Trying to get pregnant when you have polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS, can be difficult. The cause of this condition, marked by higher than normal levels of male hormones, irregular menstrual bleeding and ovarian cysts, remains unknown, which makes treating PCOS tricky. Your physician may recommend fertility medications and surgery to improve your chances of getting pregnant, but there are herbs that may help as well.
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Chasteberry, a plant long in use as an herbal remedy for menstrual problems and as a trigger for breast milk production, may improve your fertility when battling PCOS. According to the OBGYN website, taking chasteberry will help you regulate your hormone levels, an important function when you have too many male hormones in your body. Proponents report that chasteberry encourages your glands to increase the amount of luteinizing hormone in your body while slightly inhibiting follicle-stimulating hormones, which raises the levels of progesterone. The progesterone should cause your body to ovulate, which increases your chance of getting pregnant. An article in the September 2005 issue of American Family Physician says that safe dosages of chasteberry range from 4mg to 1,800mg per day of extract, and there are few side effects. Consult your physician before starting to take chasteberry.
Evening primrose also treats hormonal imbalances that prevent women with PCOS from getting pregnant. The Baby Hopes website says that taking evening primrose oil, an extract of this herb, balances estrogen and progesterone levels in the body, which can prove helpful because women with PCOS tend to have higher estrogen levels. In addition, evening primrose oil contains fatty acids that not only contribute toward balanced hormones but also encourage your body to create a healthy environment for pregnancy by triggering cervical mucus production. Baby Hopes recommends a dosage of 1,500 to 3,000mg on a daily basis, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine says that it produces few side effects, although gastrointestinal issues and headaches may occur. Talk to your doctor before adding evening primrose oil to your daily diet.
Red Raspberry Leaf
The Steady Health website lists raspberry leaf as an herb that may prove beneficial to those with PCOS who are trying to conceive. The hormonal imbalances indicative of PCOS make it difficult to ovulate, but if an egg is fertilized, it can also have problems attaching to the uterine lining because of hormone problems. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that estrogen builds the uterine lining in preparation for a fertilized egg, and progesterone plays a role in maintaining and controlling the growth of this lining. Hormonal imbalances may cause the lining to be too thin to hold a pregnancy, resulting in miscarriage. The Baby Hopes website reveals that taking raspberry leaf tea strengthens the lining of the uterus, which can help combat this problem. Drugs.com recommends taking this herb as a tea in a dosage of 1.5 to 2.4g of raspberry leaf per day, although you should consult with your physician before ingesting it.
- Baby Hopes: What Herbs Boost Fertility in Women?
- National Women's Health Information Center: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Chasteberry
- American Family Physician: Chasteberry
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Evening Primrose Oil
- Drugs.com: Raspberry