Battling the ‘incurable’ PCOS

Treat Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome naturally.

Treat Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome naturally. DESIGN: MAHA HAIDER


This might startle you, but according to some studies, one in every three women in the subcontinent has a hormone disorder called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). While this condition is not unheard of, nobody really knows how to get rid of it. It’s almost like a conversation-starter; everyone discusses what the doctors have prescribed — mostly birth control pills along with metformin and follow-up tests, which include blood tests and ultrasounds. But the worst part is when doctors scare you by calling it “incurable”.

Well, ladies, let’s get some facts straight about PCOS. There are no specific tests to diagnose it, not all PCOS cases are the same and there is no cure for it in allopathic medicine. But, what most of the diagnosed women don’t know is that PCOS can be kicked to the curb naturally.

Here’s what you need to know about PCOS and how natural treatments can save you from side effects of needless medicines and expensive tests.

What is PCOS?

PCOS affects more and more women each year starting from an adolescent age. It is one of the leading causes of female infertility, which has no cure in modern medicine and is still under research. This syndrome is defined by the menstrual and hormonal abnormalities of ovaries with cysts. If left uncontrolled or unmanaged, PCOS leads to diabetes, cardiac diseases, obesity, high blood pressure and infertility.

Understand PCOS

If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS, you need to be well-informed of the hormonal imbalance. Hormones are like chemical messengers, and if their production or process alters, they get out of balance and make more androgens (male sex hormone) and that’s when symptoms of PCOS appear.

In this syndrome, the pancreas secretes excessive insulin and contributes to the underdevelopment of eggs during ovulation.

Eating habits

While recognising the syndrome and taking control of the situation, there are many ways you can control and eventually get rid of PCOS. Remember to ignore the symptoms, and get to the root of the problem so you can win this battle. Make the mandatory changes to your lifestyle.

Diet and nutrition adviser Manal Aly Khan believes losing weight for women who have PCOS can be challenging but not impossible. “A balanced diet is important,” says Khan. “But PCOS patients need to include less carbohydrates than normal people in their diet.”

Khan says PCOS patients need to eat foods with a low glycaemic index (GI), which is a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels rise after certain foods. “Low GI food items include vegetables, fruits and nuts,” says Khan. “Go for brown sugar, brown rice, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products. It’s important that coffee and tea intake is also in moderation.”

Say ‘no’ to white stuff

Whether it’s sugary desserts, breads, rice or pasta — reduce, if not eliminate them out of your diet completely. Carbohydrates need to be limited and replaced by foods that will help end PCOS. Eat smart, eliminate saturated and trans fats, and choose smaller amounts of healthy unsaturated fats. “Avoid all products made with refined sugar,” says Khan.

Fiber forever

Eat more fibre to maintain blood sugar levels and cholesterol. Your best options are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Protein power

Protein helps you feel full for longer which is great for controlling weight. This includes meat, chicken, turkey, fish, legumes, soy and nuts.

Get off that chair!

Exercising is crucial! You can only break the cycle of insulin resistance by regular workouts. So you must get serious about physical activity and work out like it’s medicine.


If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body will release hydrocortisone (cortisol), which increases blood sugar and suppresses the immune system, affecting your overall metabolism.

Alternate treatment

According to homeopathic doctor and acupuncturist Dr Seema Shahab, diet changes, acupuncture, yoga, exercise and homeopathic medicine for three months, along with exercise will most definitely cure PCOS.

“Allopathic treatment doesn’t have a cure, but their medicines to manage PCOS leads to numerous side effects,” says Dr Shahab. “If you stop the medicines, PCOS comes back.” She believes that the root of the problem should be treated and allopathic medicine fails to do that.

“Homeopathic medicine is only required for the first three months,” says Dr Shahab. “During that time, we also advise the patient to exercise regularly including yoga, make diet changes and get acupuncture three times a week.”


“Each asana [yoga posture] affects you at different levels,” says Yoga Alliance certified instructor Aisha Chapra. “It has been discovered that specific poses really helped the reproductive system either by removing any blockage, creating energy and helping hormones balance.”

Chapra believes that with various yoga positions, when practiced regularly, PCOS completely disappears. There are also positions that help thyroid balance. “Some patients said they got off their medicines and controlled their symptoms,” says the instructor. “The combination of a controlled diet along with yoga can treat PCOS.”


Absent or highly irregular menstrual cycles

Weight gain

Infertility and miscarriage


Facial hair

Ovarian cysts

Blood sugar imbalances/insulin issues

Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2013.                    

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Saman Hayat | 11 years ago | Reply

This article was very helpful! Thanks Mahrukh :)

Laila Dharamsey | 11 years ago | Reply

Good one Mahrukh! PCOS can really be terrible and agonizing if not controlled. Guess i should join that yoga class after all!

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