In this interview, PCOS specialist Dr. Farrar Duro–who has spent 20 years working with PCOS patients, including having it herself–shares her expertise and best advice on how to “cure” PCOS, how to manage it once you're in remission and remain symptom-free, and what most women overlook in their PCOS journey. Get the answers you need about PCOS below!
Is there a cure for PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)? Technically–no. Once you have PCOS, you'll always have PCOS–but you can nourish and heal your body naturally to live a symptom-free life, like I have for the past two years!
That means regular cycles without hormonal acne, insulin resistance, hair loss/growth, plus high energy, smooth digestion and balanced mood. Can you believe it?!
Now, we’ve already talked a ton about PCOS on the site, so I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this, you already know what PCOS is and you’ve likely already been diagnosed with it.
Today, we're talking about what's next: What's next after you've been diagnosed, made the lifestyle changes and are feeling better? Are you “cured”? If you feel better, can you go back to living how you were before PCOS? What do women with PCOS need to keep in mind for their futures?
To answer all of these questions and more, I'm thrilled to bring you my friend Dr. Farrar Duro (DOM, FABORM), founder of The PCOS Revolution Academy 90-Day Reset, PCOS Revolution podcast (I was honored to be a guest back in February–listen to my interview here!), and founder of Florida Complete Wellness, an integrative medicine clinic specializing in natural health for over a decade.
Let's get to know Farrar!
Getting to Know Dr. Farrar Duro
Farrar is a licensed acupuncture physician and reproductive oriental medicine practitioner who helps women improve their PCOS symptoms naturally and boost their fertility by giving them the lifelong tools to succeed no matter what obstacles they may face.
She has been specializing in the treatment of pregnancy-related disorders, infertility and female pelvic pain with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for over 15 years, and has a passion for women's health and wellness. This path led her to pursue advanced pregnancy training in Arvigo Maya Abdominal Therapy and publish her first book, The Smart Couple's Guide to Getting Pregnant, An Integrated Approach in 2015.
After nearly 20 years of working with PCOS in her own practice and personally kicking it to the curb, Farrar felt compelled to offer more support for other women going through it. We know by now that just taking a supplement here and there or committing to an unsustainable diet is not the same as having a support system and tried-and-true plan in place.
Farrar is a much-needed voice in the women's holistic health community, teaching us that PCOS doesn't have to be complicated, and that we are not alone!
Let's see what Farrar has to say about how to manage PCOS.
Q: In your opinion, is there a cure for PCOS? Can it ever be “healed”? What does it mean to live in remission?
A: Although there is no cure yet for PCOS, there are many ways you can decrease or eliminate PCOS symptoms and feel better. We use an integrative approach to treat symptoms such as irregular periods, acne, excess hair, and elevated blood sugar.
Many of our patients (and myself included) have gone on to have healthy pregnancies and have been able to keep weight in check by incorporating a daily self-care routine that includes eating right, exercising and taking supplements when needed.
Q: What do you see among your patients as the most challenging part of healing PCOS?
A: The struggle of not having adequate support or feeling that they are all alone before seeking help with our clinic or through our program.
Q: What about the most challenging part of keeping symptoms at bay once they've healed PCOS?
A: We often underestimate how much a significant stressor like a change in job, relocation or even a pregnancy can have on our cortisol levels. This can impact our weight, which can then impact our insulin balance, leading to a viscious cycle of increased cravings and more weight gain if not addressed.
Q: Do you think there's really a difference in how women should eat, exercise, and live when they're working to heal their PCOS vs. once it's healed and they're working to keep symptoms from returning?
A: Thankfully, learning how to control your PCOS symptoms is a little like learning how to ride a bike. You never forget, so if you fall off the wagon a few times you just get right back on. However, in some situations (i.e. postpartum or going through a significant stressor) it may be necessary to seek outside help.
Q: What do most women overlook once they're in remission?
A: After several years of not experiencing any PCOS symptoms (or very little), it's easy to forget the frustration of those days when every month was a struggle. It helps to still have yearly check-ups to make sure your insulin, glucose and testosterone along with important nutrient levels like vitamin D3 are still in a healthy range even though you're symptom-free.
Q: What's your best advice for how to stay symptom-free?
A: Always remember to include some form of self-care into your daily routine, whether it's meal prepping, sleeping a full 8 hours each night, or knowing when it's time to seek help when depression or anxiety creep up. Don't let your PCOS symptoms slowly sneak up on you.
Q: Why do you think that hormonal birth control is not a long-term solution for managing PCOS?
A: As a reproductive acupuncturist for the past two decades, we're often considered the “last house on the block” treatment-wise for PCOS and infertility (although that is changing slowly in the past few years).
Unfortunately, I see a lot of fear and mistrust of our own bodies when it's finally time to come off birth control. It's a little like ripping a band-aid off, and if not addressed, PCOS symptoms will often come back with a vengeance. The first line of treatment, in my opinion, should always be diet and exercise along with self-care. Medications also have their place but should also be used in conjunction with lifestyle recommendations.
Q: What different approaches do you take to healing PCOS as a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner compared to other functional or holistic methods you've seen?
A: In actuality, I never addressed my PCOS symptoms until I went to school for Chinese medicine at the age of 19. Because traditional Chinese medicine made the most sense to me, that is the system of medicine that I resonate with the most. I wanted to not only focus on my irregular cycles, but also address my anxiety and weight with a complete system that was free of harmful side effects.
The totality of Traditional Chinese Medicine addressing the whole body by using not only acupuncture but complex herbal formulas as opposed to single herbs intrigued me the most. Over the years, I have combined the best of both worlds by using the modern tools of functional medicine diagnostics such as the DUTCH test along with the wisdom of classical Chinese medicine to get the best results with our patients with PCOS.
Q: What results can women expect from your PCOS Revolution course?
A: I originally developed The PCOS Revolution 90-Day Reset for my patients with PCOS at Florida Complete Wellness who were needing more information than we could cover in our brief weekly acupuncture sessions. I also had emails from listeners of my podcast The PCOS Revolution who wanted help reversing their symptoms but were in a different state or country.
We've since had women take back their cycles, drop 15-20 pounds and become pregnant naturally (if fertility was the focus) when implementing the strategies we discuss in the program. My goal is to reach and empower as many women as possible to take back the power that PCOS has held over them and start to experience what it really means to be symptom-free.
Thank you, Farrar, for sharing your wisdom with us!
If you're looking for direct support in how to heal and manage your PCOS for lifelong success, increase your fertility, exercise tips, how to interpret your labs, natural acne clearing strategies, time-saving menu planning tips and PCOS-friendly healthy recipes to support healthy weight loss–and so much more!–then Farrar's PCOS Revolution Academy is perfect for you.
In addition to a huge library of content, you'll also get access to monthly LIVE Q&A's with PCOS experts and private community support.
There's nothing like going through your healing journey alongside other women who just “get it”, all while being led by a true expert in the field like Farrar. I wish I had this when I started my PCOS healing journey!