Yoga, Diet, and Hydrotherapy for PCOS
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine and reproductive disorder frequently identified by the hormonal changes, irregular menstrual cycles, and infertility that can often result from it.
In addition to medication and assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) it is important to investigate what other natural approaches can be used to help improve the changes that PCOS causes.
How to Naturally Treat PCOS?
A new scientific study published in India evaluated how practicing specific Yoga postures and techniques, changes in dietary habits, and hydrotherapy can help Women dealing with PCOS.
They found that by undergoing the natural treatments (Yoga, Dietary changes, and Hydrotherapy) for 12 weeks at home the Women demonstrated a significant reduction in the amount of cysts and size of the ovaries (as they tend to become enlarged in PCOS).
What Natural Treatments Help with PCOS?
The Women in the study practiced Yoga for 6 days (20 minutes per day) a week, for a total of 12 weeks (except for during menses). More specifically, they practiced a combination of Asanas (holding postures), Pranayamas (breathing exercises), Relaxation exercises, and Kriyas (combinations of movements while holding specific postures).
The Researchers believe that Yoga may have been helpful as it has been shown to help balance the hormones secreted from the brain (particularly the Pituitary gland). It helps to de-stress and may be helpful in decreasing the amount of Luteinizing Hormone and Testosterone produced in the body (both of these hormones are over-secreted in PCOS).
2. Diet Therapy
The Women who showed an improvement from the study consumed a very specific diet for 12 weeks (6 days a week), excluding the days of menstruation.
Specifically, there was an elimination of processed and refined sugars/carbohydrates. Instead, the consumption of lots of veggies and fruits was emphasized, along with an increase in the amount of dietary protein. The diets were plant based (vegetarian). The carbohydrates consumed had low glycemic indexes and low glycemic loads.
The dietary changes mentioned above are thought to help reduce the hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS by increasing the amount of antioxidants in the body, reducing the amount of insulin secreted in the body (as a result of reduced spikes in blood sugar).
A couple of the techniques used were:
-Cold Sitz Bath: a prolonged sitz bath (10-15 mins) may be helpful in causing a contraction of the superficial branches of the internal iliac blood vessels pushes the blood to the pelvic organs. The improvement in rich blood-flow to the pelvic organs is hypothesized to improve the nutritive processes in the ovaries and uterus.
-Hot Foot Bath: a hot application to the feet for about 10 mins can help to vasodilate blood vessels of the pelvic cavity, improving blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. It is hypothesized that the regular practice of hot foot baths may help restore menstruation for Women who have absent periods due to PCOS.
The material presented in this fertility blog post is for educational purposes and not a replacement for medical advice. If you are experiencing infertility or other health concerns please consult with your Naturopathic Doctor prior to starting any treatments.