Updated: Sep 1
PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility, affecting more than 5 million women.
Out of curiosity, I did a google search of "natural remedies for PCOS" and was very disappointed with the results I found. Many clients come to me frustrated because the only solution they are given by western medicine is the birth control pill.
So- I created my own list of natural remedies that will help you manage some of the uncomfortable symptoms of PCOS, including: irregular periods, acne, thinning hair, and weight gain.
Read on for my top holistic remedies for PCOS symptoms!
1. Eating a whole foods diet
Foods that are in their most natural form will be your best friend if you want to naturally manage PCOS symptoms. Think organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed/pastured meats, poultry and eggs, and wild-caught fish. Plant-based oils like avocado oil (to cook with) and olive oil (for salad dressings/cold dishes) are also great. Avoid processed foods and definitely avoid anything that has added sugar. If you want something sweet, consider naturally sweet foods like fruit (berries and cherries are awesome!) and dates (in small amounts).
Blood sugar balance is KEY for naturally managing PCOS symptoms. One study found that overweight, insulin-resistant subjects who took 300mg of magnesium at bedtime showed a significant improve in fasting blood glucose and insulin levels (compared to those who received a placebo). Food sources of magnesium include whole grains, dark, leafy greens, and dried beans + legumes, but many find that they still need to supplement. Be sure to discuss with your healthcare practitioner what form of magnesium you need + the appropriate dosage.
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)
And if getting these foods in is difficult, you can consider supplementing with cod liver oil or an Omega-3 supplement. One study found that women with PCOS who were given 3 grams of Omega-3's/day for 8 weeks had lower testosterone concentrations and were more likely to get regular menstrual cycles than those who received a placebo.
4. Eat a balanced plate & get enough protein
Eating 3-4 balanced meals per day is key to regulating blood sugar and thus, supporting your body when you have PCOS. Try to eat a moderate amount of carbohydrates and make sure you get enough protein- ideally, 20-30 grams/meal.
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
Most of my clients grimace when I suggest this, but those who actually do it see GREAT results in regards to naturally managing their PCOS symptoms. In a perfect world, I'd recommend cutting out caffeine completely. But, if that's not possible for you, try to keep your caffeine levels under 100mg per day- that's roughly 1 cup of coffee or 2 cups of tea. This will lower inflammation in your body and also help to manage your cortisol levels- both ESSENTIAL for managing PCOS. 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 have been diagnosed with PCOS and want support making dietary & lifestyle changes to help you manage your symptoms, consider working with a certified Hormonal Health Coach! Read this testimonial of a client whom I supported in getting her period back and balancing her hormones after a PCOS diagnosis. If you're interested in health coaching, book a free consult with me here.
In good health,