Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS battle with many symptoms that affect their lives in ways that can be physically and mentally challenging. Due to high levels of the male hormone, women are faced with weight problems, irregular menstrual cycle, constipation, unwanted facial and body hair, acne, hair loss and mental health issues.
Furthermore, PCOS can cause complications such as obesity, diabetes, endometrial cancer, depression, infertility, and if successful at becoming pregnant, miscarriage or premature birth. The hormone imbalance in women is mainly caused by genetics and there is no cure for the disease.
Fortunately, women with PCOS can manage the problem with medication and a few lifestyle changes. This is usually the recommendation given by doctors treating women with the condition. In reality, making these changes is not as easy as it sounds.
PCOS causes you to feel hungry despite eating, fatigued even after sleeping a lot, moody on different days, and frustrated for numerous reasons. On top of dealing with work and family life, you have to eat bland tasting foods, take metformin as recommended by your doctor, do glucose testing daily, have a bloated stomach despite doing crunches, and spend endless hours and money treating acne and hair loss.
The good news is that women who find the power to fight through the rainy days with PCOS and make the necessary lifestyle changes, find success with managing the condition. They lose weight, regulate their periods and bowel movements, grow their hair naturally, obtain smooth skin, and have brighter moods more often. They ovulate, get pregnant, have healthy babies, and get accustom to the lifestyle that seemed impossible when they started. Here are 5 tips for managing PCOS.
5 tips for managing PCOS
1. Eat less fats and carbohydrates
Women can manage their weight and reduce the risk of diabetes by following a low carbohydrate or low glycemic index diet. Cut your sugars, carbohydrates and fatty foods in half. This means to eat less breads, pastries, rice, ground provisions, use little or no sugar in your tea and drinks, and ease up on the fried foods and alcohol.
If you are accustomed to eating four slices of bread for breakfast then try two slices but with more protein in between. At lunch time, eat less rice or pasta with more peas, meats, and green vegetables on your plate.
2. Relieve stress to treat PCOS
According to science writer Laurie Ray, women with PCOS are about three times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than people without PCOS. The reasons for this are still unclear.
First thing you should do is find out the source of your stress. Is the problem your boss, partner, parent, children, friend, or neighbour? If so, then work on your relationships immediately. At the same time, relax your nerves with techniques such as deep breathing, reading a book, writing in a journal, listening to music and exercising.
3. Work out daily
In order to maintain a healthy weight, you need to burn calories every day since you eat foods every day. The challenge for women with PCOS is to overcome the exercise struggle by finding energy to work out. This requires making adjustments to your lifestyle which would benefit your health in numerous ways.
First, calculate your Body Mass Index or BMI using your age, height and weight and you will see what is considered your “normal weight” according to the World Health Organisation. Then, practise yoga daily like Sun Salutation, join a gym, make laps around your block, or work out in front your TV or computer. You can even do something that does not feel like exercise like starting a home garden, doing some landscaping around your yard, wining your waistline or playing a sport.
4. Visit your gynaecologist often
Many women may visit their OBGYN every 3 years for a recommended Pap smear. Women with PCOS should visit their doctor as often as possible to get all the necessary advice, screenings and medications to treat their condition. If a Pap smear shows abnormality at any time, a woman may be advised to have one done every six months.
When you are trying to get pregnant, you may be advised to have a Progesterone test, Oral Glucose Tolerance test and a Hysterosalpingogram or HSG done. After knowing your status, you can be treated accordingly by your doctor. Many women with PCOS are successful at becoming pregnant after treatment.
5. Take your medications for PCOS
It is very important to note that when treating PCOS, you must take all medications as prescribed. It is common for women with PCOS to use birth control or Metformin to regulate periods and Clomid if you are trying to conceive. Also, your doctor may recommend you take a progesterone supplement and folic acid. Some tablets may be taken one, two or three times daily with meals. To avoid missing your dosages, you can set alarms to alert you each time you need to pop a pill.
Some may find it very difficult to manage a strict diet, stay stress-free, exercise daily, visit a doctor often, and still maintain a tablet schedule, but the effort is worth it. By doing what it takes to treat PCOS, as a result, you will achieve your “normal weight”, lower your risk of getting diabetes or ovarian cancer, have a better head of hair, clearer skin, an improved self-esteem, frequent periods, ovulation and a greater chance of having healthy babies.
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