How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of PCOS on Fertility Through Diet and Herbs

How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of PCOS on Fertility Through Diet and Herbs

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome may be one of the most complex female health issues of our time. It is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age. PCOS is accompanied by a variety of different health issues, many of which directly impact fertility. Classic PCOS presents with obesity, polycystic ovaries (multiple ovarian cysts that look like a strand of pearls), elevated levels of androgens and absent or irregular menstrual cycles. Not all women who will go on to be diagnosed with PCOS will have these issues though.

What Causes PCOS?

Doctors are unsure of what causes PCOS, but information suggests there are several links including genes, possible abnormal fetal development, insulin resistance and inflammatory response contributing to the cause. We know that insulin resistance plays a key role in PCOS, but what leads to the development of this has not been pinned down. PCOS is also negatively affected by diet, lifestyle and exposure to certain environmental toxins. PCOS directly impacts fertility, but has serious health implications as well, especially if left untreated.

Genetic Predisposition and Abnormal Fetal Development
Women whose mothers, sisters or grandmothers had PCOS are at a higher risk for developing PCOS. Research suggests that exposure to excessive amounts of male hormones (androgens) by the developing fetus may alter proper gene expression. This means that the affected genes will not function correctly later in life, which may cause PCOS during the reproductive years of a woman’s life.

A recent, first of its kind genome-wide association study of PCOS has identified two areas of DNA that leave women of European ancestry susceptible to developing PCOS. The researchers also found one region of susceptibility in the DNA of Chinese women. Of particular interest was one area of DNA that contains the gene for the hormone FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). This finding provides evidence of disruption of the pathway that regulates FSH and in turn ovarian function which plays a crucial role in the development of PCOS.

The human genome project has allowed researchers to pool more than 700,000 genetic markers from the DNA of thousands of women with PCOS. This is what helped them identify regions of genes associated with PCOS.

“For a number of years, researchers had been thinking that it was testosterone produced by the ovary that was a major problem in PCOS, but our study did not find signals for genes regulating testosterone… In contrast, we did find a signal for the FSH gene, which is produced in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. This suggests that FSH, in either how it acts on the ovary or how it is secreted, is very important in the development of PCOS. This is a new way of thinking about the biology of PCOS.”
– Dr. Andrea Dunaif

Researchers are planning on mining the DNA of women of African ancestry with PCOS next to see if there is a shared genetic basis for PCOS over other ethnicities. Doctors plan to use all of this research to identify girls who may be at-risk for developing PCOS and create a medical treatment protocol to cure it.

Another interesting study of 235 women with PCOS sought to discover if there is a link to the development of PCOS later life that may be influenced by factors beginning in the womb. The women were divided into two groups. The groups were categorized by: 1. obese women with elevated androgens, elevated LH and testosterone, and 2. by thin to normal weight women with elevated LH and normal levels of androgens. The results of the study showed a pattern in both the mothers weight and baby’s birth weight and fetal gestation time. The women in group 1 had above-average birth weight and were born to obese mothers. The women in group 2 were born after 40 weeks gestation. The conclusion was that events occurring during fetal development may have long-term effects on endocrine function later in life.

Insulin Resistance
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas and is responsible for signaling cells in the body to function correctly, most importantly to convert glucose to energy and to control their growth. It also plays a key role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins.

Insulin resistance happens when the body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. When this happens, higher levels of insulin are needed so that insulin can have the proper effects. At this point, the pancreas must overcompensate, working harder and harder to produce more insulin.

Insulin signals the ovaries to secrete testosterone and inhibit hepatic sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) production which leads to an increased level of circulating testosterone. This is why many women with PCOS experience acne, facial hair growth and male pattern baldness (hirsutism). Excess insulin in the bloodstream also signals the ovaries to release more estrogen which can suppress ovulation.

Low-grade Inflammation
It has also been found that women with PCOS have low-grade inflammation, which may be a cause for insulin resistance. White blood cells produce substances to fight infection, this is known as inflammatory response. In some predisposed people eating certain foods, or exposure to certain environmental factors may trigger an inflammatory response. When inflammatory response is triggered, white blood cells produce substances that may contribute to insulin resistance and atherosclerosis.

Signs, Symptoms and Health Risks

Signs and Symptoms of PCOS

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Absent period
  • Anovulatory cycles
  • Abnormal mid-cycle bleeding
  • Excessive or heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Alopecia (balding)
  • Hirsutism (excessive body hair)
  • Acne
  • Acanthosis nigricans – a darkening of the skin in the armpits, back of the neck, or groin
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • History of ovarian cysts
  • Mood disorders
  • Obesity
  • Recurrent Miscarriage

Health and Fertility Risks Associated with PCOS

  • Infertility
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities
  • Possible increased risk for endometrial and breast cancer due to unopposed estrogen
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes

How is PCOS Diagnosed?

When PCOS was first discovered it was named Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome because of the presence of polycystic ovaries seen by ultrasound. Over time doctors began to realize that PCOS was a complex array of health issues. To date there is a push by doctors to change the name of this condition. “Patients read into the name and just think, ‘Okay, this is about my ovaries, it’s really not about anything else…’ But from a doctor’s perspective, the most worrisome aspects of the disorder are the long-term consequences, such as diabetes.,” said Dr. Melissa Goist, ObGyn. (Livescience, 2013). This led to certain criteria that must be recognized to be diagnosed with PCOS, rather than just the presence of polycystic ovaries. In fact some women with PCOS do not have polycystic ovaries. In order to be diagnosed with PCOS the following should be evaluated by your healthcare practitioner:

Pituitary and Ovarian Hormone serum levels:

  • Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
  • Estradiol
  • Progesterone
  • Prolactin

Circulating Androgens:

  • Free testosterone
  • Free androgen index (FAI): 17-hydroxyprogesterone
  • Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG): 24 hr. urinary free cortisol
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S)

Endometrial Biopsy
Glucose Tolerance Test
Thyroid Panel
Blood Lipid Profile

Are you wondering what your test results mean? Please talk to your doctor in detail about what your test results mean for your fertility. Some doctors may tell you that you have mild PCOS. Women may have some or all of the symptoms of PCOS, some may have normal menstrual cycles and some may not. Testing is the best way to find out if you have PCOS for sure or not.

Click here to learn more about the different presentations of PCOS…

How PCOS Affects the Menstrual Cycle

What happens in a normal menstrual cycle?

In very simple terms the hypothalamus produces GnRH (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone) which signals to the pituitary to produce LH (luteinising hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). The release of GnRH is pulsatile in women with regular menstrual cycles. The normal pulsatile release of GnRh signals some of the follicles in the ovary to begin maturing and for the ovaries to release estrogen and progesterone. This estrogen/progesterone signal is recognized by the pituitary gland. As the follicles begin maturing they release and increase the hormone estrogen over time. The rising estrogen level signals the pituitary gland to curb the release of FSH. This communication allows for ovulation to occur. In women with PCOS the menstrual cycle follows a different pattern of endocrine function and communication.

