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PCOS in women is a result of the overproduction of androgens hormones, which causes multiple cysts in their ovaries. It is characterized by an irregular menstruation cycle or no menstruation at all. Around half of the women diagnosed with PCOS are overweight or obese.
The common symptoms of PCOS are acne, hirsutism (excessive hairiness) and male pattern baldness. If the symptoms of PCOS are not managed, women with PCOS might be at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and endometrial cancer.
Making better dietary and lifestyle choices can help manage PCOS symptoms and related risks. Choose to get daily diet suggestions from certified nutritionists with FITFEAST. Avail customized diet charts to suit your bodily needs and personal preferences. Looking for convenient ways to workout? Attend multiple sessions of different workouts near your home or office. Access multiple gyms and fitness centers to get fit and stay fit on your term.
No tests can definitively diagnose PCOS. The doctor will discuss your menstrual periods, weight fluctuations (if any) along with any other medical history. Physical exams usually include checking acne, insulin resistance, and excess hair growth. Apart from this, the doctor might advise you to get:
- Blood Tests – to measure hormone levels. The efficacy of the PCOS treatment can be improved by excluding the other possible causes of menstrual abnormalities or androgen excess. Glucose tolerance, fasting cholesterol, and triglyceride levels might be checked as well.
- Pelvic Exam – the doctor might inspect the reproductive organs for abnormalities such as masses and growths.
- Ultrasound – allows the doctor to analyze the appearance of your ovaries and the uterus lining thickness. A transducer (wand-like) device is used to carry out a transvaginal ultrasound. The device uses sound waves to create an image on a monitor for observation.
Additionally, the doctor might advise you to periodically monitor your blood pressure, glucose tolerance, and cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Screenings for depression, anxiety or obstructive sleep apnea might also be suggested.
Insulin levels are usually high in women with PCOS. Produced by the pancreas, this hormone helps the body cells to turn glucose into energy. Blood sugar levels rise if your body doesn’t produce enough insulin. It is also possible for you to be insulin resistant, which means that your body is unable to produce enough insulin. Consequently, the body might produce high levels of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels, which leads to the ovaries producing more androgens.
Being overweight is often related to insulin resistance, which can make it harder to lose weight. This is why a PCOS diet chart excludes refined carbohydrates such as sugary foods that make weight management difficult. Here are 5 tips for PCOS:
Insulin resistance can be managed by consuming high-fiber foods, which help in slowing down digestion and reducing the impact of sugar on blood. Therefore, women with PCOS can benefit from high-fiber foods. Include cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. in your diet. Include green leafy vegetables, red leaf lettuce, arugula, beans & lentils, almonds, berries, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin.
It is essential to eat at regular intervals, especially for women with PCOS. Studies suggest that having a hearty breakfast and alight dinner help with balancing hormones. Women participants of a study, consumed half of their calories for breakfast witnessed a significant decrease in their insulin and testosterone levels within 3 months. These women ovulated more often as compared to those who ate little for breakfast and more for dinner. The size of the dinner must be reduced if you want to have more for breakfast.
Eating omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods balances hormones and insulin levels. Oily fish, avocados, olive oil, seeds, and unsalted nuts are good examples of healthy fats. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements reduce insulin resistance. Replace unhealthy fats and fried and processed foods with whole foods; have more fruits and vegetables. Consuming unsaturated fats instead of carbs reduces blood insulin levels, especially in obese women.
Reducing carb intake is associated with improved hormone levels in addition to weight loss. Reducing carb-intake decreases insulin production in the body as well. This helps reduce the symptoms over time. Incorporating a low carb diet helps lose weight, which helps maintain blood sugar levels in addition to reducing appetite and hunger cravings. Foods to avoid with PCOS include white bread, sugar, white flour, etc.
Some supplements ease PCOS symptoms, according to studies. Vitamin D deficiency is known to manifest symptoms similar to those of PCOS; obesity, reduced ovulation, and insulin resistance. Your doctor might prescribe you Vitamin D supplements. While it does not have any side effects, you shouldn’t take it without consulting your doctor. The biggest reason for Vitamin D deficiency is not getting enough sun. Women with PCOS might need the mineral chromium, which boosts the functionality of insulin. Eating foods like broccoli, tomatoes, fruits, nuts, shellfish, and mussels can provide the needed amount of this nutrient.
There are many benefits of exercising regularly, especially for PCOS patients. Research suggests that exercise benefits ovulation in addition to reducing insulin resistance and promoting weight loss. Working out and eating healthy improve body composition in overweight and obese women. Just 3-4 hours of exercise each week is enough to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce weight.