7 Lifestyle Tips to Manage Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Sep 1, 2023
Dealing with weight gain, hair loss, menses issues, and infertility has been the par for the course with women. In fact, a condition named Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, might be the root cause of these said problems. You might be wondering, is there anything you can do to manage these signs and symptoms? Is there any PCOS lifestyle, treatment or solution to end all these once and for all?
Well, if truth be told, there is no cure for PCOS, for now. But on the bright side, making a few lifestyle changes can help manage your PCOS and support your health as a whole. So, where should you begin? Without further ado, let’s dive deeper into what we need to know about PCOS and, of course, some of the lifestyle changes or tweaking you can foster in the long run.
To Start, What Is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex yet common health problem that affects women’s ovaries and reproductive hormone levels. As a matter of fact, this prevalent condition takes a toll on 1 in every 10 women at their childbearing age. Though its exact cause is unknown, factors that play into it can range from genetic, hormonal and lifestyle.
How Does PCOS Affect Your Body?
Before we explore some common signs and stakes, bear in mind that not every woman with PCOS suffers from the same symptoms and struggles. To begin with, we will have a look into a list of common signs of PCOS before we jump into the risks of PCOS in later life if one dodges medical attention.
(1) Common Signs & Symptoms of PCOS You Should Look out for
- Irregular menstruation (Oligomenorrhea), heavy menstrual bleeding (Menorrhagia), or no periods at all (Amenorrhea)
- Trouble getting pregnant due to inconsistent ovulation or failure to ovulate
- Weight gain
- Excessive hair growth on face, chest, belly, back & buttocks
- Oily skin & acne on face, chest & upper back
- Hair loss & thinning on the scalp
- Skin darkening on the neck, groin, & under the breasts
(2) Potential Long-term Health Risks Caused by PCOS
- Type 2 diabetes & abnormal cholesterol level
- Infertility, miscarriage & other pregnancy complications
- Uterine bleeding
- Sleep apnoea among overweight women
- Anxiety & depression
- Obesity & fatty liver
- Metabolic syndrome such as high blood pressure, heart disease & stroke
Take Back Your Control with a Healthy PCOS Lifestyle
We are sure that you have been told about picking up good habits to keep PCOS symptoms at bay. Great advice indeed, but where to begin? We understand that making changes in lifestyle may seem daunting at times, especially alongside struggling symptoms.
However, we truly believe that you have the ability to transform your lifestyle. So, before we enlighten you with a list of PCOS lifestyle strategies for dealing with PCOS, bear in mind that consistency is key to success in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
(1) It All Begins with Self-love & Acceptance
Repeat after us: PCOS DOES NOT DEFINE ME! Yes, PCOS does not define you, and you have the power to manage its symptoms. Accept and embrace who you are today because life is a journey, after all. With this mindfulness that sets you up for the day and beyond, it will lead to positive changes in things you can only control, rather than on matters that no one can.
Moreover, we cannot emphasize enough on the subject of "self-love" throughout body, mind and soul. It is never selfish to put yourself first and choose your body over unhealthy habits your close ones urge you to do. Remind yourself to be kind to yourself and pat yourself on the back from time to time, even during small wins.
(2) Manage Stress & Talk to the One You Trust
Don’t let PCOS stop you from doing things you love and make you happy. Doing hobbies that clear your mind takes you away from stressful thoughts. It is vital to unfriend stress as it affects our mental health day-to-day. If left neglected, other lifestyle disorders, such as stress-eating or sugar cravings, will emerge, which then lead to diabetes and more.
Apart from your hobbies, maybe you can give yoga or meditation a try. Both these activities can help you stay relaxed and calm your storm of the day. In addition, sharing your struggles with people you trust helps too. Who knows? They might be your source of motivation in maintaining a PCOS-friendly lifestyle.
(3) Choose Healthy Food that Works for You
A healthy diet and eating habits go a long way in managing your PCOS. The anti-inflammatory diet is highly recommended for women with PCOS in hopes of restoring hormonal balance. Furthermore, your PCOS symptoms feed on your unhealthy food intake, so it is best to avoid processed food if possible.
Similar to high-sugar snacks, processed food can further increase the risk of developing other health issues. Hence, there is no better time than now to figure out which healthy food works for you so you can stick to your personal PCOS diet without hassle. There is no harm in switching up your healthy food with other alternatives as long as they fall under the category of a PCOS-friendly diet.
(4) Move Your Body Just the Way You Like It
Introducing movement into your daily life is easier than you think. Grab the opportunity throughout your day and try to move as much as possible, even for just a short while. Other than a simple fitness weekly plan, you can start with using the stairs instead of elevators, walking around post-meal, or maybe when you are on the phone.
All of these movements ensure an increased usage of glucose in your body as your metabolic rate rises as you go. Moreover, you can take this chance to regulate your body weight. And here is the fun part – the ideal exercise for one’s body varies from one woman to another. So, simply jot down the types of activities you wish to try and find out which you like the most.
(5) Adequate Sleeping Hours before a New Day
No more midnight social media scrolling! It is vital to get off your phone and stay away from blue light before bed. The presence of blue light before sleep will lead to lower melatonin – a sleep hormone that aids us in restful sleep.
Getting enough bedtime is one of the fundamental parts of managing PCOS symptoms effectively. How so? Well, for instance, the efficiency of blood sugar and hormone regulation throughout the day depends on our sleep quality. Most experts have suggested it is best for an adult to sleep at least 6 to 8 hours daily. Moreover, incorporating aromatherapy and reading physical books or magazines into your bedtime routine is beneficial too.
(6) Nourish Your Body with Ample Water Intake
It goes without saying that drinking water is beneficial for our bodily functions. Water fuels one’s body and mind, allowing us to stay energized throughout the day. Though this is a well-known fact, how can one ensure consistency with water intake? Well, there are a few ways to do so.
As a start, you can get your hands on a water bottle that catches not only your eyes but also your heart. You will eventually find yourself reaching out for your favourite water bottle. In addition, you can set an hourly alarm to keep yourself hydrated every hour. Most experts have suggested that we should consume at least 8 to 10 glasses of water daily. With an adequate amount of water, it is easier for your body to flush impurities out of your body.
(7) Choose the Right Supplements & Nutrients
No matter which supplements or dietary you consume to manage PCOS symptoms, it is crucial that you opt for those that are signed off and certified by organizations. And with that, you can have peace of mind knowing that what you put in your body is approved to consume after an extensive assessment by relevant parties.
On top of magnesium and vitamin D, Inositol deserves special mention when it comes to PCOS management. Supplement with Inositol is essential in insulin signalling, supporting insulin sensitivity and healthy blood sugar levels among women with PCOS. Also, Inositol has the capability to reduce acne, at the same time, promote normal androgens and cholesterol levels.
You Have the Power to Manage PCOS Symptoms
All in all, it is all about balance when practising healthy habits and lifestyle. Keep in mind that you can always change it up and pick up something new as long as it benefits your body. Give your body time to adjust to these PCOS lifestyle changes, take it at your own pace, and enjoy the progress.
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