It starts with one lifestyle change.

Free Yourself From PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome, commonly known as PCOS, is a medical condition caused by hormonal imbalances in the body. Women suffering from PCOS have a varying range of symptoms, the most common: are irregular menses (periods), excess of androgen hormones (testosterone), and fluid-filled cysts in ovaries, resulting in problems with ovulation. Currently, every one out of ten women is suffering from PCOS, with more than five million affected in the US according to the PCOS Awareness Association.


There is no 'cure' for PCOS, and for most women affected, it is a life-long condition, hence effective and natural management of the condition is necessary for a productive life.


Symptoms of PCOS

Since PCOS affects such a large number of people across the world, the symptoms are varied according to the individuals, and the diagnostic criteria and treatment vary as well. Some symptoms that women experience with PCOS are weight gain, severe acne (especially near puberty), hirsutism (male-pattern hair growth), headaches, and mood swings (brought on by hormonal imbalances), as well as sleep problems. Women with this condition are also at an elevated risk for heart disease, Type-2 diabetes, depression, and infertility.



What Causes PCOS ?

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown but it is often considered hereditary, so your chances of having PCOS are higher if someone in your family has it. Research has also found some links to gestational conditions and lifestyle factors that contribute to the onset of the condition (Ndefo, Eaton, & Green, 2013), as demonstrated by the onset of the condition after sudden weight gain or obesity.


Lifestyle Management

The management of PCOS after diagnosis is necessary to live a problem-free life. Fortunately, hormone therapy and medication are only recommended for severe symptoms, and PCOS can be managed, and even reversed, with lifestyle changes and natural remedies.


Dietary changes

A focus on nutrition is crucial in the management of PCOS symptoms. Focus on the following changes to see long-lasting results.


  • Consume a healthy high-fiber, low-carb diet is good for your metabolism and hormonal balance. Krouni et al (2018) suggest that a diet high in fiber can also reduce testosterone levels in PCOS, which helps in management.

  • Eliminate saturated fats from your diet and replacing them with 'good fats' like coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado can have a great impact on your PCOS symptoms.

  • Incorporate essential fatty acids in your diet that your body does not produce (omega-3 and -6) which can be obtained from fish oil supplements.


Weight loss

PCOS is often accompanied by obesity. Although there is no causal relationship between the two, obesity can often aggravate the symptoms of PCOS and result in additional risks like higher cholesterol levels, heart disease, and low functioning metabolism.


Through a healthy dieting regime and exercise, as well as the help of herbal supplements, weight reduction has shown significant improvement in the metabolic and endocrine symptoms of PCOS. It is important to note that severe dieting and exercise often only lead to immediate regain of weight, and so a slow and steady approach, like a portion control diet, is a good way to go.


Physical Activity

Physical fitness and exertion not only help in weight reduction in those suffering from obesity in PCOS but also provides metabolic benefits. Regular running, walking, aerobics, or gym are good examples of exercise that you can enlist in your routine. Even 15 minutes a day is a good beginning for a healthy exercise routine. Through exercise, your hormone levels become regulated, and hair growth and insulin resistance improve (Moran et al 2011).


Yoga and Self Care Activities

A recent article showed how yoga can improve PCOS symptoms (depression and androgen levels) by providing therapeutic relief to women suffering from it. There is also the added benefit of meditation when you are doing yoga that helps with your stress and anxiety.


Naturopathy for PCOS

Natural and herbal remedies for PCOS are potentially safer than traditional medicine, yet effective due to multiple active components in them. Here are a few of the most effective naturopathic items:


1. Vitamin C

Research suggests that daily vitamin C intake can increase regular ovulation, which leads to regular hormonal levels and menses and increase progesterone levels in the case of infertility (Meletis & Zabriskie, 2016). Taking vitamin C supplements, or incorporating vitamin C rich fruit in your diet will achieve this.


