That depends on who you ask. If you ask a medical doctor, gynecologist or endocrinologist, the answer will be yes or possibly a drug called spironolactone and Accutane for the acne. If you ask a naturopathic doctor, the answer will be “not by a long shot!”. There are numerous natural treatments for PCOS that can not only ease the symptoms, but also address the underlying cause of the condition and build up your body at the same time. Why the disparity in answers? Because Medical Doctors are not trained in and have little or no knowledge of naturopathic medicine. If you are looking for an alternative to drugs for PCOS, the best person to ask is not the person who is only trained in the drugs. It’s like asking your mechanic “what is the best dog food?” He or she may offer up an opinion on what to feed Rover, but it’s not coming from an expert on the subject. The best person to consult regarding natural remedies or alternatives to drugs for PCOS is a licensed naturopathic doctor who specializes in women’s health and PCOS.
Sex hormones are produced in the body via the following assembly line:
Cholesterol —-> Pregnenolone —-> Progesterone —–> Androstenedione —-> Testosterone —-> Estradiol (one form of estrogen). Estradiol is our end product and when there is the right amount of our end product, it’s the liver’s job to take any extra and break it down through a series of steps known as Phase I and Phase II liver detoxification. There are several ingredients required for successful breakdown and clearance of estrogen, as well as chemicals, pollution, pesticides etc. that can act like estrogen. We want to remove any excess estrogen and these waste products so that they don’t accumulate and do harm such as promoting reproductive cancers.
The first step in estrogen breakdown is conversion of estradiol to estrone. Estrone is then metabolised through Phase I liver detoxification (hydroxylation) into 2-hydroxyestrone. Cruciferous vegetables, flaxseeds, soy and rosemary supply substances like indole-3-carbinol that are necessary for this step to occur. The next step in estrogen breakdown is Phase II detoxification (methylation) which converts 2-hydroxyestrone to 2-methoxyestrone. This step requires vitamin B6, B12 and ACTIVE folic acid (5MTHF) to proceed. The active folic acid part is important as most folic acid from supplements is inactive. Some people have a defective gene that doesn’t allow them to process folic acid properly, so that they cannot make 5MTHF. This causes sluggish liver detoxification. There are 3 final procedures the liver can do to our 2-methoxyestrone to package it up for elimination. Glucuronidation requires glucaric acid, methlyation requires active folic acid again (5MTHF) and sulfation requires sulfur.
If any of these ingredients is missing, estrogen breakdown will be incomplete and estrogen, estrogen breakdown products and other waste like it, can build up in your system creating health problems like endometriosis, acne, fibroids, painful periods, hormone related cancers, heavy periods, infertility and other hormone imbalance conditions. In treating these conditions, I find it successful to provide (in the form of supplements) each component necessary for successful completion of phase I, phase II and the final packaging steps.
The typical benefits of enhancing estrogen metabolism this way include reduced risk of hormone related cancers, lighter periods, less cramping, less breast tenderness, reductions in fibroids, improved fertility, and clearer skin.
How Often Should I Do an Estrogen Detox?
That depends on the person and their particular symptoms, but for the average person, once per year.
Should Men do Estrogen Detoxification?
Yes! Men produce estrogen as well and excess estrogen and accumulation of estrogen like chemicals like bisphenol a, can bind to estrogen receptors in men and promote cancer such as prostate cancer.
Source: Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Jan;94(1):e211 . Bisphenol a and hormone-associated cancers: current progress and perspectives. Gao H1, Yang BJ, Li N, Feng LM, Shi XY, Zhao WH, Liu SJ.
There are three foods that I see causing problems with acne the most frequently:
- Dairy products – dairy is one of the most frequent food sensitivities there is. These are mild immune system reactions to foods that create inflammation. Acne is a very inflammatory condition, anything that provokes or increases inflammation in the body would be best to avoid. There is IgG Food Sensitivity testing that can be done to see if dairy is a food sensitivity for you, or you can try strictly avoiding dairy for at least 3 weeks to see what happens to your skin.
- Eggs – eggs fall under exactly the same category as dairy, they are a frequent food sensitivity and they create inflammation that seems to be centred in the skin. Eczema, psoriasis and acne can all be skin manifestations of an egg sensitivity.
- Sugar and processed carbs – high glycemic index starches and sugar provoke a high insulin response. Insulin in turn can increase the activity and/or the level of certain hormones, including testosterone. Higher testosterone activity or level can cause deep, painful cystic type acne.