Women can often feel like their only option to helping balance their hormones is through the Birth Control Pill. Know that it is not! Naturopathic medicine has so many ways to support a woman to bring her body back to balance. I have recently enjoyed a book on such a topic written by Lara Briden, a naturopathic doctor based in Syndey Australia. Her book Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones and Better Periods is a smart, straight talking, trouble shooting guide for all kinds of health issues women have with their periods. Her naturopathic recommendations are all options for women to support their body without having to use pharmaceuticals (i.e. birth control pill) ranging from PMS to PCOS.
One of my favourite parts of her book is her visual flow chart and examination of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It is a very useful one for the readers as it breaks down PCOS into 4 types of PCOS:
- Type 1 PCOS is Insulin Resistant PCOS – this is the classic type of PCOS as it is the most common. Here women will have high insulin and leptin (a master hormone that is secreted by fat tissue that controls the body’s hunger and satiety) which impede ovulation and stimulate the ovaries to make more testosterone. Insulin resistance is caused by: sugar, obesity, smoking, trans fats and environmental toxins. This type of PCOS may have elevated LH (luteinizing hormone). Treatment ideas are not the pill as it impairs insulin sensitivity. Instead naturopathic support here would be magnesium, lipoic acid, inositol and berberine. Diet wise intermittent fasting and quit sugars.
- Type 2 PCOS is Birth Control Pill Induced PCOS – this is the second most common type of PCOS and here the woman will have had regular periods before starting the pill and possibly acne and then now has elevated LH and high normal prolactin.
- Inflammatory PCOS – here bloodwork that would support this type of PCOS is biomarkers such as vitamin D deficieny, elevated CRP, thyroid antibodies or gluten antibodies. This type of PCOS must eliminate all inflammatory foods such as wheat (or all gluten grains) dairy and sugar. Supplements here would be zinc and berberine. Improvement is slow and gradual.
- Hidden Cause PCOS – This scenario there is one simple thing that is blocking the woman from having ovulation on a regular basis. It can be either Zinc deficieny, too much soy in their diet, or thyroid imbalance, too little starch (Paleo or Atkins diet) because your hormonal system does need gentle carbs or artificial sweeteners because they mess with leptin signaling.
These four types can sometimes have overlaps. But her message and mine are no matter which type of PCOS, if you have been given this diagnosis let go of your PCOS diagnosis because in most cases it is not a permanent condition.