Dealing with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

A hormone imbalance that is very common amongst women of reproductive age, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS has many symptoms including weight gain, irregular periods, heavy hair growth, hair loss and ovarian cysts. While there is no cure for PCOS yet, there are many ways to treat, manage and cope with the symptoms.

The symptoms of PCOS and how it affects someone’s physical and mental state, differs from person to person. Therefore, there is no correct , one size fits all approach to treatment. Along with the approach, it is also important to seek help and support from doctors and other women who are going through similar situations. Read on for a few tips that might help you deal better with PCOS. Do let us know if any of the below worked for you and what more we can add to this list.

Find a good doctor

Since PCOS is a unique condition with many possible symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor preferably an endocrinologist or an Ob/Gyn that specializes in treating Polycystic Ovaries. Together with the help of a doctor, along with tests, reports and reviewing your symptoms, you will be able to find the best course of action that works for you and your body.

Watch your weight and get in some exercise

Consult your doctor or dietician, to manage and control your weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can help with ovulation by reducing insulin and androgen levels. Along with eating wholesome foods, it is really important to exercise regularly. While helping control your weight, working out will also help your mental state by helping you feel more energized and uplifted. Keep it interesting by switching it up every few days with some walking, jogging, cycling, Zumba etc.

Say no to Nicotine

If you are a smoker, throwing away your cigarettes will drastically help you manage PCOS. Smoking raises levels of androgens (which are responsible for aggravating PCOS symptoms), therefore quitting smoking will help keep your symptoms under control.

Increase your Iron Intake

If you are experiencing heavy bleeding during your menstrual cycle, it may cause iron deficiency or anemia. Consult your doctor and inquire about how you can increase your iron intake. This could be done through food rich in iron such as broccoli, dried food, beans & nuts.

Go for low-glycemic index foods

Low GI food or Low Glycemic Index food are broken down slowly and don't rapidly  increase your blood sugar levels in comparison with High Glycemic Index Food. The smaller the number on the Index, the less impact the food has on your blood sugar levels.  Therefore, eating a diet high in low GI foods can keep your blood sugar and insulin levels in check. Try to curate a menu that includes wholesome foods such as beans, fresh fruits, non-starchy vegetables, oatmeal etc. Try to minimize your intake of highly processed foods such as cookies, fast food, sugary soft drinks etc.

Look better, feel better

One of the most common symptoms of PCOS include increased hair growth , hair loss and acne. While you make lifestyle changes and seek out treatment from your doctor, you can visit a professional salon and a dermatologist to help keep your acne under control or even find remedies for hair removal or loss. Since PCOS can take a toll on your mental health, feeling good on the outside can sometimes help make you feel better on the inside!

Control the Caffeine

Recent studies have shown that regular caffeine intake may have an effect on estrogen levels and hormones. Try to switch your usual coffee to something decaffeinated such as a green tea or herbal tea.

Seek Support

PCOS is a condition that affects quite a few women, therefore it is good to speak to other people who are going through a similar situation. Talking to a group of people who can relate to you might help you find new tips, new ways to deal or simply just make you feel better knowing that you are not alone. PCOS is not easy to deal with and can easily become too overwhelming and make you feel depressed. Therefore it is very important to seek help in the form of friends or even a professional therapist. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to anyone, do some online research and you will find many resources, support groups and message boards on the Internet.