Aside from taking my medications, what can I do to improve my symptoms of Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

Aside from taking my medications, what can I do to improve my symptoms of Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most prevalent endocrine-metabolic disorders in females affecting 5 to 10% of women (UpToDate). The exact cause of PCOS is unknown.

Women with PCOS can struggle with infertility (irregular periods) and weight gain, as well as with excessive facial and body hair growth, hair loss, and type II diabetes. All of which can affect mental health and self-esteem making PCOS a multisystem condition. 

Early diagnosis and treatment, along with nutrition and lifestyle, and weight loss in those that are overweight, may reduce the risk of long-term complications of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and trouble conceiving (UpToDate).

Research has shown the powerful role that lifestyle plays in the management of PCOS, the primary focus is eating high nutrient foods and developing an exercise routine that works for us. Create a healthier eating pattern by including a variety of fruits, whole grains, nuts & seeds, vegetables, and legumes. Aim for a colorful plate as often as you can.

Exercise increases insulin sensitivity while assisting in weight management. Studies have shown that exercise reduces total testosterone levels and body hair growth. Women who experience PCOS should aim for 30+ minutes of aerobic exercise 4-6 days per week, plus resistance training on 2 different days (Norma et al, 2002).

The key in maintaining an exercise routine is doing one that you want to do for fun or leisure, not with a focus of weight loss or a specific body shape. This can mean going on walks outside, playing tennis, or swimming in your pool.

PCOS is difficult to treat and it may require various approaches to your healthcare, but it is important to keep your goals in mind and be consistent with your lifestyle modifications and medications. 

This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.

There’s nothing more important than our good health – that’s our principal capital asset.

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