PCOS: An Abridged Study Of Facts And Myths

By Priyanka Singh Deo
(Fitness & Nutrition Expert)

What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormonal condition that women can get during their childbearing years. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs which may lead to infertility.


Hormonal changes that occur:
Androgens: Women with PCOS tend to have a higher level of androgen which are said to be male hormones because of which they tend to develop some manly features like having extra facial hairs.
Progesterone: progesterone level reduces leads to delayed or missed periods.
Insulin: Women with PCOS may have impaired insulin secretion which may lead to diabetes.
Symptoms:
More facial hairs.
Delayed periods or infertility
Weight gain or obesity
Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes
Causes:
The actual cause is yet not known. This can be genetic but no sound evidence yet available.
Diagnosis:
A proper blood test with all hormonal levels, blood sugar along with an ultrasound to check the presence of cyst in the uterus can be performed.
PCOS treatment:
There is no specific treatment available for PCOS. There are medications to reduce the symptoms like metformin for diabetes, fertility medications to help ovaries release eggs and other dermatological treatment to reduce facial hair.


How to Manage PCOS:
Management of PCOS focuses on lifestyle changes to alleviate the symptoms and lower the associated risks of diabetes. As per studies, even a weight loss of 5-10% have shown significant differences in the PCOS symptoms.
Few healthy habits which may help here are as follows:
Maintain a low carb diet: Eating a low-GI, low-carb diet may reduce insulin levels in women with PCOS. In turn, this could help with weight loss.
Having a good amount of fibres: Having enough fibre will keep you fuller for a longer duration and will also help in reducing the GI of any food and hence is proved to be beneficial to reduce insulin resistance and body weight.
Eating enough Protein: Protein is said to have a good thermic effect and satiety index and hence it keeps all the craving for any fatty or high carb food at bay thus indirectly helps in reducing the weight. It also helps in maintaining good muscle mass which results in increasing the metabolism.
Eating probiotics: Healthy gut bacteria may play a role in metabolism and weight maintenance. Studies suggest that women with PCOS may have fewer healthy gut bacteria than women without this condition. Additionally, emerging research suggests that certain probiotic strains may have positive impacts on weight loss. As such, eating foods high in probiotics — such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods — may help increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut. One can also try taking a probiotic supplement to get the same results.
Limiting processed Food: Processed foods such as refined carbs and added sugars — increase blood sugar levels, which can lead to weight gain.
Doing crash dieting: Chronic calorie restriction may slow down your metabolism, possibly leading to weight gain. Instead of forcing yourself to eat less food, try to adopt a diet of whole, unprocessed foods with low carbohydrates to help with weight loss.
Strength Training: Numerous studies have been conducted and prove the benefits of strength training in lowering the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases. Strength training also helps in increasing your muscle mass and metabolism and hence have shown to aid women with PCOS.
Conclusion:
PCOS is most cases can be a family issue and there is no such clear evidence known on the cause yet. Losing weight is a struggle for women having PCOS but if they follow a good diet and do regular exercise, the majority of its symptoms can be taken care of. Women with PCOS just have to be very mindful about their eating pattern and incorporate habits to bring a healthy change in their lifestyle.

(Picture Credits: Internet)

About The Author:

Priyanka Singh Deo is a certified Nutrition and Fitness expert from the Institute of Nutrition and Fitness science and a Certified Yoga trainer from the Yoga Certification Board, Ministry of Ayush, Government of India. Currently, she works with FITTR as a Nutrition and Fitness Coach. Having experience in handling more than 500 clients, fitness is more of a lifestyle for her. Even with a current IT job and having all household chores with a kid of 6 YO, she always believes on maintaining a perfect balance between our life and our fitness as this is the only thing which is going to empower us all our life and stay with us throughout.