Understanding PCOS: Naturopathic Approach vs. Conventional Medicine

Understanding PCOS: Naturopathic Approach vs. Conventional Medicine

PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects women, typically from mid-teens to mid-40’s.  

While conventional medicine provides treatment options such as birth control pills and insulin-sensitizing agents, naturopathic practitioners offer a more holistic approach to address and manage the symptoms of PCOS. Here we’ll shed light on PCOS, discuss the conventional medicine approach to treating it, and compare it with the naturopathic approach our doctors at Naturopathic Family Health provide.

PCOS causes the ovaries to produce a higher amount of androgens (testosterone and DHEA) than usual. This hormonal imbalance leads to the formation of multiple small cysts in the ovaries, hence the name polycystic ovary syndrome.

The exact cause of PCOS is not known, but genetics, insulin resistance, and inflammation have been implicated in its development.

Women with PCOS may experience symptoms a variety of symptoms, including:

  1. Irregular periods: This is the most common symptom and can include periods that come every few weeks, not at all, or too frequently.
  2. Heavy bleeding: The periods you do have can be heavier than normal.
  3. Excess androgen: Elevated levels of testosterone and DHEA may result in physical signs such as excess facial and body hair, adult acne, or severe adolescent acne, and male-pattern hair loss.
  4. Polycystic ovaries: Your ovaries might be enlarged and contain follicles that surround the eggs, leading to the failure of the ovaries to function regularly.
  5. Weight gain: Up to 80 percent of women with PCOS are overweight.
  6. Fatigue: Many women with PCOS report low energy.
  7. Infertility: PCOS is a leading cause of female infertility.
  8. Mood changes: Having PCOS can increase the likelihood of mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
  9. Sleep problems: Women with PCOS often report problems such as insomnia or poor sleep.

The conventional medicine approach to treating PCOS usually involves the use of birth control pills to regulate the menstrual cycle by suppressing your body’s sex hormone production, reducing androgen levels. Insulin-sensitizing agents such as metformin may also be prescribed to improve insulin resistance, a common issue for women with PCOS.

While these medications can be effective in reducing some of the symptoms of PCOS, they do not provide a comprehensive solution.

Naturopathic Approach to PCOS

Naturopathic doctors approach the treatment of PCOS from a holistic perspective, considering the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the individual. They prioritize identifying and addressing the underlying cause of the condition, while also alleviating symptoms through natural therapies.

For instance, making nutritional and lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on PCOS symptoms. Opting for nutrient-dense and high-fiber foods, healthy sources of protein and fats, and reducing sugar intake and inflammatory foods can help regulate insulin levels, enhance energy, and improve mood. Incorporating suitable exercise routines can also improve insulin resistance, overall well-being, and weight management.

Additionally, clinical nutrients and herbal medicines can effectively target root causes and manage symptoms. Our doctors will recommend supplements tailored to your specific needs. Some examples include myo-inositol, N-acetyl cysteine, and saw palmetto, which can help lower androgen levels and improve ovulation.

Naturopathic doctors offer a comprehensive approach to PCOS, focusing on addressing the root cause of the issue and empowering you with the knowledge and tools to take control of your health.

In contrast to conventional medicine, which often provides temporary relief from PCOS symptoms without tackling the underlying hormonal imbalance, our holistic approach encompasses nutrition, lifestyle changes, and natural therapies to address the root causes while effectively managing symptoms and enhancing overall well-being.

Our doctors are dedicated to providing a personalized and integrative approach that promotes optimal health and empowers you to thrive.

Dr. Jennifer Jewel-Larsen
Naturopathic Doctor San Jose


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