Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

by Dr. Rebecca Tocher-Richmond, ND

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the most common hormone disorders affecting women.  It is suspected that at least 1/10 women have PCOS and many are undiagnosed.  PCOS can cause irregular periods, excess androgen (male hormone) symptoms and cystic ovaries.   Although research has come a long way in terms of understanding the etiology of PCOS, and more women are getting diagnosed, conventional medicine has little to offer for effective treatment.  Women will often be told that they need to lose weight, but weight loss is extremely difficult for women with PCOS.  The typical formula of reducing food intake and increasing exercise rarely brings results.   The drug, Metformin, is often prescribed but a recent study has shown that this medication did not help women with PCOS to lose weight after being on it for 3 months.1  Also, metformin is often poorly tolerated due to gastrointestinal side effects.


Fortunately, Naturopathic Medicine has a lot to offer women with PCOS!  Specific approaches to nutrition help to fix the underlying hormone imbalances that cause the PCOS symptoms.  When you balance the hormones, weight loss also becomes much easier.  High dose vitamin and mineral supplements and botanical medicines are very effective aids to stabilize the hormone levels.


I have been helping women with hormonal issues for almost 20 years. I have developed a specific interest in helping women with PCOS because I discovered early on in my career that there is so much that Naturopathic Medicine can do to help these women.   My approach to treating PCOS is not a quick fix program.  Although we often see some immediate improvements, other symptoms of PCOS take time to resolve.  We work together to create an eating program and lifestyle changes that are sustainable for you over the long term.  Supplement recommendations are focused on a woman’s specific hormonal picture.  We do blood tests at various stages in the process to identify areas of need and to monitor results.   If you or someone you know is struggling because of PCOS, please give us a call at the clinic. We would love to help you on your path to wellness.


In order to reach more women with PCOS, I am currently developing an online PCOS program.  This program is a culmination of my years of experience effectively treating countless women with PCOS combined with the most current scientific research on the condition.   The program will focus on weight loss for women with PCOS.   Efficient weight loss in PCOS requires hormone balancing.  Balancing the hormones is also the first step towards resolving the other troubling symptoms of PCOS.  If you would like to be informed when the course becomes available, please send Dr. Tocher an email with “PCOS weight loss program” in the subject line to  drtocher@npath.com


  1. Sharma N, Siriesha, Lugani Y, et al. Effects of metformin on insulin levels, blood sugar, and body mass index in polycystic ovarian syndrome cases.  J Family Med Prim Care.  2019 Aug 28;8(8):2691-2695.