PCOS is a woman’s health condition in which the ovaries generate an unusual amount of androgens (male hormones) usually present in women’s small amounts. The term Polycystic Ovary Syndrome refers to a condition in which the ovaries develop a large number of small cysts (fluid-filled sacs).
If you have at least two of the resulting symptoms, your doctor may suspect PCOS:
- Irregular periods
- Cysts in your ovaries as revealed by an ultrasound examination
- Higher androgen levels (male hormones) are detected in blood tests or through symptoms such as acne, male-pattern baldness, or excess hair growth on your face, chin, or body.
In my case, the ultrasound showed small cysts in my ovaries and had some irregular periods. I experienced having periods twice a month!
Based on my experience and research, doctors are uncertain what prompts PCOS. However, they consider that high levels of male hormones restrain the ovaries’ ability to produce hormones and eggs as expected. Also, excess androgen production has been linked to genes, insulin resistance, and inflammation.
PCOS can become a serious problem if left untreated. If you don’t see a doctor and get treatment for your symptoms, they can all lead to other health problems like cancer, acne scars, and even heart disease. Other health issues that may arise include sleep apnea and difficulties conceiving. On the brighter side, PCOS can be managed to our good!
I’d like to share what I’ve learned while researching, understanding the condition, and improving and managing my health due to PCOS.
The Best Guide to Manage PCOS
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#1. Reduce Inflammation
It’s pretty hard to see or feel it, but inflammation is slowly wreaking havoc on our bodies. Inflammation occurs when we are naturally healing due to infection or injury. However, if we don’t eat healthy foods, don’t exercise, and have too much stress, these can induce unnecessary inflammation to our bodies that can destroy healthy arteries, organs, and joints.
Tips to reduce inflammation
- Load up on anti-inflammatory foods – Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Cut back or eliminate inflammatory foods – red meat and anything with trans fats, such as margarine, corn oil, deep-fried foods, and most processed foods.
- Control blood sugar – Limit or avoid simple carbohydrates, such as white flour, white rice, refined sugar, and anything with high fructose corn syrup.
- Make time to exercise.
- Maintain a healthy weight based on IBM
- Manage Stress
#2. Decrease Insulin levels
A hormone created by your pancreas is called insulin. It helps regulate blood sugar levels. There are many adverse effects if we let our insulin levels go up. It includes an increase in blood sugar which can cause inflammation.
An article suggested 14 tips to lower insulin levels.
- Maintaining a low-carb diet plan.
- Consider taking apple cider vinegar as a supplement.
- Keep a close eye on portion sizes.
- Reduce your sugar consumption in all forms.
- Make physical activity a priority.
- Try incorporating cinnamon into your favorite foods and beverages.
- When it comes to carbs, take complex carbs.
- Increase your overall level of activity.
- Think about intermittent fasting.
- Increase your intake of soluble fiber.
- If weight loss is recommended, concentrate on it.
- Include green tea in your diet.
- Consume more fatty fish.
- Obtain the proper amount and type of protein.
#3. Decrease Carbs
Our body’s principal source of energy is Carbohydrates. They can be found in various foods, either healthy or unhealthy foods. Carbs also come in many shapes and sizes, and sugars, fibers, and starches are the most common and abundant forms.
To decrease carbs, avoid or limit these 14 Foods:
- Bread and grains
- Some fruits, like sweet and dried fruits
- Starchy vegetables
- Sugary breakfast cereals
- Alcohol and beer, but dry wine and spirits are better alcohol options.
- Sweetened yogurt
- Low-fat and fat-free salad dressings. Better to use creamy dressings, olive oil, or vinegar.
- Beans and legumes
- Honey or sugar in any form
- Chips and crackers
- Gluten-free baked goods
#4. Decrease high impact exercise
High impact workouts require both feet to be lifted off the ground at the same time. Cross-training (jumping off plyo boxes or doing burpees) is one example. Others are running, jumping jacks, or knee-highs. Better to do simple exercises like walking, cycling, swimming, and yoga.
#5. Increase in Iron intake
Iron is required for the production of blood. About 70% of your body’s iron is found in red blood cells called hemoglobin and muscle cells called myoglobin. Hemoglobin is required for the transfer of oxygen from the lungs to the tissues in your blood.
To get iron, foods you can choose from including red meat, seafood, beans, and dark leafy vegetables. Along with that, increasing your vitamin C would be a great help. Vitamin C can be found in broccoli, grapefruit, leafy greens, melons, peppers, berries, and tomatoes.
In my case, I always include broccoli, leafy greens, and tomatoes in my cooking. I love them because they are easy to get and economical. I also prefer seafood and low-fat red meat like lean beef and mutton. Check out some of my home cooking ideas here!
#6. Spending time outdoors for Vitamin D
Many women who have PCOS also have a decrease Vitamin D. So, it is advisable to spend time outdoors for Vitamin D or take supplements. I always remember my OB on this. Every time I visit her, she urged me to sunbathe. She said that outdoor activities that include sun rays would help me a lot! And she never misses, lol.
#7. Increase of Calcium
In infertile women with PCOS, a study found that calcium and vitamin D supplementation improved weight loss, follicle maturation, menstrual regularity, and hyperandrogenism. Calcium-rich foods are as follows:
- Dairy foods like milk and cheese
- Green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale, and spinach
- Tofu and soya beans
- Plant-based drinks (such as soya drink) with added calcium
- Some nuts
- Bread and anything produced with fortified flour
- Fish such as sardines and pilchards
#8. Load up of Omega 3’s
Omega-3 fatty acids may help improve PCOS health by reducing metabolic disorders (insulin sensitivity, hyperinsulinemia, lipid profile, obesity, and inflammation). You can get omega-3 from mackerel, salmon, cod liver oil, herring, oysters, sardines, anchovies, caviar, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.
Honestly, I was scared at first, knowing that I needed to change some habits to improve my health. And, I didn’t know what to expect because I was afraid my family and friends would judge me negatively due to my changes.
It took a lot of courage, adjustments, and a great will to battle drastic changes in my habits, food intake and maintain it. I’m super grateful that my family and friends are supportive, especially my hubby!
Therefore, PCOS is manageable with a healthy diet and regular exercise!
There may be some confusion or contradiction about what to eat or what not. So, the best thing I can suggest is that you consult your doctor and or nutritionist. Tell them what you think about your health, eating habits, and so on. Ask them about the things that bother you. Then, they can surely advise you on what foods to avoid or take, exercise, and what to do.
Thank you very much if you are a man and have read this content! Understanding a woman is extremely difficult, but educating yourself is a great place to start. It’s the most beneficial thing you can do for the women around you. You never know when this knowledge will come in handy.
Stay safe and healthy, Lounger!
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