What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormonal imbalance experienced by one out of about every 10 women. Small cysts develop on the ovaries because of this imbalance.
This condition can lead to problems with fertility and further issues with blood sugar or inflammation. Women with PCOS can experience a wide variety of symptoms and fortunately, certain essential oils can be used to treat or reduce many of these symptoms. The oil you choose will depend on the symptoms from which you are suffering. If you are one of the many women who suffer from PCOS, read on to find out how essential oils can be used to help.
Signs and Symptoms of PCOS
Some of the common signs attributed to PCOS include the following:
- Irregular periods, no periods, or heavy periods
- Pain in the pelvic area
- The display of additional hairs on the face or other body areas, known as hirsutism
- The presence of acne
- Trouble losing weight or weight gain
- Patches of thickened or dark skin
Causes of PCOS
While doctors cannot identify the precise causes of PCOS, most of the symptoms result from a hormonal imbalance. It has been found that women with PCOS sometimes have too much insulin in their bodies.
Insulin is a hormone used to convert food into energy. Additional insulin darkens the skin on the neck or behind the knees.
A woman who experiences PCOS may also have additional androgens. While androgens are thought of as male-specific hormones, they are also found in women.
Additional androgen can cause acne, weight gain, the growth of additional body hair, and irregular periods.
Facts about PCOS
- Diagnosing PCOS is done through surveys, bodily examinations and a blood test. The doctor will question you about your health and menstrual cycle and ask if other people in your family exhibit the same symptoms.
- When a physical exam is performed for PCOS, the doctor typically checks the skin and measures the body mass index or BMI.
- The genitals and other reproductive parts are examined to confirm a diagnosis of PCOS.
- A blood test is often performed to check the blood sugar and hormone levels during an evaluation for PCOS.
- PCOS can cause fertility problems or hamper a woman’s ability to become pregnant. Treatments may include the administration of medicines to reduce the insulin levels and promote ovulation.
- PCOS can lead to the formation of cysts on the ovaries. The cysts are not harmful and they do not need to be surgically removed.
- PCOS can lead to other health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and a thickening of the endometrium (or the lining of the uterus).
- Treating PCOS symptoms early will prevent other health problems later.
- Birth control pills are often used for treating PCOS as they can be used to correct the hormonal balance and regulate a woman’s menses. The pills are also used to reduce the risk of endometrial cancer. The cancer often develops in women who do not experience regular periods.
Essential Oils for PCOS
PCOS can be treated naturally by using one or more essential oils. These oils can reduce the symptoms and balance out a woman’s hormones so she suffers less from irregular periods and hormonal abnormalities.
Clary Sage Essential Oil
This oil will help you control the anxiety that is related to PCOS. It should be combined with geranium essential oil for full ovarian support. According to proponents, clary sage essential oil can help balance a woman’s estrogen levels and can also help ease PMS symptoms and even menstrual cramp.
Although there is not a great deal of research into these specific claims, a few studies do offer some support. One study on post menopausal women found that inhaling this essential oil had beneficial effects. The study found that inhalation of clary sage resulted in a significant reduction in cortisol and small improvements in thyroid hormones. (1)
These results suggest that clary sage oil could help ease stress and boost mood while also improving estrogen balance.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is among the most popular of all essential oils because of its incredibly diverse health benefits. It is well known for its numerous emotional benefits and can help relax the mind and even relieve stress, anxiety and depression.
Research has found that lavender essential oil could help reduce stress and improve mood during menstruation. Once study published in 2006 looked at the effects of lavender oil in combination with clary sage and rose. The researchers found that applying these essential oil to the abdomen helped relieve dysmenorrhea and other symptoms of PCOS including menstrual cramping and pain. (2)
If you have trouble sleeping, then lavender essential oil is a great natural remedy for insomnia. Simply add a few drops of the oil to your pillow at night or diffuse it near your bed and you should have a restful night of sleep.
Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamon essential oil can also be used to help releive some of the symptoms of PCOS. According to research, it can help improve a person’s insulin sensitivity and this may be very useful to women suffering from PCOS.
Animal studies have found that cinnamon can help regulate both blood glucose and lipid levels. (3) Cinnamon essential oil may also help you to keep your weight under control by curbing the appetite. The warm scent of cinnamon may also have a calming effect on your mind and for some people may help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety
Thyme Essential Oil
According to studies, thyme essential oil contains high levels of plant based progesterone called phytoprogestins. These can help women to balance the progesterone level in their bodies. This can also help deal with many of the symptoms of PCOS such as mood swings, hot flashes, insomnia and weight gain. (4)
This essential oil relieves the feeling of stress and normalizes the hormones in your body. You can use this oil to support the health of your reproductive organs.
The fragrance of geranium oil helps stimulate the adrenal cortex and helps to balance the hormones. According to research, it can also help relieve feelings of anxiety and depression. One study found that inhaling geranium oil helped decrease feelings of anxiety by around 18%. (5) It can also help to fight other symptoms of PCOS including acne and act as a general uterine tonic..
Ylang-ylang essential oil is another very effective oil for women suffering from PCOS. It may help women balance their reproductive hormones while also helping to relieve stress and reduce anxiety and depression.