What the menstrual cycle is typically like in a woman with PCOS…

In women with PCOS the menstrual cycle starts off irregular, with the hypothalamus releasing GnRH in a higher than normal pulsatile frequency. This allows for increased LH and decreased FSH, which in turn leads to excessive production of the androgens androstenedione and testosterone. This causes the follicle to only mature some, but not enough to achieve full maturity in order to be released for ovulation. This also allows for continued increase of estrogen, primarily estrone. During a woman’s reproductive years, estrone levels are relatively low. Typically we associate estrone with menopause, not the the fertile years of a woman’s life. The higher levels of androgens and estrogen create a chronic state of low to very low progesterone and anovulatory cycles.

Classic polycystic ovaries are a result of chronic anovulation. Endocrine function is imbalanced from the very beginning of the menstrual cycle causing mild to severe hormonal imbalance, depending on the individual.

Excessive levels of estrogen may also cause uterine hypertrophy, also known as endometrial hyperplasia. Unopposed estrogen may cause excessive cell proliferation of the endometrium. The endometrium is the innermost layer of the uterus that is shed as menses during menstruation. Endometrial hyperplasia may cause heavy menstrual bleeding or prolonged bleeding during menstruation. The uterus may become bulky and larger than normal.

Medical Options for PCOS

Anovulatory Cycles

    Oral Contraceptive Pills (birth control) are the number one most prescribed medication to regulate menstruation in women with PCOS. While this may help to create a regular menstrual cycle (which is important) it prevents pregnancy. This is not helpful for women with PCOS who are trying to conceive. OCPs do not solve the root of the problem and may actually cause long-term reproductive health problems.

    Other hormonal medications may be commonly used as well. This is determined by case.

    Clomid is commonly used for women with PCOS to hyperstimulate the ovaries to ovulate. Once again the problem we encounter here is that Clomid does not resolve PCOS, though it may help a woman to get pregnant.

Ovarian drilling done by laparascopic surgery. This is done with the intent to stimulate ovulation.

Insulin Resistance

    This drug is commonly prescribed for women with PCOS, even if they are not insulin resistant or have any signs of type 2 diabetes. Metformin helps to control the amount of glucose in the blood. Metformin is used to treat type 2 diabetes. PCOS can often be helped by specific diet changes, similar to a diabetic diet. Metformin comes with risks and side effects, please talk to your doctor in detail before choosing to use Metformin to control PCOS. Many natural therapies may be used with Metformin with your doctor’s approval.

    Note: Long-term treatment with Metformin has been shown to cause malabsorption of vitamin B12 in some patients. Before choosing to use this medication, talk to your doctor about the long-term goal and duration of treatment.

There are a variety of other medications prescribed depending on the symptoms of PCOS. There are medications for hirsutism or alopecia, weight gain and more. Your doctor can provide you with specific information on medications.

Learn to Eat a PCOS Fertility Diet

Eating a specific PCOS Fertility Diet is one of the best things you can do to improve your chances of becoming pregnant.

Eating a specific PCOS Fertility Diet is one of the best things you can do to improve your chances of becoming pregnant.The biggest part of the problem with PCOS is insulin resistance. Resistance to insulin increases the body’s insulin levels which can have a negative affect on ovulation by limiting the maturation process of an egg and in turn delaying or preventing ovulation from taking place. Insulin resistance also makes it difficult for the embryo to attach properly to the uterus for implantation.

This has a direct impact on your fertility and ability to conceive.

Women with insulin resistance are 4-5 times more likely to have a miscarriage.

PCOS is also a huge red flag for the beginning of type 2 diabetes.

I do not say all this to scare you, but I do want you to know that this is a serious matter. Fortunately, there are many natural options you can do on your own to turn this all around. The biggest step you can take is to change your diet to a PCOS diet.

The benefits of following a PCOS Diet are:

  • Increases the rate of spontaneous ovulation
  • Significantly improves the environment of the uterus, preparing it for implantation
  • Increases the likelihood of a healthy conception
  • Decreases the potential for miscarriage
  • Helps to prevent insulin resistance from turning into diabetes

PCOS Diet Guidelines

1. Balance your daily protein intake with an equal amount of carbohydrates

This will help to eliminate the insulin yo-yo. When you eat equal amounts of protein and carbohydrates this helps to keep your insulin at a balanced level, thus increasing your fertility.

A low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet helped insulin resistance. A high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet made insulin resistance worse.
– Medical Journal Metabolism; no. 12: 1481-1487

A diet containing 25% carbohydrates improved insulin resistance, whereas a diet that included 45% carbohydrates did not.
– International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders; 20 no. 12:1067-1072

The types of carbohydrates you choose are also an important factor. Choose whole grain, or sprouted grain products. They contain more protein and fiber (better for balancing insulin levels) than their processed counterparts. Avoid processed carbohydrates, especially the white variety (white flour, rice, potato, etc.) which cause a spike in insulin levels and provide little to no fiber, or nutrients.

Some examples of whole grain and sprouted grain products are:

  • Ezekiel breads
  • Spelt
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Brown Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth

The best place to find these foods are at your local health foods store or Whole Foods Market.

Make sure the proteins you are eating are complete and organic. Organic meats and dairy contain essential fatty acids and will reduce the negative impact on hormonal imbalance.

2. Eat foods low on the glycemic index and glycemic load list

Blood glucose rises and then falls when you eat a meal containing carbs. How high it rises and how long it remains high depends on the kind of carbs (glycemic index, GI) and the amount you ate (glycemic load, GL). Low glycemic index foods are carbohydrates that break down slowly in the body, and don’t cause such a dramatic spike and then drop in insulin levels. The glycemic load takes into consideration the amount of the glycemic index food you consumed and how that affects your blood sugar. The glycemic load combines both the quality and quantity of carbohydrate into one ‘number’. It’s the best way to predict blood glucose values of different types and amounts of food.

The serving size of the amount of carbohydrates consumed really matter here. Be sure to eat no more than 100g of low glycemic index carbohydrates a day if you have insulin resistant PCOS and are overweight. Increase the amount of low glycemic index carbohydrates consumed a day to over 100g if you are thinner or underweight.

Some examples of low glycemic index foods are:

  • Kale, broccoli, asparagus
  • Beans and lentils
  • Grapefruit and apples
  • Walnuts and almonds

Processed carbohydrates that break down quickly make insulin levels jump dramatically.

Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index such as sugary and starchy foods such as: pancakes, syrups, sugar, white potatoes, jams, scones, white bread products, pasta, soda, alcoholic beverages.

3. Eat a diet high in fiber

Fiber helps in two ways with PCOS. The first way it helps is by slowing down the digestion of sugars in the body, so there is no spike in insulin. The second way fiber helps is by promoting healthy estrogen metabolism which aids in the reduction of elevated levels of androgens.

Great sources of fiber are: broccoli, celery, whole grains, Ezekiel bread, apples, and dark leafy greens.

4. Eat 5 meals a day

PCOS portion size plateBy eating more often, the body will not go into fasting mode. When you look at the way most Americans eat, it is usually three big meals a day. With such a large gap of time between meals the body goes into fasting mode which may cause the metabolism to become imbalanced.

Your five meals a day should consist of three regular meals and two healthy snacks, or 5 small meals. The first snack should be eaten in the mid-morning before lunch and the second snack to be eaten less than an hour before bed. At each meal a day be sure you are eating a serving of protein (3-4 ounces), a low GI/GL carbohydrate (1/4-1/2 cup or serving size), and vegetables (1 – 1 & 1/2 cup).

