Can you advise natural ways to induce ovulation? I am 20, and suffer from PCOS. Last year I went off the pill as it was making me ill and had no period for over 5 months.
I was put back on the pill for nov and dec to try ‘jump start’ my cycles again which resulted in a 41 day cycle, and a cycle which is still going, up to day 75. I am having a laparoscopy and ovarian drilling at the end of may to try fix this, and I am currently taking Vitex.
I have heard that soy milk imitates oestrogen and can be used to induce ovulation. Is this true? Is there any other natural ways to induce ovulation before going down a medical path?
There are SO many things you can do naturally to help manage PCOS and improve your cycle regularity!
I am usually quite concerned when young woman a put on the pill to “regulate” their cycles and are offered such invasive therapies as ovarian drilling to manage PCOS. There are several problems with this picture but the fact that lifestyle factors play the biggest role in this condition often means the “problem” is only ever addressed temporarily with the risk of future complications—when invasive medical options are pursued first before some diligent effort and appropriate time is devoted to effective, natural solutions.
Unfortunately, laparoscopic ovarian drilling is not going to ‘fix’ your concern, not in the long term anyway. Let me explain. Research shows that ovarian puncture increases the risk of a woman producing antibodies to her own eggs and her own reproductive system. In the long term this further increases the chance of fertility and conception problems—and even possibly premature ovarian failure.
For more information on this subject you can view this very interesting article: Forges, T., Monnier-Barbarino, P., Faure, G. C., and Bene, M.C.. Autoimmunity and antigenic targets in ovarian pathology. Human Reproduction Update, Vol.10, No.2 pp. 163±175, 2004 http://humupd.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/10/2/163
To balance your hormones and cycles some lifestyle changes are really important and in particular ensuring that your diet and exercise (at the very least) are as optimal as possible is the very best way to get your cycles and ovulation to become more regular.
Here are some things that you need to do and that you can start with to manage PCOS:
- Get to your ideal weight—this is the most key aspect in PCOS because, weight gain, hormonal and blood sugar regulation imbalances are very prevalent in women affected by this condition;
- Avoid any and all fried foods and packaged foods that contain trans-fats (heated vegetable oils)—these have shown to decrease ovulation potential (and therefore fertility) in women with PCOS by as much as 73%!
- Exercise daily to help balance your hormones and blood sugar levels—at least 40-60 minutes brisk walking is ideal to help reduce stress which is important in the management of PCOS and fertility problems, as well as ensuring good blood sugar and hormonal regulation;
- Herbal medicines and certain nutritionals can be so vital for helping women with PCOS normalise the cycle and ovulation. Unfortunately vitex on its own is often not sufficient to do the job. So having a proper consultation with a naturopath or herbalist is highly recommended.
I would not recommend soy milk to help regulate your oestrogen levels because it can imbalance thyroid function which can already be a problem for people with PCOS.
So again this is where a combination of other herbal medicines can be more helpful in your case—and in combination with the lifestyle changes mentioned. This is the beginning of an effective method for improving ovulation potential naturally before using other forms of medical intervention.
Please also keep in mind that natural methods can take a little longer to work than “quick-fix” approaches and you do need to be consistent with your choices. However, natural interventions are more likely to address the root cause of problems rather than just act as a short-term band aid solution that can cause more problems later on down the track. Herbal medicines can take about 4-9 months to totally change a woman’s cycle but they are very effective. Just be sure to give them proper time to work their magic.
You didn’t say if you were trying to conceive or not but if you are…I would also recommend that you start charting your cycle so as you can learn about your own body’s (despite PCOS) patterns and unmistakable signs of fertility.
This is a great way to become more conscious about when you are ovulating but also as a way of helping you see change and improvements throughout the months.
If you know your patterns you can then time your conception attempts appropriately. I’ve had patients with PCOS that once they started to chart their cycle, they realised they were (after all) ovulating regularly; it was just that their ovulation was happening around days 33-35 of the cycle rather than the “usual” day 14.
For some of my patients once we get clear about this and time conception attempts properly after 120 days preconception preparation and they are as healthy as possible—they conceive first go.
The Understanding Your Conception Cycle, three week program, is available to couples all over the world as a fully personalized, online program, personally delivered by fertility specialist Gabriela Rosa. The mode of delivery includes workshop style webinar, transcript and Facebook Live sessions in a dedicated group, where you will have direct access to Gabriela to address your questions and get the answers you need to better understand your conception cycle and window of fertility.