Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is usually thought to be a lifetime female hormonal imbalance where maturing eggs fail to be expelled from the ovary, creating an ovary filled with immature follicles (somewhat misleadingly called cysts). These cysts then contribute to the hormonal imbalance that causes more cysts.
In PCOS, inappropriate levels of both female and male hormones probably cause oligomenorrhea (infrequent menstruation). All women produce male hormones in small quantities, but in women with PCOS, levels of male hormone are slightly higher than in other women. PCOS affects approximately 5-7% of women specially in the young reproductive period (second and third decade of life). Approximately 40% of these patients have insulin resistance that is independent of body weight. These women are at increased risk for adult-onset diabetes mellitus and consequent cardiovascular complications compared to healthy women.
When I graduated from the homeopathic medical college in Mumbai, nobody had heard of the Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome because at that time it did not even exist in textbooks. There was a short description of the Stein Leventhal syndrome (which was first described in 1935) in the books of gynecology as a symptom-complex associated with raised LH (Leutinizing Hormone) levels and oligomenorrhea, absence of ovulation, hirsutism (excessive hair growth, especially on the face and other parts), infertility and recurrent miscarriage.
However, it was not until 1990 that the key features necessary for the diagnosis of PCOS were detailed at a conference convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
I have been actively involved with homeopathy and women’s health since 1986. I was a Professor and Head of the Deptartment of OB-GYN at a Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital in Mumbai till I migrated to the United States in 2011. Over the past 15 years, I have seen a sudden rise in the number of people with complaints of oligomenorrhea, irregular menses, meno-metrorrhagia, polymenorrhea (frequent menstruation), primary infertility or secondary infertility due to repeated abortions. Further examination and investigations of many of these cases have confirmed the clinical diagnosis of PCOS.
As I started treating more and more cases of PCOS, it became apparent that the life situation of many of the people showed a traumatic (stressful) condition during puberty or at adolescence.
If your doctor suspects PCOS, a battery of investigations will be ordered for you. The goal is to assess the severity and source of androgen excess and to rule out an adrenal or ovarian tumor. Some of the common tests are FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), LH (Luteinizing Hormone)- the ratio of 3:1 of LH:FSH is diagnostic, Serum testosterone, DHEA and DHEAS (Dehydroepiandrosterone). A pelvic ultrasound is also usually needed. It may show 10 or more follicles, 2-10 mm in size per ovary.
I have found homeopathy to be very useful in the management of PCOS. Homeopathy is a holistic system of medicine that assists the natural tendency of the human body to heal itself.
Homeopaths do not treat physical, emotional and mental illnesses separately, but regard them as intimately connected. These are all aspects of the whole person’s suffering. So you may be asked questions about all sorts of apparently minor deviations from health and about character and personality traits. It may appear that the homeopath is interested in matters that have little to do with the particular complaint about which the person is most concerned. This is because, before prescribing, the homeopath wants a complete overview of the person. A remedy is then prescribed for that individual and not for his or her disease. However, the homeopath also looks at the investigations to complete the picture.
This holistic approach is also called constitutional homeopathic treatment and has led to many success stories in PCOS and unexplained infertility.
Apart from homeopathic constitutional treatment, I ask the client to exercise regularly. Regular exercise helps control insulin levels. What is required is just a 30 minute walk, 3-4 times a week. Aerobics, weight training and swimming are also encouraged.Certain life style modifications are also necessary to control PCOS. A proper diet, reducing alcohol and quitting tobacco smoking are very important.
Early diagnosis of PCOS makes managing the disease easier. The response to homeopathy is seen in the regularization of menstrual cycles. Regularization of cycles may mean more ovulatory cycles. These women thus have a higher chance of conceiving naturally.
Women who are thin, younger, with less hirsutism and who do not have very high levels of testosterone respond better to homeopathic treatment. Hence homeopathic treatment along with modification of diet and lifestyle patterns can have benefits in terms of regularization of menstruation, fertility promotion naturally (or by assisted reproduction with better results), risk of type-2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia are ameliorated and musculoskeletal and metabolic side effects are reduced.
Daxa Vaishnav has been practicing homeopathy for over 29 years. She has several offices in the Bay Area. She is a Faculty and Academic Affairs Consultant at the American Medical College of Homeopathy in Phoenix, Arizona. She blogs at http://homeopathicure.wordpress.com.