Here is what the 5 meals a day could look like:

  • Breakfast (right away, when you wake up): 2 eggs scrambled in 1 tsp. coconut oil with spinach and 1/2 cup of black beans
  • Snack: Smoothie with unsweetened coconut or almond milk, 1/2 of a peach, 1/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon, hemp protein powder and spirulina
  • Lunch: Organic Turkey lettuce wrap with celery sticks and hummus on the side
  • Dinner: Organic chicken with steamed broccoli and half a cup of baked yam
  • Snack (less than an hour before bed): organic unsweetened yogurt with half a serving of low glycemic index fruit (blueberries, raspberries, papaya) and 1/2 tsp. chia seeds

Alternately, you could have your last snack between lunch and dinner, eating your dinner right before bed. Find out what works best with your lifestyle.

5. Eat essential fatty acids daily

Eating essential fatty acids (EFA’s) helps you to lose weight, aids hormonal balance, and are important building blocks for the body to create a healthy environment for conception.

The best source of omega-3 EFA’s is Cod Liver Oil, and omega-6 EFA’s is Evening Primrose oil.

Cod Liver Oil– Take 1 capsule daily with one of your meals. Cod Liver Oil is a rich source of DHA which is essential for a developing baby’s brain health. You can take this daily and during pregnancy.

Evening Primrose Oil– Take 1500mg of this oil from day one of your cycle (menstruation) till ovulation. Evening Primrose Oil helps to increase cervical mucous and metabolic function. Use in addition to flax or cod liver oils.

6. Exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week

Exercise helps PCOS by improving insulin sensitivity, increasing metabolism and helping to shed any excess weight. Both aerobic and resistance exercises are good. Researchers found that participants of resistance exercises showed better improvement in insulin sensitivity than with aerobic exercise alone.

Avoid excessive exercise programs because too much exercise overworks the adrenal glands which increases inflammation and in turn makes PCOS worse. Restorative exercise programs are best. You could walk and lift weights, or take a Pilates class and run on the treadmill, or do some Zumba and then Fertility Yoga. Discover what you enjoy doing and do this 5 days a week for at least thirty minutes a day.

7. Eat Organic

You will be eating a high protein diet, so it is essential that any animal proteins (meats and dairy) you are eating are organic. In commercial meats there are large amounts of added hormones (estrogens) that make the animals grow bigger, faster, and produce more milk. With PCOS there is usually a progesterone deficiency and adding more estrogens can make it even worse.

Studies have shown that organic foods contain more vitamins, minerals and healthier proteins.

8. Quit Coffee

Caffeine increases estrogen levels. A study from Fertility and Sterility shows that drinking just two cups of coffee a day boosts levels of estradiol, a natural estrogen. Women who drink 4-5 cups of coffee a day produce 70% more estrogen in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle (when the body is trying to produce a viable follicle for ovulation, which is already an issue for women with PCOS.)

If you need help getting off the bean, check out Teccino. It is a coffee alternative that tastes great and is alkalizing for the body.

PCOS Herbs and Supplements

Important note: It takes at least 6-12 months of consistent lifestyle and diet changes, along with natural therapies to bring about real change in the body when living with PCOS.

In addition to eating the PCOS diet, supplements have shown to be effective in helping those with PCOS boost their fertility and give birth to healthy babies. The overall goal with PCOS is to balance blood sugar levels, maintain hormonal balance, promote healthy digestion for improved estrogen metabolism, while also working to promote regular ovulation and menses. Adaptogen herbs are also important, this is because adaptogens increase resistance to mind-body stress and enhance overall vitality and health through non-specific adrenal (known as stress glands) support. Plants recognized as adaptogens help to normalize the body’s functions, most importantly the endocrine system, even during diseased states, are non-toxic, nutritive, and have been deemed safe for long term use.

Herbs and supplements are not meant to be a substitute for dietary and lifestyle changes! If diet and lifestyles changes specific to PCOS are not in place, herbs and supplements cannot aid the body properly!

Supplements That Are Beneficial for PCOS…

Whole Food Multivitamin
A major part of decreasing the effects of PCOS on your health and preparing the uterine lining is to take a prenatal multivitamin. Making sure your body has all of the nutrients necessary is a lot easier when you are taking a whole food multivitamin. Synthetic multivitamins won’t have the same effect.

Other vitamin and mineral considerations…

    This trace mineral enhances the action of insulin. Some studies have shown supplementing with chromium may improve blood sugar control. In one study, women with PCOS were given 1,000 mcg per day of chromium for two months and in that time results showed improved insulin sensitivity by 30% in average weight women and by 38% in obese women with PCOS.

    Foods that are high in chromium are onions, tomatoes, brewer’s yeast, oysters, whole grains, and bran. Most foods contain very little chromium, so supplementation may need to be considered.

    Calcium and Vitamin D
    Both calcium and vitamin D play significant roles in the health of many parts of the body. Where PCOS is concerned, calcium protects cardiovascular health. Vitamin D plays a role in glucose metabolism. Studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes are often deficient in vit. D. A small study of 13 women with PCOS showed that 7 out of the 9 who had absent or irregular menstrual cycles, had a return of normal menstrual cycles within two months after being given 50,000 IU once or twice per week of vitamin D and 1,500 mg per day of calcium. This is a marked improvement! Of the 13 women, 5 were shown to be vitamin D deficient.

    Good food sources of vitamin D are cod liver oil, eggs, salmon, mackerel, tuna and whole fat yogurt or other dairy products.

    Vitamin D can also be obtained for free by sitting out in the sun for 15 to 20 minutes per day. Forget using sunscreen it will actually block the ultraviolet light that is needed to produce Vitamin D. The warm sun helps your skin to create Vitamin D3 that is then transformed into the active hormone form of Vitamin D by the kidneys and the liver. In fact, by being out in the sun for just a few minutes a day, a woman’s body can create between 10,000 to 25,000 IU of Vitamin D.

    Calcium can be found in kale, turnips, collards, mustard greens, kelp and wakame seaweed. Hiziki, a type of seaweed has 10 times more calcium than a glass of milk.

Herbs and supplements that promote hormonal balance and support regular ovulation:

    Cod Liver Oil

    Again, cod liver oil is a rich source of omega-3 EFA’s. Eating omega-3 essential fatty acids can help to lose weight, balance hormones, and creates a healthy environment for conception. Omega-3 EFA’s have been shown to aid hormonal regulation and reduce inflammation.

    Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

    Licorice root helps the body to maintain proper hormone production and release. Licorice also supports healthy insulin levels and liver health which is important for women with PCOS.

    Maca (Lepidium meyenii)

    Maca works to balance estrogen and progesterone in the body which may help to encourage a healthy menstrual cycle. Maca is an adaptogen and an incredible fertility superfood. It helps to balance the hormones, but does not contain any hormones itself. It is able to do this by nourishing the endocrine system.

    Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus)

    Vitex (Chaste Tree Berry) is one of the most powerful herbs for women’s fertility and menstrual health. There are numerous studies and testimonials of Vitex and its effects on the body. Vitex supports hormonal balance in the body by having an effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis (hormonal feedback loop), correcting the problem at the source.

    Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris)

    Tribulus has been found to help encourage regular ovulation in infertile women when used prior to ovulation. This herb has been found to be wonderful in aiding women with menstrual irregularities, improving the timing of the entire menstrual cycle. Tribulus has also been found to be a nourishing tonic for the female reproductive system as a whole, especially concerning the ovaries.

