Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a very common condition affecting up to 21% of women in their reproductive years, and often up to 70% of cases are undiagnosed. It is a condition whereby a woman experiences hormonal imbalances which causes a variety of problems, including cysts to grow on their ovaries (hence the name poly-cystic ovaries).
There are many symptoms of PCOS, and the condition affects all women differently. It is particularly common for women to experience irregular periods, as well as mild to moderate acne along the jawline & chin that comes and goes during a woman’s cycle. This is caused by an androgen imbalance, and the increased testosterone can result in excess oil production which commonly causes acne lesions.
Other signs & symptoms of PCOS include hirsutism (excess hair on the face), psychological symptoms of depression & anxiety and infertility. There is also a link to insulin resistance & obesity with PCOS2, and symptoms are often made worse with a high carbohydrate-based diet – 30-40% of obese women with PCOS also have diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance.
One particular herb has been studied to show significant improvements in women with PCOS symptoms. A clinical review of the current available data showed Vitex agnus-castus to be extremely effective at re-balancing the hormones, particularly reducing the excess prolactin3 – higher than normal prolactin levels are associated with PMS and progesterone deficiency, and is commonly related to PCOS. Vitex has been used extensively in herbal medicine for the management of menstrual problems & hormonal imbalances4. In my particular clinical experience I have seen Vitex work very effectively for PCOS, including reversing the commonly associated infertility.
PCOS requires a multi-faceted holistic approach, where herbal & nutritional medicine should be used alongside important dietary changes to reduce the symptoms of acne & menstrual irregularities. In my experience, it is imperative to follow a low-carbohydrate diet and consume plenty of healthy proteins & fats and lots of vegetables for best results. Insulin resistance is so extremely common with polycystic ovarian syndrome and weight management with a healthy diet is very important to reduce the associated cardiometabolic risks.
SkinB5’s Acne Control Caplets contain Vitex, which can be very beneficial to assist in balancing hormones as mentioned above. The Caplets also contain Vitamin B5 which has been shown to reduce excess oil production, as well as other vitamins & minerals to decrease inflammation and increase wound healing. Importantly, the Caplets also contain Zinc, which is a very important mineral for hormonal pathways.
A dose of 1 SkinB5 Acne Control Caplet 3x day is recommended for the management of hormonal acne, and if the skin is particularly oily then I would also recommend combining it with 1 SkinB5 Extra Strength Acne Control Tablet 3x day. The clear skin mousse and moisturiser are perfect to use daily to balance the oil at the skin-level also, and remember that treatment from within is the most important – because the imbalance of hormones is what commonly causes the excess sebum production.
Yours in health,
Boyle, J. & Teede, HJ. Polycystic ovary syndrome: An update. Australian Family Physician. 2012;41(10):752-6.
Hopkinson Z, Satar N, Fleming R, Greer A. 1998. Polycystic ovarian syndrome: the metabolic syndrome comes to gynaecology. Brit Med J 317;329–32
Arentz S AJ, Smith CA, Bensoussan A. Herbal medicine for the management of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and associated oligo/amenorrhoea and hyperandrogenism; a review of the laboratory evidence for effects with corroborative clinical findings. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014;14(511).
- Hywood A. Phytotherapy for polycystic ovarian syndrome. Australian Journal of Herbal Medicine 2012;24(3):81-6.