According to research, ylang ylang oil has anti-depressant properties and helps reduce cortisol levels which in turn reduces the stress response. As well as its effects on the emotions, this oil may also enhance fertility and stimulate hair growth.
One study conducted in Portugal set out to examine the effects of ylang ylang essential oil on anxiety. The study found that inhaling the oil had very positive results including a significant improvement in self-esteem, particularly in women with hormonal issues. (6)
German chamomile essential oil is possibly best known for its positive effects on inflammation. However, many women with PCOS have found that it can benefit them in other ways too. German chamomile may help boost the reproductive system and enhance fertility while there is evidence that it can also help women deal with feelings of anger, stress and depression.
Other Essential Oils for PCOS
As well as the oils discuseed in detail above, there are a number of other essential oils that may hel[p with some of the symptoms of PCOs. They include the following.
Cypress Essential Oil
Cypress essential oil is good for the blood flow and may also help boost fertility. Problems conceiving are a very common problem in women with PCOS.
Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil is another extremely popular essential oil with the ability to treat many of the symptoms of PCOS. is used to alleviate fibroids and cysts and encourages a healthy blood flow. It can also be used to balance out the endocrine system.
This anti-inflammatory oil can assist in easing ovarian pain and discomfort and is also useful in stimulating pelvic circulation.
You can use myrrh essential oil to clear any uterine obstructions and regulate periods that are irregular.
Myrtle essential oil may assist in regulating the reproductive hormones.
Sweet fennel essential oil may not be as well known as some of the others on our list but it has a number of potential benefits for women with PCOS. This anti-inflammatory EO balances hormonal variances and regulates menses.
Use this anti-inflammatory EO for balancing menstrual cycles and supporting healthier fertility.
Tarragon reduces menstrual pain and discomfort and balances irregular menstrual cycles.
How to Use Essential Oils for PCOS
To make the most of EOs for PCOS, you can combine them in one of several recipes. For example, the following blends are suggested for use.
Mix two tablespoons of carrier oil with 10 drops of clary sage and 10 drops of myrtle oil. Include two drops of rose otto and seven drops of geranium in the blend.
Combine two tablespoons of carrier oil with two drops of tarragon, three drops of myrrh, four drops of sweet fennel, five drops of clary sage, and 10 drops of geranium oil.
Apply either of the two blends to the pelvic area or over the ovaries. You should also apply the oils to the middle and lower parts of the back. Use the oils two to five times each to rebalance the hormones, shrink cysts, or prevent them from forming.
Selecting the Right Carrier Oil
A carrier oil is added to dilute the mix or blend you are creating. The most popular carrier oil is coconut oil. However, when diluting EOs for PCOS, argan oil is often used. Jojoba oil and olive oil are other popular carrier oils.
Frequently Asked Questions
What lifestyle changes do I need to make if I suffer from PCOS?
You need to change your diet and stay active. For example, if you are overweight, you need to lose weight and eat lower-calorie, nutritionally dense foods. This often means that you need to switch to whole grains, low-fat dairy, and fruits and vegetables. If you eat a lot of junk food or empty calories, you need to make changes along these lines.
What kind of food substitutions should I make if I have PCOS?
You need to switch to fresh fruits if you are currently consuming canned fruits and make the switch to fresh vegetables over canned varieties. Replace sugary cereals with fiber cereals such as shredded wheat or bran flakes.
If you like cookies, candy, or cake, choose popsicles, yogurt, pudding, or sugar-free gelatin instead. Refined grains made with white flour should be replaced with darker, whole-grain products such as brown rice, wheat, pasta, and whole wheat bread.
What activity should I follow if I suffer from PCOS?
Add an activity that you can follow for at least 60 minutes each day. If you are not currently exercising, this is important to your continued health. Women who have PCOS often choose to walk or jog 60 minutes per day or take a regular exercise class.
If you are not used to exercising, gradually build up to 60 minutes of activities. For instance, you may want to start out by jogging for 15 minutes at a time and increase the time from there.
What foods should I completely avoid to reduce PCOS symptoms?
You should stay away from soy as this phytoestrogen can imbalance the hormones. That is because soy is a false estrogen and has estrogen-type properties. You also should stay away from flax for the same reason.
Gluten can also slow down the absorption of certain nutrients. Stay away from sugar as eating too much of the substance promotes the formation of cysts. Also, an over consumption of trans fats can trigger inflammation.
Are there any precautions I need to take when using essential oils for PCOS?
When using EOs on the skin, it is important to dilute them with a good carrier oil. When using a carrier oil, check to make sure that you are not allergic to it.
Simply apply a drop of oil to a small area of the skin to make sure that it does not cause a reaction. You should
check the other oils as well by taking this small “patch” test.
If you want to reduce the symptoms of PCOS, you can choose from a number of established essential oils to help you combat the condition. Just make sure that the oils are compatible with your skin type.
This can be done by placing a drop of oil on the skin to make sure that it does not cause an allergic response. Once you have formulated a blend, you can begin therapy.
Using the oils and changing your diet so you eat less sugar and empty calories will help you in treating the problem. You need to make a lifestyle change when you are diagnosed with PCOS. Using EOs to treat the problem will make it possible for you to implement the other changes with success.