    White Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) and Licorice Rt. (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

    Most clinical trials have found that when White Peony is combined with Licorice Rt., it performs better, especially for relaxing muscles, reducing painful menstruation, as well as lowering serum and free testosterone levels in women with PCOS.

    Natural Progesterone Cream

    Progesterone cream can help to oppose estrogen dominance that may occur in some women with PCOS. Through the topical application of progesterone cream one can mimic a natural cycle and help the body to establish its own cycle, including ovulation, once again. Dr. John Lee believed that with progesterone cream, along with changing to a PCOS specific diet and regularly exercising, PCOS could become obsolete.

Healthy Estrogen Metabolism


    DIM balances the hormones and aids in the breakdown of estrogen. Estrogen is a major culprit to many of the fertility issues women face today including PCOS. Unopposed estrogen has been shown to cause menstrual cycle irregularities and in more advanced cases, endometrial hyperplasia. Removal of excess estrogen is vital to overall hormonal balance in women with PCOS.

Insulin Resistance

    Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.)

    A pilot study published in 2007 by Fertility and Sterility showed cinnamon to greatly reduce insulin resistance in women with PCOS. Another study suggests cinnamon may also reduce insulin resistance by slowing the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. This slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which is important for people with diabetes and women with PCOS.

    Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre, G.sylvestris)

    Gymnema has been used for hundreds of years to reduce high blood sugar. This herb has a “sugar blocking” action on taste buds and the small intestine. Gymnema blocks the typical paths that sugar molecules take during digestion, delaying the absorption of sugar. It works by stimulating the regeneration of pancreatic cells that produce insulin, which aids in more insulin production; in turn stimulating production of enzymes that help with the uptake of glucose into cells; and then prevents stimulation of the liver to produce more glucose. Gymnema also appears to have a lipid-lowering effect, which aids in weight loss.

Hirsutism and Endometrial Hyperplasia

    Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)

    Saw Palmetto has been found to inhibit DHT production by reducing 5 alpha-reductase production, which may help prevent hirsutism in women with PCOS. This herb also helps to reduce endometrial hyperplasia and hormonal acne symptoms.

To purchase a harmonizing herbal blend supportive of hormonal balance click here…

Inflammatory response
Because women with PCOS usually have low-grade inflammation constantly present in the body, it is important to support the body by promoting a healthy inflammation response. Some foods are known to trigger inflammation in the body. If you have food allergies, avoid foods which you are sensitive to because they trigger an inflammatory response.


    Omega essential fatty acids decrease the risk of inflammation, especially omega-3 and 6. Getting enough essential fatty acids in the diet may help, both through foods you eat and through supplementation.

    Systemic Enzyme Therapy

    Systemic Enzyme Therapy or using systemic enzymes is another option. Systemic enzyme blends work as a biological response modifier; working with the bodies own immune defense system to moderate inflammatory response. They also break down the proteins in the blood that cause inflammation.

    Royal Jelly and Bee Propolis

    Royal jelly and bee propolis have been shown to reduce inflammation and naturally boost the body’s immune system. They may also aid in hormonal balance through endocrine system support.

Click here to learn about other herbs helpful for women with PCOS…


PCOS is a complex female health issue. It consists of many different health concerns and risks. If permanent diet and lifestyle changes are implemented, these risks and health issues may become obsolete. There are many ways to support the proper health of a woman’s body that is dealing with PCOS. Important key tips…

1. Make sure your doctor performs the correct tests and you get a proper diagnosis.

2. Follow a PCOS specific diet to help decrease insulin resistance, balance weight, and improve estrogen metabolism.

3. Promote hormonal balance and support regular ovulation through supportive herbs and supplements.

4. Support a proper inflammatory response.

5. Stick to your plan, believe in yourself, only you have the ability to change your circumstances!

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  1. I’m 30 and trying to conceive. In 2013, I was diagnosed as having PCOS and the struggle began. I am currently completing the fertility cleanse. After the cleanse, I plan to use Vitex along with the supplements UltraChrome and NAC. Would it be wise to use this combination of supplements?

    • Dear TEzell,

      Vitex, Chromium and NAC can be combined, but know this, that dietary changes are key, very important. No matter the supplements a woman with PCOS takes, if diet is not also changed, they may have a lesser effect than they are known to. For this reason, we have shared this thorough guide to beneficial dietary changes.

      If interested in help with making dietary and lifestyle changes and having PCOS fertility program created for your specific needs, or if you are still unsure of how to proceed, please consider working one on one with our fertility herbalist through a Fertility Consultation.

      It is great that you have begun with the Fertility Cleanse and have been researching herbs and supplements. Kuddos to you! All my best!

  2. I am 31 y.o. I have had irregular periods from the start. I was put on birth control at 18 to regulate. It wasn’t until I had troubles conceiving that I found out I had PCOS. I had 2 successful pregnancies with fertility treatments. I have since had 2 pregnancies achieved without fertility treatments that resulted in miscarriage. Over the last 2 years, I have lost 20 lbs, now weighing 145lbs, which probably helped me achieve pregnancy on my own. Recently I developed a lot of stress and anxiety. I saw a neuropathic Dr that did acupuncture. She started me on a PCOS vitamin blend. I was also put on a low carb. diet and was told to exercise regularly. Praying for a successful pregnancy soon! Thanks for the info!

    • Dear Julia,

      I have sorry for your losses! How great that you are being proactive and making changes to support your overall and fertility health!

      We are happy the information we have shared here is helpful. All my best!

  3. Hi,

    I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 17. I was put on birth control at 15 as my periods were very heavy and irregular. Now I’m 25 and have been trying desperately to conceive since I got married in 2010. I’ve tried Clomid with no luck. I want to know if there are any natural supplements and or vitamins I should be taking? I already take folic acid. My diet isn’t great because working 15 hours a day leaves me no time to sort out a proper diet plan. Please help me :(

    • Dear Ellie,

      PCOS can be quite challenging, but we have seen women with PCOS, who commit to changing their diets and lifestyles, achieve health. It is when these changes are made that herbs, nutritional supplements and natural therapies are able to be most beneficial.

      I do not know your financial needs, or why you have to work 15 hours a day, but to be honest Ellie, this is way too many hours to work a day. Is this leaving you time to exercise each day, connect with your husband, unwind and relax, practice stress reductions techniques, be social and spend time with family and friends? It may be time to reevaluate whether working so much is healthy for you. This sort of schedule may be quite hard and unhealthy to maintain while pregnant and after.

      Consider as a starting point, the suggestion in this article for what the 5 meals a day could look like. Take time at the beginning of the week, or on a day off, to shop for all the ingredients and prepare them for each day. Package them all up so you can just grab a bag each day you head off to work.

      It may also be helpful however to consider working one on one with a fertility herbalist who can guide you in the right direction, on the right program (including more diet tips), for your specific fertility health needs through a Fertility Consultation.

      I wish you the best and contemplate these changes and keep moving forward!

  4. Hi,

    I am 25 and live a very active and healthy lifestyle. I was recently diagnosed with PCOS. I am not overweight but I am wondering if insulin resistance could still be a possibility even though I do not have the typical signs of insulin resistance (facial hair, overweight, etc.) Although I do not experience these symptoms, would an insulin resistance diet still benefit me in getting pregnant? Thank you for your information and time!

