Spearmint Tea For PCOS: Does It Work?

PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) is a condition related to excess male hormone production in the ovaries. Between 5% and 10% of women of childbearing age develop this condition. Its symptoms can vary from mild to severe.¹

While there isn't a cure for PCOS yet, it's possible to manage the symptoms and reduce male sex hormone (androgen) levels. Doctors can prescribe different types of medication to achieve androgen reduction. Some people also use home remedies. One possible remedy is spearmint tea.

Let's take a closer look at spearmint tea for PCOS and find out if it works.

Have you considered clinical trials for Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a medical condition caused by a disrupted balance of androgens. While it's normal for women to have some male sex hormones, the amounts are usually small.

When ovulation occurs as scheduled, the ovary releases the egg, and it's either fertilized or discharged from the body. However, sometimes, hormonal imbalance prevents ovulation from happening. This causes ovaries to develop small fluid-filled sacs (cysts) that contain immature eggs.

The common symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Abnormal menstruation – missing periods, not having periods, heavy bleeding during periods

  • Excessive hair growth – excess hair growth on the face, arms, chest, and abdomen

  • Acne – hard-to-treat pimples on the back, chest, and face

  • Obesity – 38%–88% of women with PCOS are either overweight or obese²

  • Dark skin – patches of darker skin may occur in the armpits, groin, and under the breasts

  • Skin flaps – small flaps of extra skin (usually in the armpits or neck area)

  • Hair problems – hair on the head may begin to thin and fall out

PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility. The absence of ovulation doesn't allow a woman to conceive.

While the condition's name includes the word “polycystic” (many cysts), you don't need cysts in the ovaries to have PCOS.

There isn't a treatment for PCOS yet. However, there are some therapeutic approaches to managing the symptoms and stimulating pregnancy.

What causes PCOS?

Scientists are yet to discover the exact cause of PCOS. There is some evidence that the condition could be genetic. 

Doctors have identified several factors that contribute to PCOS. They include:

  • High levels of androgens. Excessive amounts of androgens can prevent ovulation from occurring. This can cause cysts to develop in the ovaries. High androgen amounts can also be responsible for irregular menstrual cycles, acne, and abnormal hair growth.

  • Insulin resistance. High insulin levels may cause ovaries to release more androgens. Insulin resistance is the inability of the body to process glucose to use it for energy. This resistance causes insulin levels to increase.

  • Low-grade inflammation. Many women with PCOS have low-grade chronic inflammation. More research is required to link this inflammation to the causes of PCOS.

Not all people with PCOS experience obvious symptoms of the condition. In many cases, women learn the diagnosis when they start having issues with getting pregnant. After diagnosing PCOS, doctors can design an effective course of treatment.

Treatment for PCOS

Doctors prescribe PCOS treatment based on many factors, including your desire to get pregnant. If you don't plan to become pregnant, they may recommend:

  • Birth control. Hormonal birth control pills, shots, rings, and patches can help regulate the menstrual cycle, control acne, and help with excessive hair growth.

  • Metformin. This diabetes drug can help you manage excessive insulin. It can help restore ovulation, reduce weight, and decrease androgen levels.

  • Androgen blockers. A doctor may prescribe medication that blocks the effect of excessive androgens. This can help reduce acne and abnormal hair growth.

  • Lifestyle adjustments. A healthy diet and weight loss activities can help reduce insulin levels, thus helping with PCOS symptom management.

If you are planning a pregnancy, the course of treatment can include:

  • Ovulation-inducing drugs. Your doctor may prescribe special medications to inject or take orally to stimulate ovulation.

  • Ovarian drilling. This minimally-invasive surgical procedure can remove androgen-producing ovary tissues. Around 50% of women get pregnant after this surgery.³

  • In-vitro fertilization. An egg gets fertilized by sperm in the lab and then implanted in the uterus. Doctors may recommend this procedure if ovulation stimulation doesn't work.

With the appropriate treatment, many women with PCOS can eventually become pregnant. While following the doctor's treatment plan, some people turn to alternative remedies, including spearmint tea and other herbs.

While beneficial for some patients, alternative treatments may have adverse effects on others. That's why it's imperative to speak to your doctor before choosing alternative treatment options.  

Spearmint tea for PCOS

In an animal model study conducted to evaluate the positive effect of spearmint tea on PCOS, it was observed that spearmint has an anti-androgenic effect, helping reduce testosterone levels.⁴

In this study, the endocrine profile in animals with PCOS improved after they consumed spearmint hydroalcoholic extract.

Another study showed that spearmint positively affects women with excessive hair growth on the face, chest, and back. Patients experienced a reduction in FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone hormone) levels.⁵

While these studies show the potential of spearmint to help with PCOS, there are too few of them to make definitive conclusions.

Meanwhile, drinking spearmint tea could have such side effects as:

  • Allergic reactions (rare)

  • Damage to the uterus during pregnancy

  • Worsening of existing kidney problems

  • Possible increase in liver damage

It is necessary to talk to your doctor about how spearmint tea interacts with other medications. For example, taking spearmint together with sedatives could cause breathing problems.  

Other benefits of spearmint tea

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) is a mint type that contains vitamins A, B2, B3, and folate, as well as minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.⁶

This herb has several potential benefits, including:

  • Antiparasitic activity

  • Antioxidant activity

  • Stimulating properties

  • Antispasmodic properties

More studies are needed to evaluate spearmint's benefits, contraindications, and side effects. Before using spearmint-based medications that are yet to receive US FDA approval, PCOS patients should seek medical guidance.

The lowdown

PCOS is a common condition that stems from a hormone imbalance and causes symptoms such as irregular menstruation, excessive hair growth, and acne. While there isn't a cure, there are many treatment options.

Currently, the research on spearmint tea and PCOS isn't sufficient. While some studies point to the androgen-reducing benefits of this herb, it has some side effects. Speak to your doctor about using spearmint tea for your PCOS treatment.

Frequently asked questions

Does peppermint tea actually help PCOS?

While some research points to the beneficial effect of peppermint tea on PCOS, the results aren't definitive. Before using spearmint tea for your condition, speak with your doctor.

How long does it take spearmint tea to reduce androgens?

Scientists are yet to discover how fast spearmint tea can reduce androgens.

Does spearmint tea have side effects?

While rare, spearmint tea can have side effects,  such as allergic reactions, liver damage, and kidney damage. Speak to your doctor before using spearmint tea for PCOS.

Have you considered clinical trials for Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Discover which clinical trials you are eligible for

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