Chances are, you are living with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) or know someone dealing with the condition as it affects between five and twenty percent of reproductive-aged women worldwide. PCOS is a condition where the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens, a male sex hormone that, while present in all women, is typically in low amounts. While PCOS can have some manageable side effects like acne, excessive hair growth, and abdominal cramping, some symptoms are more severe, like depression and difficulty getting pregnant. If you’re looking for ways to manage your PCOS or want to help a friend or loved one, keep reading for tips to live more comfortably with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
One of the most unwanted side effects of living with PCOS is excessive weight gain and difficulty losing weight. By making lifestyle changes to keep your weight at a healthy level, you can help the symptoms of PCOS. In comparison, it may feel unfair because it takes closer monitoring and more effort to keep your weight in a healthy range than your non-PCOS counterparts, but the feeling of well-being is worth the work. Even losing as little as 4-5% of your body fat can drastically affect your PCOS symptom management. Working with a dietician can be a game-changer if you’re struggling to lose weight.
Supplementing with Inositol
Most people take supplements like Vitamin D3, Folic Acid, and Vitamin C to lead a healthy lifestyle. There is one supplement called Inositol that has shown promising results when it comes to PCOS. Inositol is a type of sugar your body already makes, which helps with fertility and controlling blood sugar. Since these two issues are affected by PCOS, taking a myo inositol supplement can help. Additionally, Inositol helps with ovulation and egg quality, so the supplement is largely beneficial if you’re trying to conceive with PCOS.
Women with PCOS are insulin-resistant, which means their bodies can make insulin but not use it correctly, ultimately leading to a diabetes diagnosis. By staying active regularly, you’re helping to control your blood sugar levels. Being active can also help control your weight, which women with PCOS often struggle with. Finding a form you enjoy is essential if you’re having difficulty committing to regular exercise. Try different types of physical activities until you find one you enjoy, and then it’s easy to commit to regular exercise.
While it’s empowering to try and manage your PCOS symptoms naturally through diet and lifestyle, many women prefer to go the route of medication or may have to. Many medicines on the market have been shown to help with PCOS, from birth control pills to Progestin therapy. In addition, there are medications to help you ovulate if you’re trying to conceive with PCOS.
Ditch Your Coffee
While it’s reasonable to still have a cup each morning, many women with PCOS see an improvement in their symptoms by eliminating or cutting down on their caffeine intake. Caffeine has been shown to change estrogen levels. If you can’t go without caffeine, opt for a healthier version that coffee, like Green tea.
Get Quality Sleep
Sleep is a time of serious restoration in our bodies, but women with PCOS are more likely to experience sleep disturbances than women without PCOS. Investing in a solid nighttime routine to prepare you for a restful night’s sleep will help balance your cortisol levels and get deeper, more restorative sleep. A white noise machine can also help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. If your PCOS affects your ability to sleep in a way that impacts your day-to-day lifestyle, consult with your GP about a prescription to help you.
Some women have seen improvement in their PCOS symptoms through the use of acupuncture or limiting exposure to certain endocrine disruptors found in pesticides and BPA. Some other herbs and supplements are helpful in PCOS management, like Cinnamon, Cod Liver Oil, and Ashwagandha. When living with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, it’s important to have a relationship with a doctor you trust, but many symptoms can be successfully managed naturally and on your own. Here’s to your health!