    • Dear Natasha,

      There are several “faces of PCOS”. No two women experience it in the same way.

      Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin (a hormone made by the pancreas), but does not use it properly – rather than being glucose being absorbed by the cells, glucose builds up in the blood.

      Excess weight and physical inactivity are two major contributors insulin resistance, although the exact causes of this health issue are still not yet completely understood. Many live their lives for years without knowing they have insulin resistance, until sadly the learn they have prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes. Blood testing is the best way to determine if insulin resistance is a concern for you.

      I have read no evidence the eating a low-glycemic index diet is harmful for anyone. Diet and lifestyle changes (regular, moderate exercise) are key and herbs, nutritional supplements and natural therapies are known to work to at supporting the body in re-learning balance by promoting healthy hormonal balance including ovulation, a healthy uterine lining, improved estrogen metabolism, reduced cravings for sweets and improved digestion. All of which is discussed in this article.

  5. Hi, good day! I have PCOS and I have now started a Herballife diet to help with weight loss. I have some concerns about the percentage of soy in the products and would like to know if it will affect my PCOS negatively. I have since changed my bad eating habits and although weightloss is my present goal, my long-term goal is to become pregnant. Can you help with my concerns please.

  6. Hi ,

    I’m unsure as to why you say not to fast and to eat 5 meals a day, as this a contradiction to help manage insulin resistance my understanding and reading

    Seeing as every time you eat insulin is secreted to store the nutrients and research on intermittent fasting is showing improved BG control which is a result from reduced secretion of insulin from consuming less frequently .

    Would love to hear your feedback on this as I’m sure you’ve help more individuals with PCOS than I have .



    • Hello Matt!

      Thank you for your patience in this reply! I have consulted my herbalist colleagues and we collectively hope to help clarify why we make this suggestion.

      It is for those women with insulin-resistant PCOS that rather than fast, it is key to eat 5 small meals throughout the day that contain a balanced proportion of protein to carbohydrates and good fat.

      Fertility Herbalist Anna-Marija Helt shares, “… Of course blood sugar and insulin go up every time we eat. The key is how large those peaks are. Eating multiple small meals per day with a few hours of no snacking in between produces smaller peaks of blood sugar and, consequently, less insulin, while fasting then eating a larger meal produces first a plummeting of blood sugar levels, then a large spike in blood sugar and insulin. This tends to promote excessive insulin, which then inhibits fat metabolism, causes systemic inflammation and other problems.”

      Research shows that consuming meals that contain little to no protein – but are high in processed carbohydrates, sugar, and/or white grains (white flour, processed wheat flour, white rice, etc.) , all of which have a high glycemic index – can promote inflammation, hormone imbalance and blood sugar imbalances.

      “Keep in mind that eating multiple, discreet small meals does not mean consuming junky ‘snack’ foods and constant grazing all day long. It means eating complete meals [complex carbs (mostly veggies), protein and good fat] of smaller size, separated by several hours with no eating in between. Again, the idea is to not constantly graze, which keeps both blood sugar and insulin elevated. I think folks tend to get confused around this,” says Helt.

  7. I was diagnosed with PCOS at 17, put on birth control and went on my way. At age 22, I conceived my daughter while on birth control pills. After having her, I had an IUD. I had my IUD removed in October of 2013, went on birth control and quit it on February 14, 2014. I then went 11 months without a period. I started Vitex 2 months ago and had my first period in 8 months, 3 weeks ago. I started spotting 4 dpo which has continued, currently 9dpo. I am considering starting a natural progesterone cream, as I have an oestrogen spot ,which I have read can be a sign of estrogen dominance. Would it be smart to start Maca as well? What would you recommend?

    I should add, I am currently trying to conceive, and have been since coming off of birth control in February 2014, but as you know, it’s hard to conceive with inconsistent cycles!

    • Dear Amanda,

      Fertilica Maca can be taken with Vitex and progesterone cream. We feel Maca is can be complementary to Vitex. We also feel that is it best to determine through testing there is in fact a need to boost progesterone levels prior to starting progesterone cream.

      Many healthcare providers of all paradigms know that dietary changes are foundational and have seen women very successfully support themselves by simply eating a whole food PCOS diet. This article explains this well.

      It is important to know too that some women may experience mid-cycle spotting when first introducing herbs that have an action on the hormonal system which Vitex is known to have. There can be other causes as well, click the link just above to learn more.

      I hope this is helpful!

  8. I am 42 years old and have just a week ago been diagnosed with PCOS. I have had irregular periods all of my life and still desire to have children. I was given Metformin. I have facial hair and am overweight. During my 20s, I first heard of PCOS because of my facial hair and irregular periods, but was given Clomid. Please tell me where to start.

    • Dear Maryam,

      Thank you for reaching out to us! It can be so overwhelming to know where to start… we understand that. It may be most helpful to please consider working one on one with our fertility herbalist who can lay out an entire natural fertility program for you based on your specific fertility health needs. This if offered through a Fertility Consultation.

      As you contemplate a consultation, I can share that fertility cleansing is a foundational step, a starting point. We feel this is so for anyone dealing with a fertility health issue. Cleansing no only helps the liver detoxify, but support healthy liver and uterine function, as well as starts the body on its course to hormonal balance.

      Then, after cleansing consider revisiting the steps for dietary changes you have read in this article, as well as the herbs discussed like the harmonizing herbal blend supportive of hormonal balance. Learn more about and Click here to see biphasic herbal formulas designed to support a healthy menstrual cycle…

      I hope this is all helpful!

  9. Hi
    I am 34 years old and I was diagnosed with PCOS 6 mouths ago. Because I am trying for pregnancy, I am taking Clomid, but I have very bad pain in my ovaries since I started using this. The pain is during the period time and during ovulation time. I want to stop taking it and want to try natural way and maybe Acupuncture. I have rheumatoid arthritis (I am taking 200mg Plaquenil every day) and my TSH (Thyroid) level is high (taking Tyroxin everyday).

    What natural diet do you recommend?

    I am also taking vitamins D and C, calcium, Krill Oil and a B Complex everyday.
    Thank you so much, it is very appreciated.

  10. Hello,
    I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2013 and put on birth control. After a year of taking it I decided to stop. It was giving me a yeast infection every single month, exactly a week before my period. I have never had regular periods my whole life, I am 21 years old now. I want to solve my PCOS as naturally as possible, but I don’t know where to begin. My period used to come 3-4 times a year but now it doesn’t come at all. My hair is thinning, my acne is bad, I have anxiety, fatigue, and am overweight. I want to diet and exercise. What supplements do you recommend? I am not trying to conceive right now, but would like to have a regular cycle. Thank you so much, I hope to hear from you!

  11. I am 26 yrs old and was diagnosed with PCOS after 1 1/2 years of not getting my period at all. I tried stopping my birth control but my dr suggested I go back on to help get a regular period. I had my period for two months very light and then nothing. In the last 6 months, I have gained about 30 lbs because of extreme food cravings. I again stopped my BC because I rather approach this in a natural way. This experience has effected me physically but more importantly, mentally and emotionally. It has been very hard to stay positive with extreme weight gain, flux in hormones and feeling sluggish all the time. What do you suggest be my first plan of action? Is my diet the most important thing?

