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Lifestyle Changes To Make If You Have PCOS

Lifestyle Changes To Make If You Have PCOS

Approximately 10% of women who are of reproductive age have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). As the discussion around the condition is brought further into the public eye, many women are pushing their doctors for a diagnosis so that they can go about treating PCOS. 

Alongside any necessary medical treatments, your doctor will also recommend a number of changes to your lifestyle in order to help you reduce some of the symptoms. 

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

So what is PCOS?

PCOS is caused by a hormone imbalance which can cause small cysts to form on the ovaries. This hormone imbalance can also cause a lot of other symptoms including weight gain, insulin resistance, acne, body and facial hair growth.  Many women also experience fertility issues and irregular menstrual cycles.  Some experience heavier periods that need frequent changing of cotton pad or other sanitary products. 

Exercise

A good exercise routine is good for everyone, but there are particular benefits for people with PCOS. Regular exercise can aid in reducing weight, improving insulin resistance and reducing the amount of testosterone in the blood. 

You should incorporate both cardio and strength training into your routine to get the best all-around benefits. 

Diet

Many people with untreated PCOS have high levels of insulin resistance which can put them at a high risk of developing diabetes. 

A well-balanced diet is very important for both your overall health and when living with PCOS. 

Eating good amounts of fibre from beans, grains and vegetables. Foods with anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce the inflammation that causes the ovaries to produce excess androgen. Types of anti-inflammatory foods include fruits, nuts, fish, tomatoes and leafy vegetables. 

Manage your weight

Usually, with a good diet and exercise, your weight should begin to stabilise and fall to within a healthy range. However, sometimes it can be harder for those with PCOS to lose weight. But often, losing excess weight is beneficial to those with PCOS as it can help stabilise hormones offset some of the greater health risks.  Your doctor will be able to help you decide what the healthy range is for your particular height and build.

Herbs & Supplements 

There is some research to suggest that vitamin E and fish oil can work well against some of the inflammation experienced through PCOS. If your diet is low in either of these then a supplement could be beneficial

There are also many recommendations for using various hers such as liquorice root and ashwagandha. However, you should always be very careful about using herbs in case there are any unwanted side effects or interactions with medications you’re already on. Check with a doctor or pharmacist before taking anything. 

Final thoughts 

It can often be difficult to get a PCOS diagnosis due to a lot of symptoms being put down to ‘women’s problems.’ But PCOS goes way beyond that and can affect your quality of life and fertility in a huge way. Push your doctor to investigate further so alongside these lifestyle changes you can find a system that works for you.