2. Zinc

Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is also necessary for many of the body's natural reactions. It has been linked to improved glucose tolerance in people with PCOS, which may reduce the risk of diabetes.


3. Saw Palmetto

This herb's berries are commonly used as natural medicine for illnesses related to the prostate in men because of its anti-androgenic properties. In PCOS, it helps to reduce hirsutism (excess male-pattern hair growth in women), improve acne, reduce hair loss from the scalp, and improve weight loss (Nielsen, 2019).


4. Fermented Soy

The use of fermented soy as a food supplement can help improve insulin resistance and glucose levels in patients with PCOS who are also at risk of, or suffering from, diabetes. Soy also helps in lowering the risk of hypertension with PCOS, as it is a healthier alternative to many unhealthy food items.


5. Ginseng

Korean red ginseng can provide immense benefits to the body, in addition to which it is also helpful for PCOS through inhibiting the formation of ovarian cysts (Jung et al, 2011). This could potentially help improve fertility conditions caused by PCOS, as well as better ovarian health.


6. Licorice Root

With its long history of being used as a medicinal and culinary ingredient, licorice can help in PCOS management through the reduction of unwanted body hair (best if applied topically).


7. Spearmint Tea

The most commonly available and used herb, spearmint provides many benefits for a healthy body. Spearmint tea has shown effective in battling hirsutism, a common symptom of PCOS, along with weight reduction.


8. Cinnamon

Cinnamon helps in reducing insulin resistance and improving fasting glucose levels in the body. It also has a calming effect that can be helpful with headaches and relaxation.

Closing

Due to the high prevalence and increasing risk factors of PCOS around the world, its awareness should be spread widely. Managing PCOS effectively through natural methods is a necessity for a happy life. Through lifestyle changes, personal development, healthier habits, and good control, PCOS can be be managed and potentially reversed.



References

Healio. (2020, May 5). Yoga provides 'therapeutic benefit' to patients with PCOS. Retrieved from https://www.healio.com/primary-care/womens-health/news/online/{53876056-0a04-4876-9f6e-7e27c25c4630}/yoga-provides-therapeutic-benefit-to-patients-with-pcos


Jung, J.-H., Park, H. T., Kim, T., Jeong, M. J., Lim, S. C., Nah, S. Y., … Bae, C. S. (2011, June). Therapeutic effect of korean red ginseng extract on infertility caused by polycystic ovaries. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659527/


Krouni, A., Forouhari, S., … & Alian, F. (2018). Effect of High Fiber, Low Calorie Balanced Diet in Obese Women with Hirsutism: A Randomized Clinical Trail. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325944426_Effect_of_High_Fibre_Low_Calorie_Balanced_Diet_in_Obese_Women_with_Hirsutism_A_Randomised_Clinical_Trail


Meletis, C., & Zabriskie, N. (2016). http://ljournal.ru/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/d-2016-154.pdf. Natural Approaches for Treating Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. doi: 10.18411/d-2016-154


Moran, L. J., Hutchison, S. K., Norman, R. J., & Teede, H. J. (2011, July 6). Lifestyle changes in women with polycystic ovary syndrome - Moran, LJ - 2011: Cochrane Library. Retrieved from https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007506.pub3/abstract


Ndefo, U. A., Eaton, A., & Green, M. R. (2013). Polycystic ovary syndrome: a review of treatment options with a focus on pharmacological approaches. P & T: a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, 38(6), 336–355. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737989/


Nielsen, E. (2019, October 29). Saw Palmetto. Retrieved from https://pcos.com/sawpalmetto/


PCOS Awareness Association (n.d.). Infographics. Retrieved from https://www.pcosaa.org/pcos-infographs

About Me

Hi I am Dr. MIG, the family nurse practitioner, health coach student, fitness enthusiast, herbal counselor and wellness motivator and I am happy you landed here !

 

Check out the rest of Rooted Vigor's content as I encourage a whole mind, body, and soul approach to disease prevention and lifestyle modification.

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