  12. Hi. I’m 29 and went off birth control 7 months ago. I had my period after a month and then nothing for six months. Finally had my period again two weeks ago. I went to my doctor and blood work indicates PCOS, although I’m a normal weight and healthy. I am also going to gynecologist in a week to test.

    My question is how do I prepare for the meeting with my gyno – and what questions do I ask? I’ve been using your great site and taking Vitex, Maca, bee pollen/propolis and vitamins for several months and read that I shouldn’t combine them with medication. So, how can I be prepared if the doctor prescribes medicine – ex. Clomid. I’m anxious to get my normal cycle back and get pregnant, but also wish to be gentle with my body.

    • Dear Christina,

      Great questions!

      There are many faces to PCOS. Understanding the presentations of PCOS and having your healthcare provider help you know which one is the culprit for you will be most helpful in continuing the best natural fertility program for your needs. Talk about insulin levels, testosterone levels, and whether ovulation happens spontaneously or not. Here is a list of tests commonly run to diagnose PCOS…

      Be sure to share all that you are taking with your gynecologist and why. If you feel strongly about continuing with these herbs and natural supplements, share this too. Ask that if he/she feels it best to try a medication too, that they support you in combining them all. This may be possible, but it is best to be guided in doing this.

      I hope this is helpful!

  13. Hello Elizabeth,
    Over a year I am learning to know more about the causes of PCOS & cyst, symptoms, nutrition, treatment, diet and exercise, My elder sister had a cyst 3 years ago, and I have seen how much can affect a disease without proper guideline and treatment. Her cyst was 6cm. She didn’t follow the proper food diet, especially didn’t give up eating smoked foods, caffeine, coffee, tea and chocolate. Though she is completely healed, but I believe treatment procedure was too long. I have found lots of useful info in your article, especially about diet & vitamins, but I have a question to know- Are soy sauce, genetically modified nuts & vinegar harmful & help to form a cyst? Thank you

    • Dear Nikita,

      I am thankful we have been able to help as your continue to educate yourself.

      We suggest again soy in most forms and all products that are GMO. Learn more about each and why we suggest against them in the article Top 5 Anti-Nutrients That Affect Fertility. It is best to choose Non-GMO soy and may be okay to consume only whole soy beans (edamame) sparingly. An alternative soy sauce is tamari, to soy nuts would be other nuts (almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and any seeds) and to soy vinegar, raw apple cider vinegar (which offers probiotics).

      I hope this is helpful!

  14. This is really a very helpful article. I am suffering with this problem for long time and trying to conceive a baby, but it’s not so easy for me, I think. After a lot searching I have gotten such a nice big briefing about Polycystic Ovarian syndrome and Fertility. It was totally unknown for me that it can be blanched by diet. Really its a new hope for me. I will go to a nutritionist and will discuss my problem. Thanks again for the post and pray for me.

  15. I am 60 years old and I believe I have PCOS. After looking back at my menstrual cycle history and all the other symptoms I’ve experienced, I am almost certain I have PCOS. I recently saw a new internist who suggested the same suspicions I have. At age 47 I underwent a total hysterectomy and oopharectomy. After reading the article above, and comparing my endocrine history, I am almost certain this is the case. I’ve suffered my entire life with “women issues”, and I am still suffering. I don’t know whether there is any help for me since I am 60 but welcome any assistance in directing me to a specific specialist who would work with me to confirm to negate my suspicions. Thank you.

    • Dear Carmen,

      Thank you for trusting us with part of your story and for reaching out to us. We work with women in their reproductive years, so consider reaching out to Dr. Aviva Romm, or Dr. Tori Hudson to ask either if they have experience with situations like yours, or know of a specialist you can work with. Both are highly respected practitioners in their fields and very well connected.

      All my best!

  16. Hello Elizabeth,

    I am 53 and I have been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries syndrome in my early thirties. In fact I had thinning of the hair beginning as early as12 and hirsutism starting at the age of 16/17. My weight has been fluctuating all my life, with sizes ranging from 8 to 14. My ovaries can be painful, especially the left one which “in Douglas”, that is it has prolapsed. I feel bloated, uncomfortable and I have been putting on weight since I started being premenopausal. I really want to improve the quality of my life, reverse the balding process, limit hairs growth and prevent worse diseases. Could you give me some suggestions, especially to do with nutrition, please? Thank you!

    • Dear Jane,

      I am sorry you have been challenged by these issues! We primarily work with with ages 18 to the late 40s who have not yet begun the transition to menopause. So, while the diet tips suggested here could be considered and many in the article PCOS Fertility Diet Tip – Simple Food Choices to Stabilize Blood Sugar may help as well, we feel it best to seek hormonal balance support from a natural healthcare provider near you, someone with whom you can work one on one with.

      All my best to you!

  17. Hi, I am 13 and a half .My two latest blood tests that I have done show theses results: the first one which has done five days before starting my period FSH 1.3. The second blood test done 20 days after my period (and 15 days later started my period) show the oestradiol level 79 pmol , prolactin 113 mIU and SHBG 20 nmo. All these considered as low by lab. I have uneven breast size with great difference in size. Having excessive facial and body hair growth,over weight, craving for sugary foods and snacks, hair loss, fatigue and feeling restlessness, mood swing, low self confidence, most of the day with anxiety.

    Please help me if there is anything I can do at least to correct my physical development as it affected me psychologically.Please tell me what food or vitamins/mineral I can take to improve my hormonal imbalance. Thank you

    • Dear Farnoush,

      I am sorry for what you are experiencing at such a young age!

      The diet suggested in this article may prove to be helpful in managing some of what you are going through. This being said, we recommend being you are so young and still developing in many ways including hormonally, that if interested in herbs and natural therapies you work with a natural health care practitioner in conjunction with your medical doctor to create the best natural program for your needs.

      We cannot suggest our products because there are too many changes taking place in the developing teen body. The article Herbs for Teen Reproductive Health: Steps for Healthy Choices may be helpful too as you seek the help of your care team.

      All my best to you!

  18. Hi! I am 16 and was diagnosed having PCO at the age of 15. I have got normal levels of progesterone and prolactin levels. My menstural cycle began at the age of 11. My doc. prescribed me OCP, but as soon as my course got over, the cycle stopped. Since then I started having menstrual cycles once in 3 months. Sometimes I miss that too. Please help in this regard.

    • Dear Renu,

      We suggest that anyone under the age of 18 interested in using natural therapies consult a natural healthcare practitioner along with your primary healthcare provider. As a teen, you are still developing in many ways, including hormonally. We cannot suggest our products because there are too many changes taking place in the developing teen body.

      The article Herbs for Teen Reproductive Health: Steps for Healthy Choices offers some additional insight.

      Take care!

  19. Hi,
    In Oct. 2013 I had my son and in Jan. 2014 I was diagnoised with PCOS. It wasn’t until after my son that I started not having a period every month. All my levels were normal. The only reason I was diagnosed with it is because of cyst on ovaries that I’ve had since 13. I have been on Metformin since then b/c we are wanting another baby. We still are not pregnant and can not figure out why we had no problem until after our first was born. Please help.

