Women with true Polycystic Ovary Disease will usually produce low levels of oestrogen and excessive levels of androgens with elevated LH and low FSH level.
The excessive amount of androgens produced seems to prevent ovulation and normal
follicular development, the end result being “the formation of small cystic follicles instead of mature follicles with the capacity to ovulate” (Trickey p.265)
The characteristic signs and symptoms of PCOD are often an absence of ovulation, or scanty menstruation, obesity, acne and hirsutism (excessive hairiness). Elevated blood insulin level is also characteristic of PCOD.
Often the thyroid is underactive.
Excessive androgens are also the cause of the acne problem and in many cases excess male pattern hair growth.
The condition appears to originate in the ovary.
Diane 35, is an androgen antagonist containing cyproterone acetate and a small amount of ethinyloestrodial . It can cause side effects such as break-through bleeding, breast changes, cervical changes etc.
The natural approach to treating P.C.O.D. is aimed at reducing the excess androgens, stimulating ovulation and protecting the endometrium.
A herb such as Vitex Agnus Cactus (Chaste Tree) is capable of stimulating ovulation as well as reducing androgen excess and helping maintain a regular cycle, (a regular cycle protects the endometrium from cellular damage caused by an elevated and prolonged oestrogen level).
Paeonia Lactiflora (White Peony) and Licorice is a combination that has long been used in both Chinese and Japanese traditional herbal medicine to reduce excess androgens and Paeonia has the additional benefit of helping normalise follicular development and reduce the incidence of ovarian cysts.
Tribulus has been used in cases of PCOD, on days 5-14 of the cycle. The cycles regulate in the majority of cases. Many go on to conceive.
Chaste Tree can be used concurrently throughout the cycle.
Black Cohosh can be added to help reduce LH levels (Lutenising hormone) which will usually be elevated in cases of P.C.O.D. as it occurs in association with excess androgen production.
Good results can be obtained with combinations of the above herbs, often with other herbs added depending on each individual condition and set of symptoms. However, they do need to be taken long term and results can vary.
If obesity is a problem them Kelp may well be added to the herbal combination.
One study found that in pateints that lost weight using a low calory diet and exercise, there was a significant reduction in ovarian volume and number of microfollicles per ovary. (Crosignani PG et al. 2003)
This piece of research (off the web) may also be of interest to some:
‘As you might expect from a glance at the symptoms, PCOS is a result of there being too much testosterone (the male sex hormone) in circulation. Testosterone is not an exclusively male hormone. Women have it too, but generally circulating at about 10 percent of the male level.
Doctors have long known that women with PCOS not only have higher circulating testosterone, but they also have extremely low levels of very important protein, the charmingly named Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG).
One of SHBG’s jobs is to keep testosterone out of circulation. By binding to testosterone, SHBG controls the amount of free (and therefore active) testosterone in our bloodstream. Having low levels of SHBG seems to result in there being too much testosterone in women.
It’s also well established that people who are obese or who have insulin resistance or Type II Diabetes have extremely low levels of SHBG. In fact low SHBG is such a reliable indicator of insulin resistance that SHBG testing is being proposed as a good early indicator of the development of Type II Diabetes.
For a long time researchers have believed that insulin resistance is the cause of the low levels of SHBG. That would mean that PCOS is a consequence of being insulin resistant but 2012 study has shown that is not the case. It turns out that insulin levels do not affect the level of SHBG, but the presence of fat around the liver affects both the insulin level and the SHBG level.
One really sure way to create a fatty liver is to consume large amounts of fructose. Because fructose is (directly and immediately) converted to fat (by our liver) it’s the single most efficient way to get the job done.
The best way to prove that theory is of course to try feeding a healthy person high quantities of fructose and see if they develop fatty liver, insulin resistance and PCOS. Because volunteers for that kind of fun might be a bit thin on the ground researchers have had to resort to rats as the model. You can’t use any old garden variety rats. To be certain you need to use rats that have been bred with the human gene for the production of SHBG.
In 2007 a group of Canadian researchers tried feeding so-called transgenic rats glucose and fructose to see what happened. They found both sugars suppressed SHBG production but fructose was twice as effective (glucose 40%, fructose 80% suppression) and fructose was especially quick, causing its damage after just three days. They found the SHBG effect was caused by the accumulation of the fats created as a result of processing the fructose.
Joining some dots here it does not seem like a big leap to say that insulin resistance, Type II Diabetes, fatty liver disease and PCOS are all part of the same bunch of joy you can expect from consuming fructose.
Fructose directly increases the amount of circulating testosterone in women. More testosterone directly impairs a woman’s ability to conceive. The single most effective way for a woman to increase her chances of having a baby is for her to stop eating fructose.
When fructose is removed, hormone levels return to normal, PCOS symptoms disappear and fertility is restored’.