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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) shouldn’t be confused with polycystic ovaries. Polycystic ovaries are enlarged ovaries covered with not completely developed follicles that can be recognized via ultrasound as clumps attached to ovary. Normally, eggs mature inside follicles and are delivered to fallopian tubes. This process is known as ovulation. In polycystic ovaries ovulation can fail (anovulation) due to incomplete follicles development. This is not a serious condition but it may lead to various different symptoms in which lies the main difference between polycystic ovaries and PCOS.

PCOS is always accompanied by polycystic ovaries whilst polycystic ovaries don’t necessarily include PCOS.

Common symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome are: irregular menstrual periods, facial hair (hirsutism), acne, and mood changes. Due to chronic anovulation, infertility may occur. Suffering from PCOS makes women more susceptible to diabetes.

To limit PCOS symptoms, women should firstly lose their weight with proper diet. This would normalize hormone balance where testosterone level reduces and insulin serum level increases. Excess hair growth will stop and ovarian functioning returns to normal. One study showed that after weight loss ovulation returned in 82 percent of women and they managed to conceive after years of infertility.

Miscarriage is another symptom of PCOS that occurs due to increased level of luteinising hormone (LH) in first half of menstrual cycle. After weight reduction, miscarriage rate falls from 75 percent to 18 percent.

Herbs for PCOSApart from weight loss, women need to use certain herbs to relieve the symptoms based on hormone imbalance. Also, herbs are useful for liver functioning which is metabolizing hormones. The beneficial herbs are:

Agnus castus (Vitex/chastetree berry) – helps stimulation and regulates pituitary function that is responsible for regulation of luteinising hormone (LH) release. The berries have tonic properties for reproductive system. It also alleviates PMS symptoms. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) – palm tree that originates in North America which berries are used for treatment of hormonal changes. It acts as anti-androgen therefore it is beneficial for testosterone level reduction. It is recommended for excess hair growth treatment. Traditionally, it was used for infertility treatment and painful menstrual periods. Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) – excellent herb for relieving liver problems since it shields liver cells while cures the damaged ones. Milk thistle is used for treatment of various liver conditions because it induces toxins disposal and improves general liver function. Vital in PCOS treatment.These herbs shouldn’t be taken in combination with other medications for hormonal and fertility treatment before acquiring professional advice.

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