Today, it’s not uncommon to be suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or know a fair share of women suffering from it.
PCOS is a common endocrine condition caused due to a hormonal imbalance that causes a woman’s ovaries to produce extra amounts of testosterone, commonly known as the male sex hormone. All healthy ovaries produce a small amount of this hormone; however, too much of it can cause changes to the reproductive system.
Needless to say, PCOS comes with reproductive and metabolic consequences, including anovulation (a process that aids ovulation), irregular menstruation, obesity, infertility, and even an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.1
A lot of women with PCOS have diabetes and therefore, research is being carried out to know if there is a relationship between the two. Therefore, it has often been termed as the “cousin of diabetes.”
Although PCOS cannot be cured yet, you can make certain changes to your lifestyle to decrease its symptoms and feel better. Here is a list of a few lifestyles changes you can incorporate to make it easier to live with PCOS.
id="1-drop-the-extra-baggage">1. Drop The Extra Baggage
Because there is a clear link between obesity and PCOS, it is not surprising that a dip in the scales will end up making things better for an individual with PCOS.2
Unfortunately, women with PCOS have a hard time losing extra weight as the disease interferes with the functions of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Increased hunger pangs make women eat more food and gravitate toward carbs, leading to more weight gain.3
Not all is lost, though. According to a study, consistent efforts at losing weight with a balanced diet and regular exercise can be effective in reducing certain health conditions associated with PCOS like high blood pressure and diabetes.
2. Mind The Sugar
If you have PCOS, it would be good to keep a fair distance from muffins, tarts, cakes, and ice-creams and all foods that contain too much sugar.
When grocery shopping, look out for other names of sugar while reading food labels like sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose. Also, be wary of sugar that lurks in starchy foods as well as beverages such as lemonade, juices, frozen yogurt smoothies, and sodas.
3. Beat Stress And Bliss Out
If you lead a hectic and frazzled life, chances are that the stress is making your PCOS worse. The stress hormone cortisol is actually produced by the ovarian hormone progesterone. Therefore, too much stress means lots of cortisol production at the expense of progesterone – the relaxing, feel-good hormone.
This, in turn, causes an overproduction of androgens and an increase in insulin levels, contributing to PCOS symptoms. In such a scenario, we are more sensitive to stressors, which further adds to our PCOS woes.
Try meditating, retail therapy, catching up with friends, watching funny movies, sipping green tea, or simply playing with your dog.
4. Try Solutions From The Far East
How about trying some acupuncture or Chinese herbal medications to manage life with PCOS? Many who suffer from PCOS find solace in complementary and alternative medicine.
Acupuncture is known to reduce elevated male sex hormones and improve menstrual frequency in PCOS. It works by modulating endocrine and metabolic functions in women with PCOS.
Chinese herbal medicines that feature ingredients such as cinnamon bark, licorice, and dandelion root may also help along with acupuncture. 6
id="5-say-yes-to-yoga">5. Say Yes To Yoga
With stress and obesity contributing to the PCOS epidemic, we need something that nips this lifestyle disease in the bud. Yoga may be an effective way to do this.
Some of the best yogasanas for PCOS include surya namaskar, paschimottan asan, bhujangasan, and shalabhasan as they help in weight reduction and dispelling toxins from the body.
Pranayamas and relaxing yoga postures like shavasana and makarasana also help ease PCOS symptoms. Yoga for PCOS works by creating a balance between the functions of our hypothalamo, pituitary, and ovarian systems.7
Yoga is also a great way to get some exercise if you do not fancy heading to the gym. According to a study involving adolescent girls with PCOS, yoga was found to be more effective than conventional forms of exercise. It led to improved glucose, lipid, and insulin values, including insulin resistance values.8
id="6-switch-to-alkaline-reduced-water">6. Switch To Alkaline Reduced Water
Small changes can lead to big improvements. One such small change is to guzzle alkaline reduced water instead of normal water. According to a study, not only does alkaline reduced water (ARW) significantly help reduce obesity, it may also improve the pathophysiological (hormonal, metabolic, and immunological) imbalances incurred by PCOS.
Drinking alkaline reduced water (for which you just need to change your water purifier) can help in improving the infertility of PCOS patients.9
id="7-quit-the-smokes">7. Quit The Smokes
Cigarette smoking is strongly linked to adverse reproductive outcomes. In general, it is bad for your reproductive health, even if you’re not dealing with PCOS.
Researchers have concluded that smoking makes your hormones go out of whack. In women with PCOS, it leads to increased free testosterone and fasting insulin levels, resulting in aggravated insulin resistance. So here’s yet another reason to kick the unhealthy habit!10
So, if PCOS is giving you too much trouble, consider making these lifestyle changes. However, always consult your healthcare provider before you make a dramatic change, especially if you have other health conditions.
|↑1||Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). American Diabetes Association.|
|↑2||Sam, Susan. “Obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome.” Obesity management 3, no. 2 (2007): 69-73.|
|↑3||Moran, L. J., M. Noakes, P. M. Clifton, G. A. Wittert, L. Tomlinson, C. Galletly, N. D. Luscombe, and R. J. Norman. “Ghrelin and measures of satiety are altered in polycystic ovary syndrome but not differentially affected by diet composition.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 89, no. 7 (2004): 3337-3344.|
|↑4||Elmenim, Somaya Ouda Abd, and Afaf Mohamed Mohamed Emam. “Effect of Lifestyle Changes on Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in Obese Girls.”|
|↑5||Marsh, Kate, and Jennie Brand-Miller. “The optimal diet for women with polycystic ovary syndrome?.” British Journal of Nutrition 94, no. 2 (2005): 154-165.|
|↑6||Raja-Khan, Nazia, Elisabet Stener-Victorin, XiaoKe Wu, and Richard S. Legro. “The physiological basis of complementary and alternative medicines for polycystic ovary syndrome.” American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism 301, no. 1 (2011): E1-E10.|
|↑7||Verma, Anjali, Sarvesh Kumar, Laxmipriya Dei, and Kamini Dhiman. “Management of PCOS: A psychosomatic disorder by yoga practice.” International journal of innovative research and development 4, no. 1 (2015).|
|↑8||Nidhi, Ram, Venkatram Padmalatha, Raghuram Nagarathna, and Amritanshu Ram. “Effect of a yoga program on glucose metabolism and blood lipid levels in adolescent girls with polycystic ovary syndrome.” International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 118, no. 1 (2012): 37-41.|
|↑9||Ara, Jesmin, Selikem Abla Nuwormegbe, Ma Easter Joy Sajo, Soo-Ki Kim, Kwang-Yong Shim, and Kyu-Jae Lee. “Potential therapeutic effect of alkaline reduced water in polycystic ovarian syndrome.” Medical Hypotheses 104 (2017): 36-39.|
|↑10||Cupisti, Susanne, Lothar Häberle, Ralf Dittrich, Patricia G. Oppelt, Christine Reissmann, Desiree Kronawitter, Matthias W. Beckmann, and Andreas Mueller. “Smoking is associated with increased free testosterone and fasting insulin levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, resulting in aggravated insulin resistance.” Fertility and sterility 94, no. 2 (2010): 673-677.|