Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

If you’ve been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) you might be feeling overwhelmed with your symptoms and underwhelmed with your medical treatment options.

1 in 10 Australian women have PCOS, and nearly 90% of those women are unsatisfied with the Oral Contraceptive Pill as their only form of treatment.

However, naturopathic and nutritional medicine approaches have been used to great effect in helping many women come back into their body’s natural menstrual cycle. Reducing their symptoms, supporting fertility and helping them to live happy, healthy lives again.


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is an endocrine condition affecting 1 in every 10 women.

Women with PCOS have an imbalance in reproductive hormones.  This imbalance has an effect on menstrual cycle regularity, ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary) and fertility. It may also cause symptoms such as weight fluctuations, acne, hair loss and/or growth, among others.

Some of the symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregular menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS may miss periods or have fewer periods (fewer than eight in a year). Or, their periods may come every 21 days or more often. Some women with PCOS stop having menstrual periods.
  • Increasing hair growth on face, chin, chest and back. This is called “hirsutism.” Hirsutism affects up to 70% of women with PCOS.
  • Acne on the face, chest, and upper back
  • Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp
  • Blood sugar dysregulation
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Darkening of skin, particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts
  • Skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
  • Fatigue, low energy or energy crashes throughout the day




Typically the process of diagnosis can be a lengthy one. PCOS is a syndrome, which means there are multiple disruptions around the body. A visit to the GP is a good place to start, but treatment shouldn’t end in the GP’s office, especially without proper investigations.

Generally for a diagnosis you will need at least a blood test and an ultrasound.

The ultrasound will let your care-team know if your ovaries are polycystic. “Polycystic” refers to the fact that each ovary will have multiple (Poly) small follicles (Cysts). Visible on ultrasound and generally greater than 12 per ovary, or alternatively an increased ovarian volume.

The blood test will check for multiple things. Initially, a general blood test is a good idea to rule out any other causes for your symptoms. To check for the likelihood of PCOS, blood glucose, testosterone and DHEA levels should be checked. For most women with PCOS, high testosterone is the usual hormone abnormality and driver of many of the symptoms.

Diagnosis is also based on the presence of symptoms but does not necessarily need to include all the above symptoms, some women with PCOS can also have a regular menstrual cycle.

To find out more about the different types of PCOS check out our blog article Which type of PCOS do you have?

PCOS, The pill and other treatments your gp or specialist may prescribe


Once diagnosed, many women find themselves limited by the treatment options provided by their GP or specialist. Generally the options are:

  • The oral contraceptive pill / OCP- Given to help ‘regulate’ a period, however your cycle will be anovulatory (without ovulation) and your period is actually a ‘withdrawal bleed’.
  • Insulin sensitisers such as Metformin prescribed to assist in blood sugar regulation.
  • Anti-oestrogen and aromatase inhibitors medications such as clomiphenen (Clomid) used to induce ovulation in women trying to conceive or as a way to ‘reset’ a menstrual cycle.
  • Referral to fertility specialist if trying to conceive

For the many women diagnosed with PCOS the oral contraceptive pill is presented as their only treatment option.

For some this might be a suitable short-term treatment. But for most women, addressing the drivers of their condition can results in long-lasting symptom resolution and a return to a regular menstrual cycle- No Pill necessary!

Watch this video on PCOS and The Pill to learn what your best options are.

Herbal and nutritional treatments FOR PCOS

So what other treatment options are available?

Herbal and Nutritional treatments can work wonders for people diagnosed with PCOS. In Naturopathy we look at the individual, not just the diagnosis. We come up with a personalised treatment strategy that is both evidence-based and tailored to your individual needs, lifestyle and constitution.

Our treatments involve high quality, practitioner-only nutritional and herbal supplements.

These can include a combination of nutrients such as B-Vitamins, Magnesium, Zinc, Inositol, Chromium, Essential Fatty Acids and Lipoic Acid. And can also include herbal medicines such as Liquorice, Peony, St Johns Wort, Gymnema, Nigella, Withania, Schisandra and Chaste tree.

Our supplements are prescribed to you based on a range of factors. We use our years of experience working with the nutrients and herbs to understand what is most appropriate for your condition and how it is presenting in you, the individual.

Also, because we treat holistically, many of the supplements we prescribe have been chosen to help with other symptoms you’re experiencing, such as poor digestion, sleeplessness, low energy, skin healing etc.

We also work with you to develop and encourage long-term strategies that stop PCOS from returning. These strategies keep your menstrual cycle healthy and regular, prevent your symptoms from returning and ensure any herbal or nutritional supplementing is limited and/or short term.


Absolutely! The aim of natural management of PCOS is to help support the body’s natural menstrual cycle, including ovulation.

A healthy ovulation is the first step to a successful conception, pregnancy and birth.

Because we address diet and lifestyle we also put your body in the best position to not only have a healthy ovulation, but improve the quality of the egg being released and balance hormones that help to improve implantation and reduce the risk of miscarriage.

The natural management of PCOS will also address any blood glucose issues/insulin resistance, so that when you do fall pregnant, your chance of complications such as gestational diabetes are greatly reduced.

If on your fertility journey IVF is being considered, we can also support all phases of an IVF cycle to improve the chance of success.

Get in touch

If you have PCOS, or even think that you might, and you’re interested in learning new ways to feel better and recover your menstrual cycle, book in with one of our fantastic naturopaths. Guidance from a professional can offer you symptom relief and also teach you how to look after yourself in ways that ensure your diagnosis doesn’t hold you back from the life you want.

As with any health advice from the internet, (or anywhere else), please make sure you follow the advice of your health care professional primarily.   If you would like to try any of the options listed above, please talk to your healthcare practitioner, (including us), about this first.  We have seen so many clients come through our clinic, who have tried to self medicate with natural therapies, and have gotten into worse problems, or have not received any benefits.   There are plenty of cheap, dodgy supplements on the market these days, so please be wary as cheaper is definitely not better!

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