    • Dear Jessica,

      This may be a question best asked of your healthcare provider. Each healthcare provider may use a slightly different protocol for diagnosing this fertility health condition and have differing reasons as to why now, not back then.

      The hormones can shift after pregnancy. Could this have played a role? Maybe. There are also a variety of presentations of PCOS. Learn then in the article The Many Faces of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

      I am sorry I can not be more specific for you. If you are still unsure of where to begin, or how to proceed, please consider working one on one with our fertility herbalist who can lay out an entire natural fertility program for you based on your specific fertility health needs. This if offered through a Fertility Consultation.

      Take care!

  20. Hi!
    I am married and 26yrs old. Three months ago I was diagnosed with enlarged polycystic ovaries and my doctor didn’t suggest to me any treatment as my weight is 60kg. Recently I diagnosed as slightly hyperthyroid also. I am taking medicines for that. Can you share with me if there is any correlation between these two problems? And will it be alright to not take any treatment of PCOS? Can I have kids in future?

    • Dear Aki,

      PCOS is a complex endocrine disorder that impacts the endocrine glands – the pituitary, adrenals, ovaries, testes, thyroid and pancreas.
      Thyroid health and function is important for proper thyroid hormone production and ovulation. Low levels of thyroid hormone can cause women to stop ovulating leading to infertility. Classic polycystic ovaries are a result of chronic anovulation, or lack of ovulation. These two fertility health issues are intertwined.

      Only you can determine the best course of action for supporting your body in achieving hormonal balance, whether this is medical treatment or a natural fertility program. Consider reviewing this article and the list of Health and Fertility Risks Associated with PCOS. While natural conception can not be ruled out, it may be harder to achieve without supporting the body naturally.

      Best wishes!

  21. Hello! I got off birth control Oct 14 & I never got my period. I finally went to my doctor (6 months later), got a vaginal ultrasound, & was diagnosed with PCOS April 15. I definitely have the “string of pearls”. My gynocologist suggested that I go back on birth control to have a period again because I’m currently not trying to get pregnant. My dream in life though is to have children. Finding this out was very devastating. Now I am back on birth control and have had my period. I’m at a healthy weight, exercise regularly and eat healthy. Can you tell me what herbs, vitamins, foods, etc., I should be taking since I’m still on birth control (Nuvaring). I want my body to be prepared for when I do try to get pregnant.

    • Dear Jennifer,

      We are more than happy to create a natural fertility program for you based on your specific needs. We offer this through a Fertility Consultation. Click that link to learn more about this invaluable experience with our Fertility Herbalist.

      As you decide, here is a PCOS Fertility Diet Tip – choose Simple Food Choices to Stabilize Blood Sugar.

      All my best!

  22. Hi! I am sure I have had PCOS since I started my cycle at 12. My period has never been regular. My Dr’s told my mom not to worry & to let me grow and mature at 16. At 25 my diagnosis was PCOS. I have since then been put on Yaz, which makes it almost 10 years. I am 27 now. I read a lot of articles about Yaz & the serious side effects that it may cause. Qhen I get off Yaz, everything goes crazy – cne, weight gain, crazy emotions, etc. I am at good weight, fit & work out, eat healthy & have omitted bad dietary habits. Still with these changes and on Yaz, I have not had a period in over 4 months this year alone. I worry about being able to have kids. What should I try naturally, off Yaz? Help!

    • Dear Khuthi,

      Thank you for reaching out to us!

      The suggestions in this article could be considered, but to be honest, it may be most helpful to be guided one on one as you transition from birth control to a natural fertility program given what you have shared. We offer this guidance through a Fertility Consultation. Once you book the consultation, there will be a form for you to fill out that will give our fertility herbalists a clear holistic perspective of your situation to analyze and assess properly, and to help her see what it will take to properly bring your body back into balance. It is helpful for her to know your lifestyle, health history, fertility challenges and detailed questions. Learn more about a Fertility Consultation here...

  23. Hi! I am 26 and was diagnosed with PCOS at age of about 21. I have been married for four years and these four years I have been trying to conceive. I had irregular period. I started a diet and exercised, I lost weight and after that I had period every 35 days. I had laparoscopy operation at 22/01/2015 and my period get irregular again. What should I do can you help me please? Thank you!

  24. I am 34 and was diagnosed with PCOS at age 27. I gained and lost weight over the years and now I am trying to conceive. I have a regular period every month and have all of the symptoms of ovulation, but just don’t know if it is ovulation. What are some suggestions?

  25. This an amazing list of suggestions and supplements! Thank you so much!

    I’ve been working on treating my own PCOS naturally and I’m now completely healed. I take most of the supplements and herbs you recommended, like royal jelly, and other supplements as well that I found to be extremely helpful, such as iodine, magnesium oil, and zinc.

    The thing however that has been the most helpful to me was doing a heavy metal detox, it was what really changed things for me and turned my health around.

    • I am currently spinning my wheels with where to go next in my struggles with PCOS. Would you be willing to share how you did the heavy metal detox? I’ve found so many things in my search that it can be quite confusing.

    • Dear Jennifer,

      Thank you for reaching out to Lisa, but I am sorry she may not see this reply as she is not emailed directly.

      It is for those like you – still unsure of where to begin, or how to proceed and support the body naturally – that we have fertility herbalist who will work one on one with you (to evaluate all you’ve done and are doing to support the body) and help lay out an entire natural fertility program for you based on your specific fertility health needs. This if offered through a Fertility Consultation.

      I hope you will consider this invaluable experience.

  26. Hi ! I’m 22 and was diagnosed to have pcos when i was 18. My previous doctor prescribed me with metformin and i got back my menstrual cycle but stop taking it about a year because i no longer consult the same doctor when i moved to a new place. Recently, I met another doctor and she prescribed me with contraceptive pills to help regulate my menses. Can I heal myself naturally with all the tips above while taking the pills at the same time ? Thank u

    • Dear Nur,

      How great that you are being proactive and learning how to best support the body in relearning balance. While dietary and lifestyle changes are known to be critical when promoting healthy hormonal balance, a healthy uterine lining, regular ovulation, improved estrogen metabolism, reduced cravings for sweets and improved digestion. These tips can be followed. We can not however suggest combining hormonal birth control with herbs that are also known to have an action on hormones as well. Combining them may be confusing to the body and effect how one or the other is working.

      All my best!

  27. Hi there! I’m 24 years old and was diagnosed with PCOS when I was about 17. I have been trying to conceive for about 3 years, I tried Metformin and Clomiphene, neither of which worked. So I have decided to try the natural approach and am changing my diet / exercise habits and am feeling really hopeful about this working for me!
    What I’m wondering is if you would have any more food suggestions for things to avoid, and food to eat more of. I’m just a bit unsure on things like Potatoes / Sweet Potatoes, Dairy etc.. Also wondering if you have any reliable sources for a list of foods with a low G.I.. I have found the ones online to vary a lot! Thanks very much :)

  28. Hi there! I’m 30 years old and we have been TTC for over 8 months. I have PCOS but all my hormonal test came back good. I’m 5’2″ and I weight 98 lbs so there’s no way that I can go on a diet. My diet is pretty normal, some days I ate pretty healthy and others I’m in a hurry and I get Mcdonalds or something like that. I tried to take Maca powder but it made feel sick all the time with nauseas and my hair was falling out pretty bad. I already started my first dose of Clomid but it seems it didn’t do anything for me cause my progesterone levels were just 0.6… Do you have any suggestions?

