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Very little research has been performed on the use of homeopathy for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS,) as of 2011. Although homeopathy carries little intrinsic side effects, a woman can be at risk of developing health problems if she rejects conventional treatment in favor of homeopathy for PCOS. No scientific evidence is available to back up claims that homeopathy is beneficial for the condition, but on the other hand, little evidence is available to specifically discredit this type of alternative treatment for PCOS in particular.
Homeopathy for PCOS involves multiple remedies. Instead of basing his or her choice on the condition, the homeopath matches the characteristics of the person to different treatments. Types of remedies that may be given to a woman with PCOS include sepia, bitter gourd and lycodium. These choices, with a natural base, each are supposed to help resolve different symptoms of the disease, such as reducing cravings for sweet foods, dampening down appetite or improving the health of the uterus.
The basis for homeopathy is that "like cures like." Homeopaths choose treatments based on the effects they have on the body, in an attempt to counteract similar symptoms of a disease. Although they originate in nature and may have intrinsic biological effects a homeopathic remedy is extremely dilute, so much so that a single bottle may only contain water, and no molecule of the original substance. This lack of molecules contributes to the low intrinsic risk of homeopathic remedies, as conventional scientists regard them as simply water, whereas homeopaths say that the water contains a memory of the initial substance. Remedies in the form of pills contain sugar and this water.
No published and peer-reviewed evidence is available on the efficacy of homeopathy for PCOS. Evidence in favor of homeopathy as an alternative treatment does not support its use to benefit health in general. In contrast, medical treatments such as hormone treatment, drugs that control insulin levels, and cosmetic treatments like laser hair removal are proven to work for many women. Rejection of conventional treatment in favor of homeopathy alone can mean that the symptoms of the condition are left uncontrolled, increasing the risk of further complications like heart disease and diabetes.
Some homeopaths, when choosing a course of homeopathic remedies for a patient with PCOS, also advise that the woman follow certain lifestyle and dietary guidelines. A woman who follows these rules, such as taking regular exercise, losing weight and eating a healthy diet, may see improvements in her condition. This type of lifestyle regime is also commonly advocated by doctors, as it has been proven to help reduce symptoms or even cure the condition altogether. As the lifestyle changes can work by themselves, some women who feel they benefit from homeopathy for PCOS may in fact be benefiting simply from their improved lifestyle choices.
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