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I was recently diagnosed with PCOS whilst trying to conceive my second child. I'm having acupuncture. What else can I do to help improve my chances of conceiving?

Naturopath Gemma Hurditch answers for CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine)

There have been significant gains for Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) problems using acupuncture. Other things you can do include lifestyle and diet changes:

Try a low Glycaemic Load (GL) diet to help keep your blood sugar levels on a more even keel and reduce the amount of insulin in your blood stream. Insulin stimulates the ovaries; this can result in excessive male hormone production (androgens), which makes ovulation more difficult (amongst other problems). Spearmint tea can help metabolise androgens, so sip 2-3 cups a day.

Nutrition-wise, avoid completely cutting out carbohydrates as this can result in reduced levels of the hormone serotonin (our ‘happy' hormone) and can make you feel deprived and depressed. Be sure to fill up on dark green leafy and brightly-coloured vegetables, pre-soaked wholegrains, pulses, fermented foods, good fats and fish.

Try to eat seasonally, sourcing local and, if possible, organic produce. Maintaining an appropriate weight is often very beneficial for PCOS sufferers.

A brisk 30-minute walk daily also offers a great deal to support your metabolism, as well as a way to manage your stress levels. If you do find your stress levels are high, employ regular 'stress busting' techniques and hobbies and schedule some ‘me time' to give your body the chance to relax and rebalance.

Reduce screen time and sitting for long periods of time. Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet so you can have restful sleep to help you rest and recuperate. You might want to seek the professional services of a naturopath or nutritionist for more individually tailored advice.

CNM has a 22-year track record training students for successful careers in natural therapies, in class and online. Attend a FREE Open CNM Event in your area: Call 01 878 8060 or visit

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