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Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also referred to as PCOS, can be a difficult medical condition to treat, causing many women to consider herbal supplements as a part of the overall treatment plan. Some of the most commonly used herbs for PCOS include chasteberry, dandelion root, and dong quai. Blue cohosh, saw palmetto, and gymnema may also be used as herbs for PCOS. Care should be taken when using these herbal supplements, as there are no regulatory agencies governing the dosages and quality of herbs, and there may be negative side effects associated with the use of these supplements. Any specific questions or concerns about the use of herbs for PCOS in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.
Chasteberry, also known as Vitex, is frequently used to treat PCOS. This herb is thought to work by regulating the function of the pituitary gland and increasing progesterone levels. Possible side effects of chasteberry include nausea, headaches, or allergic reactions. This herb is not recommended for those who are taking oral contraceptives or undergoing fertility treatment. Gymnema may be used to help control insulin regulation and reduce excess weight gain often attributed to PCOS, although side effects such as stomach upset or low blood sugar may occur.
Dandelion root and dong quai are popular herbs for PCOS treatment. Typically used as a tea, dandelion root helps to clear excess hormone buildup from the liver. While this herb is normally considered safe, it should be used with caution among those with diabetes or people who are taking diuretics. Dong quai is often used to restore menstrual regularity and improve energy levels. The use of dong quai may cause an increased sensitivity to the sun, and long-term use may increase the risks of developing some forms of cancer.
Blue cohosh and saw palmetto are commonly used herbs for PCOS. It is widely believed that blue cohosh acts as a pelvic anti-inflammatory agent, although women who are sensitive to estrogen should not use this supplement. Possible side effects may include headache, blood pressure changes, or kidney damage. Saw palmetto may help to rid the body of excess testosterone and control excess hair growth. This herb may cause side effects such as nausea, bad breath, or allergic reactions.
A doctor should be consulted before using herbs for PCOS, as these supplements may interfere with other forms of treatment. Although it may be helpful to add herbal supplements to an overall treatment plan, these remedies should not replace conventional medical advice. A medical doctor or certified homeopathic practitioner can help the patient create a safe and healthy individualized treatment program.
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