Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal condition in women that affects the functions of their ovaries that lead to fertility issues. The criteria before a patient is diagnosed with PCOS are as follows: irregular periods, excess androgen, and polycystic ovaries.
Irregular periods happen to patients with PCOS because their ovaries do not regularly release eggs or ovulate. Excess androgen, on the other hand, means that a woman’s body has high levels of male hormones, causing excess facial or body hair. Not everyone with PCOS has cysts, but when they do, these cysts are rather harmless. Mostly, the patients have enlarged ovaries and their eggs are surrounded by follicles. If two of these features are present in your body, there is no point in denying that you have PCOS.
Although the cure for the disorder is still nowhere in sight, PCOS symptoms can be easily managed; or rather must be managed because patients who have the disease are at a higher risk for heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, and endometrial cancer.
But don’t worry, many women who have PCOS have learned how to live with the disease without triggering other comorbidities by fixing their lifestyle and being particular with their diet.
PCOS treatment and management
Avoid sweet or sugary snacks and drinks, red and processed meat, and foods high in refined carbohydrates. Examples of these are: muffins, white bread, pastries, sugary desserts, fries, margarine, soda, juice, and more.
When going for a grocery, make it a habit to check the food label before you drop it into your cart. If you find the words “sucrose,” “high fructose corn syrup,” and “dextrose,” put that food back–– these three are the other aliases of sugar.
Why? Women with PCOS are most likely insulin resistant, which explains why patients have excessive amounts of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone that helps cells turn sugar or glucose into energy. But if you are insulin resistant, your cells won’t respond to the hormone to convert sugar into energy, which in effect will increase the levels of sugar, prompting the body to pump out more insulin in a vain hope to balance out the body’s blood sugar level. And lastly, the higher the insulin levels, the more androgens that the ovaries will produce.
Insulin resistance is also caused by obesity because it is much harder to lose weight when the body is not responding to insulin. This phenomenon is the reason why 50% of women diagnosed with PCOS are also suffering from excessive weight gain.
So cherry-pick the foods you put into your system. Start eating vegetables high in fiber. This is a type of carbohydrate that the stomach cannot digest and just goes straight to the colon, feeding it with good bacteria. Eating high-fiber veggies slows down digestion and diminishes the sugar’s impact on the blood, which is an effective method of combating insulin resistance.
Some of high-fiber vegetables include: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, arugula, beans, lentils, almonds, berries, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, green and red peppers.
Moreover, adding lean protein to your diet can boost metabolism and increase the number of calories burned per day. It also doesn’t trigger the body’s glycemic response so it only has less impact on blood sugar, not to mention that it can help in balancing insulin levels as well. Chicken, fish, and tofu are good sources of lean protein.
Meanwhile, anti-inflammatory foods can be of great help as well. Tomatoes, spinach, almonds, walnuts, blueberries, strawberries, turmeric, and olive oil are just a few examples.
Proactive lifestyle choices like exercising at least 2.5 hours a week and avoiding unhealthy carbohydrates can help in diminishing insulin resistance. Losing weight can improve ovulation too. Engaging in yoga and meditation can minimize the stress that is caused by PCOS.