry, and eggs, and wild-caught fish. These foods provide essential nutrients and support healthy hormone function. Plant-based oils like avocado oil (for cooking) and olive oil (for salad dressings and cold dishes) can also be beneficial for managing PCOS symptoms. In addition to incorporating these nutrient-rich foods, it's important to avoid processed foods and added sugars, which can contribute to hormonal imbalances and other health issues. Instead, choose naturally sweet options like fruit (particularly berries and cherries) and dates (in moderation) to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Blood sugar balance is crucial for managing PCOS symptoms naturally, including menstrual irregularity and irregular periods. In fact, one study found that overweight, insulin-resistant subjects who took 300mg of magnesium at bedtime showed a significant improvement in fasting blood glucose and insulin levels (compared to those who received a placebo). To support blood sugar balance and manage PCOS symptoms, consider incorporating food sources of magnesium into your diet, such as whole grains, dark leafy greens, and dried beans and legumes. However, many people find that they still need to supplement with magnesium to achieve optimal results. Be sure to discuss the appropriate dosage and form of magnesium supplementation with your healthcare practitioner.
3. Omega-3 rich foods
Omega-3 fatty acids have a long list of health benefits, including reducing inflammation in the body- another key element to naturally managing PCOS symptoms. Eat foods that are rich in omega-3's such as:
Coldwater fatty fish *best option* (mackerel, sardines, herring, and wild-caught Alaskan salmon)
If it's difficult to get enough of these nutrient-rich foods in your diet, you may want to consider supplementing with cod liver oil or an Omega-3 supplement. One study found that women with PCOS who received 3 grams of Omega-3's per day for 8 weeks had lower testosterone concentrations and were more likely to experience regular menstrual cycles compared to those who received a placebo. Supplementing with Omega-3's may be a useful strategy for managing PCOS symptoms and supporting hormonal balance.
4. Eat a balanced plate & get enough protein
Maintaining a healthy blood sugar balance is essential for supporting your body when you have PCOS. One effective strategy is to eat 3-4 balanced meals per day, with a moderate amount of carbohydrates and enough protein (ideally 20-30 grams per meal). This can help regulate blood sugar and manage PCOS symptoms. Make sure to include a variety of nutrient-rich foods in your meals to support overall health and hormonal balance.
A note about fasting: although forms of intermittent fasting can be beneficial to many people, I don't recommend fasting or skipping breakfast if you have PCOS- you'll want to eat a high-protein breakfast within 2 hours of waking up to ensure proper blood sugar balance for the day.
5. Lower you caffeine intake
Reducing caffeine intake can be an effective strategy for naturally managing PCOS symptoms. While it's ideal to cut out caffeine completely, if that's not feasible, aim to keep your daily intake under 100mg – about one cup of coffee or two cups of tea. This can help lower inflammation in the body and regulate cortisol levels, which are both crucial for managing PCOS. If you're struggling to reduce your caffeine intake, try gradually cutting back and consider seeking support from a healthcare practitioner or nutritionist. Green tea has been shown to improve insulin resistance, so that's the best option!
If you're a coffee addict, read my blog post about how I quit drinking coffee here.
6. Don't over-exercise
One of the unfortunate symptoms of PCOS is weight gain. Naturally, many women who experience this symptom start exercising MORE, trying to lose the weight. Exercise is important, but overdoing it can do more harm than good. Over-exercising increases cortisol and adrenaline, which can actually make you gain more weight or stay at the same weight. Not to mention, it increases your appetite- your body needs fuel to perform at a higher athletic level.
The key is to stay active, but focus on low-impact workouts. Consider lifting weights 2-3 times/week, and cutting back on cardiovascular workouts to only 1-2 times/week. Some other forms of exercise that I LOVE for my PCOS clients include:
Moderate cardiovascular exercise like jogging
Short-burst HIT workouts
This is really just the tip of the iceberg, and managing PCOS symptoms requires a tailored approach.
If you've been diagnosed with PCOS and want to make dietary and lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms, consider working with a certified Hormonal Health Coach. As a professional, I can provide support and guidance as you make healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle. In fact, one of my clients was able to get her period back and balance her hormones after a PCOS diagnosis with the help of health coaching, read the testimonial here. If you're interested in working with a Hormonal Health Coach, book a free consult with me to learn more and see if it's right for you.
In good health,