PCOS affects more than 10 million women in the world. PCOS adversely affects women both physically and emotionally as it interferes with her fertility. If you have PCOS then getting pregnant becomes tough. So, let’s understand PCOS so that we can help ourselves or our loved ones fighting against it.
WHAT IS PCOS?
PCOS stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS is characterized by several cysts on the ovaries and hormonal imbalances that affect a woman’s regular menstrual cycle, causing excessive acne and hair growth especially on the face, and leading to infertility. The most common problem faced by women with PCOS is weight gain and difficulty in losing it.
The hormones responsible for this upheaval include- androgens, insulin and progesterone. Insulin as we know is hormones responsible for regulating blood glucose levels. Women with PCOS are overweight and also suffer from insulin resistance (decrease sensitivity of body cells to insulin action) owing to which they are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Androgens are basically male hormones. All Women produce a little amount of androgens but in case of women with PCOS, the androgens are produced in higher amounts leading to irregular periods, excessive acne and facial hair growth. Increased secretion of androgens on other hand is also triggered by insulin.
HOW TO TREAT PCOS?
Every woman with PCOS wants to know a cure for PCOS. But unfortunately there is no cure for PCOS, at least till date there is no cure. However there are treatments available to minimize the symptoms and reducing the intensity of symptoms have shown improvements in fertility and reduces other health risks.
- MEDICAL TREATMENT
There are many drugs that are administered to minimize the effect of the aforementioned hormones. Drugs to improve insulin sensitivity and curb androgen levels are common forms of treatment. In women, not looking to get pregnant, hormonal birth control pills are prescribed to regulate periods and decrease hair growth. For women desiring to get pregnant drugs that induce ovulations preferred choice of treatment. Oral medications as well as hormone injections are used depending on the severity of the symptoms.
Weight gain and insulin resistance are two main ills you need to brace yourself against. Research shows that reduction in weight as small as 5% of total body weight remarkable improves the symptoms associated with PCOS. Hormonal imbalances make it difficult to lose weight but one need to try.
Following a healthy and nutritious diet plan for PCOS helps you lose weight as well as nourishes your body. There are many nutrients deficiency seen in women with PCOS like iron, folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, b-complex vitamins, and trace minerals like chromium and selenium which lead to weight gain and also increase insulin resistance.
Changing your diet and adding healthy wholesome food will also help you regulate insulin production and improve insulin sensitivity. Many studies highlight the positive effects a PCOS diet has on the treatment outcomes of PCOS. A specially formulated PCOS diet plan for weight loss helps overcome hormonal resistance and give better outcomes. Don’t go for fad diet or quick weight loss techniques as they aggravate the hormonal imbalance and complicate the problem even more.
- PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Along with medical management and nutrition therapy, working out or exercising is equally important. It boosts your weight loss efforts and improves insulin resistance.
PCOS may not have a cure but changing your lifestyle, improving your eating habits and losing weight goes a long way to fight successful against the symptoms and harmful effects of PCOS.