By Cristina Mestre Ferrer BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 12/22/2014

The polycystic ovary takes place when the follicles are unable to expel the egg from their interior, which means that, in the ultrasound image of the ovaries, several cysts can be seen.

It’s considered a polycystic ovary when there are several big follicles of at least 10mm. Sometimes, it’s due to the fact that a smaller follicle hasn’t kept on developing. This can happen to every women. For the consideration of polycystic ovary, at least eight big follicles unable to expel the oocyte are required.

Remedies for polycystic ovaries

In the case of the polycystic ovary syndrome, the fact of not expelling the eggs comes with hormonal alterations: women with PCOS have high levels of androgens, which alter the ovarian cycles, making ovulation difficult or preventing it. Androgens are colloquially named male sex hormones, and even though they are typical of men, since they provide them with the secondary male sexual characteristics, women also have androgenic hormones and, in the case of women with PCOS, their amount is higher than in other women. If a woman with PCOS wishes to have children, she will have to consult the doctor to check her hormonal levels and be provided medication to ovulate.

But we must do everything in our hands. Healthy habits are vital for the proper functioning of the hypothalamus-pituitary gland axis in charge of coordinating the ovarian cycle of women, by regulating the hormones that are produced in the pituitary gland. A balanced diet and weight loss might achieve that a woman with PCOS is able to ovulate normally. All women are different, which means that, for each and every one, some remedies can be more effective than others.

Plants that help in PCOS

There are several aromatic herbs and plants that are beneficial during the ovarian cycle. For example, the vitex agnus-castus, colloquially named vitex or Chaste tree is a species typical from the Mediterranean area used to stabilize the menstrual cycle and commonly used in alternative medicine.

Remedies PCOS

Another suggestion is the cimicifuga racemosa, a natural remedy for the menstrual problems traditionally used for women with menopause. However, it can help women with PCOS reduce their levels of LH. Usually in PCOS there’s a high level of luteinizing hormone: it’s in these cases when cimicifuga is most indicated.

Another one would be serenoa, also known as saw palmetto. This plant has been used by the Native Americans for centuries, to cure disorders related to the reproductive and urinary tract, in men and women. As it has been stated, these women present high levels of androgenic hormones and serenoa helps reduce them.

These natural remedies can be taken as an infusion or as vitamin supplements, but a healthy diet must also be followed. Recent studies have proved that the hormonal levels of women with PCOS can improve by adapting their dietary habits, avoiding a diet rich in calories and consuming the most caloric food in the morning.

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Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information
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