Detoxification can be an excellent tool for managing PCOS symptoms, and even helping to resolve the condition completely when used in combination with other holistic treatments.
PCOS is, at its root, a hormonal imbalance. Throughout the female menstrual cycle, there are a few hormonal players: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. During the first half of the cycle, estrogen is dominant, and testosterone also spikes prior to ovulation. Following ovulation, progesterone becomes the dominant hormone.
In most PCOS cases, ovulation may become sporadic due to an underlying hormonal imbalance, and progesterone levels typically decrease. Without regular ovulation, egg follicles that begin to mature on the ovary are not released, leading to the formation of the ‘cyst’. This is what gives PCOS its name: poly- (or many) cystic ovarian syndrome.
There are different variations of PCOS, in which estrogen levels may be too high, testosterone levels may be too high, a hormone known as prolactin may be too high, or the hormone insulin may be dysregulated. Excess levels of estrogen from hormonal contraceptive use can also lead to what is often referred to as “post-pill PCOS.” Regardless of the cause, detoxification can help!
How detoxification helps manage PCOS symptoms:
Promotes liver health
One of the primary beneficiaries of any detox regimen is the liver. Your liver plays an important role in regulating your hormones. One of the most important things the liver does for the female cycle is to break down excess estrogen so that it can leave the body.
There is one pathway into the liver, and five pathways out of it. If your liver gets overburdened by too many compounds, it becomes difficult for it to appropriately break each compound down and move them through one of the five exit pathways. If the liver becomes backed up, the compounds may be recirculated into the body. In the case of estrogen, this means that partially degraded estrogen goes back into the body, raising estrogen levels and disrupting the cycle.
Detox programs support the liver by removing toxins, such as alcohol and caffeine, that the liver needs to process. Compounds in processed foods also often need to be metabolized by the liver. Many detoxification programs also recommend liver boosting herbs or supplements.
Regulates blood sugar levels
Dysregulated blood sugar is often a primary issue with PCOS cases. Your blood sugar is intertwined with your endocrine system, and therefore your reproductive hormones. Blood sugar is regulated by a hormone called insulin. Most blood sugar issues stem from insulin resistance, in which the body stops using insulin correctly to transport sugar out of the blood, leading to high levels of both blood sugar and insulin.
This matters because excess insulin signals to the ovaries to make more androgens like testosterone. High testosterone levels are a common cause of PCOS, and are responsible for symptoms like unwanted hair growth (on the face and body), hair loss (on the head), and acne.
Insulin resistance also increases estrogen production, leading to a hormonal imbalance known as estrogen dominance that can cause infrequent ovulation.
Detox helps blood sugar levels by stabilizing them and giving the body a chance to become re-sensitized to insulin. Detoxification can also help to reduce sugar cravings, so that blood sugar levels are less likely to become dysregulated further on down the road.
Chronic inflammation is a common occurrence in PCOS cases, and can lead to pain and discomfort, weight gain, and acne. While it is unclear whether PCOS causes inflammation, or inflammation causes PCOS, reducing inflammation is an important part of relieving PCOS symptoms.
Detoxification can help with inflammation by removing toxins and triggers from your diet and environment for a set period of time. Improving liver health and blood sugar regulation will also help to reduce inflammation.
PCOS is a complex reproductive condition that requires diligence in lifestyle and dietary changes to manage. Holistic protocols for treating PCOS often include detoxification as a means of supporting the body and addressing root causes of PCOS and its symptoms.
By following a Florida detox protocol, and regularly supporting systems of detoxification, you can help to address underlying hormonal imbalances, blood sugar dysregulation and inflammation so that you can reduce PCOS symptoms and restore hormone balance.
by Dr. Vikram Tarugu
Dr. Vikram Tarugu is a board certified gastroenterologist and hepatologist with vast experience in endoscopic procedures. He has authored various articles and publications relating to gastrointestinal disorders and addiction related issues and writes for detoxofsouthflorida.com.