PCOS – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.


Reviewed April 2016

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, have you heard of it? Well, if you’ve been diagnosed with it, I want to give you the way out of the syndrome. First of all, it refers to a sonogram finding and also a pathological finding. When you section the ovary in a woman with polycystic ovaries, you find that she has a whole series of cysts underneath the surface of the ovarian capsule, and she doesn’t ovulate properly. What happens is her ovaries develop these little eggs, but they never burst forth in a regular monthly ovulation. So, in fact, you get a thickening of the stroma of the ovary with all these little cysts under the capsule, and that can cause the ovaries to also get enlarged.

Polycystic ovary is associated with insulin resistance, trouble with blood sugar, obesity in most of the people who have it, but not all, excess hair growth on the face, and in many, that dreaded apple-shaped figure. And women have trouble losing weight when they have polycystic ovary, also known as PCOS.

I’ve had so many patients come to me over the years with this condition, and we’ve been able to reverse it with diet and exercise and a different way of thinking. But the standard medical approach, of course, is drugs, particularly birth control pills, or something to stabilize blood sugar, known as metformin.

Here’s what you do. Understand that PCOS is a disease of insulin resistance and also with being too driven in the outer world. So you need to make your life more yin, more relaxed.

Remember that stress hormones will actually take estrogen, and in the face of too much blood sugar and too much insulin, will turn it into testosterone, hence the excess hair growth on the face, and also the ovaries are producing too much testosterone. So you follow a low glycemic diet, a diet that doesn’t raise your blood sugar, that’s the first thing that you do.

Second, acupuncture and herbs can help a great deal of the time.

Third, make sure you eat breakfast. The meal that you begin your day with sets the tone for your blood sugar for the rest of the day. That’s why when people don’t eat breakfast, and they just start with a cup of coffee maybe at 10:00 and a bagel or a donut, they’re standing at the refrigerator ready to eat their evening meal at 5:00, or ready to eat the wallpaper off the wall. The blood sugar has been so low for so long during the day that they’re ravenous. You cannot get rid of PCOS, or obesity, when you continue with this pattern.

The other thing you want to do is put the phases of the moon in your Blackberry, in your iPhone, in your personal calendar, whatever, so that you get your body in tune with the cyclic phases of the moon.

And that’s fun to do, and just noticing the moon and the phase that the moon is in will begin to get you in a more cyclic, lunar cycle.

I want to tell you about the Laughing Sage Wellness Center, run by a colleague of mine, Alisa Vitti. Alisa was diagnosed with PCOS when she was a premed student at Johns Hopkins. She had to beg for a sonogram for the diagnosis. She did all of the research in the Johns Hopkins medical library, was able to come up with just about nothing, other than birth control pills as a treatment. And as a result, she founded her company that now deals with what she calls the GYN castaways, women in their 20s and 30s who have cramps, and dysfunctional bleeding, and bleeding between their periods, and PCOS and all the rest of it.

And she has counselors available, there are online programs, there are over-the-phone programs, there are in-person programs. She, herself, has reversed her PCOS. She has lost a great deal of weight. She’s a shining example of health, and you can be, too. So please know there’s a great deal of help available to you, if you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS. You do not need to take the party line that this will increase your risk of cancer and diabetes and all the rest of it. It’s reversible.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

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