    • Hello Elizabeth!

      We are not suggesting going on “a diet” to lose weight, rather following a specific diet – eating specific foods – to support hormone balance, healthy insulin levels, maintaining a healthy weight and energy levels.

      At 5’2″ and 98lbs, your BMI is toward the low end of the healthy BMI standards. While not a bad problem to have, being underweight can lead to infertility issues. It may help to learn more about this topic.

      One herb known to support healthy progesterone levels is Fertilica Vitex. It may help to learn more about this herb as well.

      One last thought is to learn if and when ovulation occurs each menstrual cycle. The Complete Fertility Charting Guide will help you to learn different ways to chart your cycle and predict ovulation.

      I hope this is all helpful as you move forward in naturally supporting your fertility health.

  29. I am 35 and have been trying to conceive for a year. I was diagnosed with PCOS about 12 yrs ago and got treated for it. My regular checkups until last August have always been good. I had a regular cycle and was ovulating. Last August my checkup showed fibroids just about 1.2cm. I still had regular cycles and my hormones were normal. About 4 months ago my menses just ceased. My doctor put me on Metformin and has recommended surgery for the fibroids. I am currently on a diet specifically tailored by a nutritionist, though I am within my healthy weight range.

    • Dear Curlyn,

      The article The Best Natural Remedies for Uterine Fibroids… may be most helpful as you continue to improve your fertility health.

      It may also help to share the dietary tips in this article, as well as in the one just above with your nutritionist.

      All my best!

    • There’s an iodine group on Facebook called Iodine. Check it out because they say that PCOS is caused by iodine deficiency (as ovaries hold the second largest stores of the body’s iodine)and most people are low, especially because of all the bromides and fluoride in food, water, etc.

    • Hello Klaudia!

      Thank you for sharing what you have learned.

      Iodine is necessary for proper thyroid function – so it can produce thyroid hormones, and in turn ovulation. Low levels of thyroid hormone can cause women to stop ovulating leading to infertility. Consider learning more in the article Why Iodine is Essential to Preconception and Pregnancy Health.

      I have also added this as an idea to our list of future articles. Again, thanks for sharing!

  30. I was recently diagnosed with PCOS. My tests have proven that I am not ovulating, though I have a somewhat regular period (good news!). I just started a new cycle and am using Vitex and Maca daily and was planning on adding the use of Progesterone Cream beginning on day 12 as suggested. After reading about the Harmonize Program, I was very interested, but I read that you should not do that with Progesterone cream. I am wondering if I should do the Harmonize Program OR do Vitex + Maca + Cream? Can you please advise? Thanks!

    • Dear Meagan,

      I am not sure I know enough about you to best guide you, but what I can share that it really is best to determine through testing low progesterone levels before using natural progesterone cream. Harmonize Phase 1 & 2 contain a variety of herbs designed for the needs of women dealing with hormonal imbalance, disrupted ovulation, need for support for improved estrogen metabolism, reduced cravings for sweets and improved digestion (Fertilica Vitex and Maca aren’t known to address that latter needs).

      You may want to consider working one on one with our fertility herbalist through a Fertility Consultation. It is through a Fertility Consultation that your individual fertility health can be evaluated and a program specific to your needs is created. I hope you can take time to learn a bit more by clicking the above link.

    • Thank you so much for your response. I had Day 21 progesterone bloodwork done to confirm that I was not ovulating, so I do have confirmation of low levels. I have already been considering a fertility consultation, so I appreciate that recommendation.

    • Hi Meagan!

      That is good to know as you move forward. I am happy to have been helpful!

  31. I have been trying to conceive for the past 1.5 years and was only just diagnosed with PCOS in November 2014. I have gone through 3 rounds of fertility meds (Clomid/femara/Clomid) and have yet to conceive. I am taking a break to get healthier (I am scared to work out hard since I’ve heard/read that it can cause miscarriages) and am trying to change my diet, work out and explore supplements. I am within a normal weight, but can afford to lose up to 15-20 lbs without going out of my healthy weight range. I have recently been diagnosed with chronic hives and have had adult onset asthma for the past 6 years. I don’t have any other health issues. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks!

    • Dear Jocelyn,

      Signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance can be PCOS, infertility, hives and asthma. Revisit the PCOS Diet Guideline and Herbs & Supplements in this article to support the body in re-learning balance by promoting healthy hormonal balance, a healthy uterine lining, regular ovulation, improved estrogen metabolism, reduced cravings for sweets and improved digestion.

      We have learned is true that excessive, high-impact exercise may impact fertility health. Below are two article to shed light on this, as well as share exercises supportive of fertility health.

      Is Exercise Good Or Bad For Fertility?
      Exercise and Infertility: The Goldilocks Conundrum

      I hope this is helpful!

  32. Hi! I was diagnosed of PCOS in 2013. I was placed on Primolut-N for 6months along side Metformin, but this resulted to heavy bleeding during menses. So my physician had to place me on Metformin alone, but after months there was still no change and that’s when I got to read about Maca online. Took me some months before I could get it to buy. Been taking it for 2months now and it seems to be working because I don’t bleed between periods anymore. Please what’s the proper dosage (I’ve been taking the now raw maca vcaps 1 capsule twice daily) and do I have to combine it with Metformin or any other medication to treat PCOS, improve ovulation and fertility?

    • Dear Munet,

      How great that you have finally experienced results! It is best to follow the suggested use of the maker of the product purchased. General suggested use of Fertilica Maca is 1000mg-3000mg per day each day of the menstrual cycle. We can not suggest taking Fertilica Maca with Metformin or prescription medications without the guidance of a healthcare provider.

      We know with PCOS that dietary and lifestyle changes are as equally as important as taking any supplement. In fact, taking supplements without also making diet and lifestyle changes very rarely provides the lasting effects that women wish to see. Take a bit of time to review the suggestions in this article!

      All my best!

  33. I was diagnosed with PCOS in Aug 2014 when I was trying to conceive. I was put on medication by my Gynecologist – Ovacare Forte – as she said that mine is not bad PCOS. I have been on this medication for more than a month now. The first month I did not conceive. This is the second month. From day 10 of my cycle, I have little muscle cramps and occasional lower abdominal pain. I am worried that this time also I may not conceive. I am really worried. I am 26 years and married for 2 years now. I really want to get pregnant. What should I do? Please help me understand.

    • Dear Tanu,

      I am sorry this has been such a challenge!

      While Ovacare Forte was prescribed by your healthcare provider, it appears to me to be a nutritional supplement versus a medication (they are different). This being said, if your concerns are in using this product, or how your body is reacting to it, it would be best to talk to your gynecologist.

      We know that herbs, nutritional supplements and natural therapies take time to be effective. In general, we suggest sticking to a program to support your fertility health and hormone balance for a minimum of 3 months time (and for some longer) before altering it. This gives not only the herbs, nutritional supplements and natural therapies time to be effective, but the body time to respond properly.

      What you are experiencing may simply be a sign of your body responding to the supplement you are taking. Is cycle day 10 around your day of ovulation? It could also be that this cramping and lower abdominal pain is a sign of ovulation.

      The dietary and lifestyle guidance offered in the article can and should be considered. It would be worth reviewing this.