You must have come across many women among your friends, neighbourhood and even within the family having PCOS, a common endocrine system disorder among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have enlarged ovaries that contain small collections of fluid — called follicles — located in each ovary as seen during an ultrasound exam.
A woman with PCOS disorder feels that she has acquired the most dangerous disease and that she will never be able to conceive after that, periods/menstrual cycle will not be regular and she will continuously gain weight and inflate one day. They reel under negative thoughts and stress which further only worsens the condition. They visit gynecologists and the line of treatment is oral contraceptives, hormonal pills, insulin sensitizers, diuretics which only treats the symptoms but doesn’t reverse it.
In my 4 years of practice as a dietician, I have come across many women having PCOS disorder and by purely bringing about a lifestyle changes I was able to reverse PCOS in them and not only that many have been able to conceive and deliver healthy babies too.
Just for you to understand and relate to this condition better, putting below some information pertaining to PCOS and ways in which you can reverse the condition.
Signs and Symptoms of PCOS:
- Irregular or no menses- leads to weight gain
- Acne and oily skin
- Hirsutism Facial hair growth , Abnormal hair growth and distribution
- Obesity- increases insulin resistance and hormonal imbalance
- Dandruff- Excessive flaky skin
- Skin discoloration
- Hypercholesterolemia- due to faulty foods and lifestyle
- Hypertension- due to weight gain, exerts pressure on walls of the arteries
- Diabetes- Insulin resistance- leads to weight gain
- Obesity- Especially abdominal fat/ obesity
- Stress-Stresslack of sleep leads to excess formation of stress hormone cortisol which increasesblood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Indirectly also helps in belly fat accumulation
- Lack of exercise- Exercise stimulates / sensitizes insulin and helps in better uptake of glucose. Also, the endorphins which is a feel good hormone curbs the cortisol levels too.
- Excessive intake of aerated drinks- They contain HFCS (High fructose Corn Syrup) which doesn’t get metabolized and is stored in the form of fats in the belly area
What do you think should the treatment be for the above symptoms discussed?
Just a lifestyle change should do all the wonders. A good exercise regime daily, regular and controlled meal pattern and a stressfree life can reverse the conditions.
So you would want to know what should be done and how, right?
Some do’s and don’ts:
1. Meal patterns:
-Consume whole grain products over refined ones.
-Stop consumption of aerated drinks
-Include good amount of different colored veggies which are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals
-Consume atleast 2-3 liters of water a day
-Choose foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids like flaxseeds, almonds, nuts, fatty fishes
-Soya is rich in phytoestrogen which helps in improving estrogen levels in women. –Consume atleast 3-4 servings of soya per week. Processed form of soya is better than the unprocessed one as processing helps in removal of the natural inhibitors.
Avoid alcohol consumption
2. Physical activity:
Make it a point to indulge in one physical activity atleast for half an hour to 1 hour daily. This will help produce endorphins, a feel good hormone and help in relieving stress by curbing cortisol levels. Exercising helps in better uptake of glucose thus normalizing the blood sugar levels. It also decreases insulin resistance. Exercising burns calories, aiding in weight control. It also helps in increasing HDL cholesterol
And reduces blood pressure
3. Reduce stress:
Stress plays a major role in acquiring lifestyle related disorders
It is very important to keep your stress levels under control.
Ways to reduce stress levels:
- Get good sleep daily
- Practice pranayam (deep breathing exercises)
- Indulging in your hobbies/ sports
- Take some time out of your schedule to spend with your near and dear ones.
With an active body, peaceful mind, and healthy food habits you can reverse most of the lifestyle related disorders. The solution and power to change lies within you and you just have to take a step ahead and choose what is best for you.