POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME (PCOS)
But too much leisure, excess of disposable income and accessibility to various fast food joints has in itself proved to be a major health hazard, giving rise to a lot of life style diseases. One of those affecting us women is POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME, also known as PCOS.
PCOS is a hormonal disorder, which affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by multiple cysts that surface on the outer edge of the ovary.
Women usually consult the doctor, when one of these symptoms starts appearing. The symptoms include:
- Menstrual irregularities
- Hirsutism (excess facial & body hair)
- Acne and
Although the exact cause is not known, it usually tends to run in families. Though, nowadays, young school going girls are being diagnosed with PCOS, excess stress being the factor. Excessive insulin which boosts ovarian androgen production, estrogens dominance and progesterone deficiency are also thought to play a role.
Though, PCOS as such is not a treatable condition, it can be effectively managed, using certain conventional treatment which includes birth control pills, androgen blockers and the hormone stimulant leuprolide. Though medicines are prescribed in some cases, it can be taken for symptomatic, short term relief.
Long term relief can be gained by making various life style changes which includes diet and exercise.
A proper and informed diet will help manage the hormonal imbalances and its corresponding symptoms. A healthy diet can greatly reduce PCOS symptoms. The most obvious and distressing evidence of PCOS is excessive hair growth and obesity. Studies have revealed that 90% of all PCOS affected women are obese. Getting rid of the extra weight will improve the functioning of the ovaries due to the decreased load of fatty layers which cover it.
The first step is to reduce intake of all refined carbohydrates (baked goods, pasta, candy) to help lower blood insulin levels. The cells of most women with PCOS become resistant to insulin, the hormone that moves sugar into cell to burn as fuel. So, as the resistance increases, the pancreas produces more and more insulin, leading to weight gain and hormone disruption.
In simpler terms, women with PCOS, who are not careful with their diet, are most likely to become diabetic and obese.
Healthful diet options
1. Fruits, vegetables, legumes and seeds. The high fibre content of them helps curb cravings and balances blood sugar.
2. An optimum diet per day must include ½ cup (125 ml) cooked or 1 cup (250 ml) raw vegetables, like cauliflower, cabbage or broccoli in about seven to ten servings. These vegetables provide phyto nutrients, which help the liver detox enzymes, thereby balancing hormones.
3. Structuring your diet to exclude non-organic beef and poultry.[The oestrogen-like compounds called xenobiotics found in pesticides and insecticides, disrupts your system].
4. It is also best to avoid foods high in saturated and trans fat, such as meats, dairy and anything fried as they increase hormonal imbalances.
5. And finally, increase your omega-3 (found in fish and walnuts) and omega-9 (found in olive oil) intake, as they help reduce insulin resistance.
As said earlier, stubborn weight gain is of the symptoms and as with anybody, in addition to healthy eating, a regular workout helps in losing weight, which in turn will bring down your insulin levels, as exercise makes your body to absorb the hormone quickly. Studies show that almost all the women affected with PCOS got positive results, with just even the most moderate exercise. Any exercise provides improvement, regardless of the type. So ladies, select a set of exercise of your choice and stick with it. Exercise helps reduce insulin levels, increases weight loss and boosts ovulation.
Though some women with PCOS have difficulty in conceiving, with proper treatment most do. According to experts, less than 10% of the PCOS- affected women remain infertile. Though PCOS increases the possibility of multiple births i.e, twins, triplets and in rare cases, quadruplets. So, in a few cases, the PCOS may unwittingly be the reason for bringing home double bundles of joy. But, it is advisable for women with this condition to opt for pregnancies earlier, as it might become difficult to conceive later on.
Many PCOS affected women have this embarrassing problem of excess facial hair. To combat this problem, women may opt for superficial hair removal methods like threading or tweezing or they can go in for long term remedies like laser aided hair depletion, in severe cases. These provide lasting solutions and which are becoming more affordable by the day.
So, women out there, who discover that they have PCOS, take heart, that all is not lost. And by taking a few precautions, can live life to the fullest.
Women and health deals with a lot of issues which we kind of know and yet don’t bother to look into. Just read more and get an idea of how to look after yourself a little more Why Bother?, Heart Attack, Thyroid disorders in women and Bye to blues hi to a new you.