As a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in women's health and fertility, I see a lot of women with PCOS in my clinic. I actually have a very personal relationship with this disorder, being a PCOS sufferer myself. Having lived with years of irregular cycles and cystic acne, I know what a challenge it can be to have this disorder, and also what a relief it is to have it fully reversed!

PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is diagnosed through what are known as the "Rotterdam Criteria". To have a diagnosis of PCOS, a women needs to have 2 of the 3 criteria below:

1) lack of ovulation(anovulation) or ovulation that is delayed (oligoovulation).

2) excess androgenic/male hormonal signs, such as high testosterone, acne, male pattern hair growth (hirsutism), or male pattern hair loss.

3) polycystic ovaries.

PCOS is associated often with a family history of diabetes and insulin resistance, a condition that results in elevated insulin levels. The high insulin levels cause the ovaries to secrete testosterone, which delays ovulation. This can result in irregular cycles and infertility. Women with PCOS are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes as they get older, and often have difficulty regulating their blood sugar levels.

Here are 5 simple ways to address PCOS, the most common women's health condition:

1) Diet. Reduce sugar and carbohydrate intake. Increase protein. Never eat a carbohydrate without protein, even if it is just a snack. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables including leafy green vegetables.

2) Exercise. Exercise has profound benefits on insulin resistance and has been shown in studies to improve ovulation in women with PCOS, and lower male hormone levels.

3) Myo-inositol. This natural supplement is one of the most important components of healthy follicles. Myo-inositol has been studied for the treatment of PCOS, reduces male hormones and promotes healthy ovulation.

4) Vitex, or chaste tree. Vitex is one of the best herbs for PCOS. It is often recommended to be taken in the luteal phase, or the post ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle.

5) Stress Reduction. Stress has a negative impact on PCOS. Increased cortisol levels from stress aggravate the underlying insulin resistance in women with PCOS. Try yoga, meditation, or a relaxing bath every day to unwind and destress your body and mind.

PCOS, for most women, is a condition that can be reversed with the correct treatment. When the focus is on the underlying insulin resistance, normal ovulation and healthy female hormone balance can be achieved for the majority of women.

Author's Bio: 

I'm a licensed Naturopathic Doctor with 12 years of experience, and I focus on the treatment of infertility, women's health conditions and hormonal conditions such as menopause.

I am an author and have published research driven articles in major naturopathic publications. I've also appeared in the media, including magazines and on television.

I own an integrative Naturopathic Clinic in Toronto, providing complete women's health and fertility care to our city.