Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Taking care of a woman’s health is as equal as taking care of everyone in the family. A woman plays multiple roles from being a homemaker to working at a company and holds many responsibilities throughout her entire life.
Today, let’s talk about one of the most common lifestyle disorders seen majorly among women these days which is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome also known simply as PCOS, and about its prevention and cure.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects and disturbs a woman’s normal hormone levels. Women with PCOS tend to produce male hormones, which are usually higher than the normal levels. This kind of hormone imbalance affects their menstrual cycle and might cause them to skip their periods which can, of course, make it harder for them to get pregnant in the future.
PCOS is more of a “syndrome” which means having a group of symptoms that affects the ovaries. It can lead to:
• Cysts in the ovaries
• High levels of male hormones
• Irregular or skipped periods
In PCOS, many small, fluid-filled sacs grow inside the ovaries. In this condition, the female hormones like estrogen and progesterone levels are lower than usual while male hormone-like androgen levels are higher than usual.
How PCOS affects women and its common symptoms
While some women can notice the symptoms around the first time of their periods, in case they don’t get started with the same after a certain age or if they don’t get their periods every month and face a disturbed cycle. Whereas some of them can discover PCOS after gaining a lot of extra weight or if they are facing trouble getting pregnant for a long time.
Common symptoms of PCOS:
Irregular periods: The cysts in the ovaries do not let the uterine lining shed every month. Women with PCOS get fewer or no periods on a regular basis. It can cause infertility.
Excess body hair growth: As with PCOS, women produce more amount of male hormones, which causes them to produce extra and frequent hair growth on their body too. They usually develop hair on unusual areas like the face, belly, back & chest.
Acne: Due to male hormones, women are prone to oilier skin which can lead to some acne breakouts on their face, chest, and upper back areas.
Weight gain: Women with PCOS can gain extra, unhealthy weight easily and develop fat especially in their abdominal area. This can cause obesity in the future, making it risky for them to suffer from more lifestyle diseases like heart stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc.
Male-pattern baldness: PCOS can affect women’s hair on the scalp as it can get thinner and fall out just as men face the same issues with hair after a certain age.
Darkening of the skin: PCOS can lead to dark patches & creases on a woman’s body especially in the areas of the neck, groin, and under the breasts.
Headaches: PCOS can make women suffer from frequent headaches & also trigger mood swings too. It can not only affect their physical but mental state too. It might make them feel depressed and anxious in a long term.
What causes PCOS?
Although, there could be multiple or different causes of PCOS among women. But here are the most common reasons behind women suffering from PCOS:
Sedentary lifestyle: A sedentary life, where women do not move a lot physically or stay inactive can cause them to gain extra weight which can lead to obesity after a period of time. This can also make it likely for them to suffer from PCOS as weight gain is one of the major symptoms of it.
Inflammation: Women with PCOS often have increased levels of inflammation in their bodies due to higher androgen levels. Being overweight can also contribute to inflammation.
Genetic: Obesity runs in families genetically too. Due to family environment, habits, or biologically. PCOS can get transferred from woman to woman in the families. However, it is completely possible to cure it. Genetics is not a restriction.
Stress: PCOS itself is known to cause stress, particularly over the physical symptoms of the condition, such as excessive facial and body hair. This stress can lead to anxiety and depression. However, vice versa, stress can also lead to PCOS due to hormonal imbalances & stress excessive eating.
How to Prevent and Cure PCOS:
A good sleep routine: Having a decent sleep schedule is the first step to cure & prevent yourself from PCOS. A disturbed sleep cycle can imbalance our hormonal levels, can end up making us feel stressed & even lead to extra weight gain. All of these combined factors can lead to PCOS. Work on building a habitual sleep routine like going to bed early and having a good quality sleep at least for 7-8 hours every night.
Exercise: Exercising can help cure PCOS as not only it would help burn fat but also release happy hormones which can reduce anxiety, stress & other risks of obesity-related lifestyle disorders.
Reduced consumption of processed foods: Excess intake of processed or refined foods can lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar, which can disturb the insulin levels among women, making them prone to diabetes & insulin resistance is highly linked to PCOS. Extra consumption of processed foods like cold drinks, biscuits, sugar-loaded chocolates, candies, refined flour, chips, junk food can be harmful especially for women prone to such risks of diabetes & PCOS. Intake of fiber-rich foods like whole wheat flour, oats, quinoa, vegetables, whole fruits can help promote satiety & maintain blood sugar levels, reducing the chances of PCOS & help cure it.
Protein-rich diet: Protein is one of the most essential nutrients needed for the good functioning of our body. It helps increase muscle mass which tends to enhance our metabolism which can help reduce fat and maintain a healthy weight to cure PCOS. Rich sources of protein are eggs, lean meat, dairy products, lentils & legumes, soy products, etc.
Hydration: The more you drink water, the better it is for your health and also to cure PCOS. As water helps us reduce false hunger or those extra cravings for sugary and high-calorie foods. It helps us aid weight loss, maintain blood sugar & overall enhance the regulation of our body.
Consult a Doctor: Consulting a doctor along with following a healthy lifestyle is the way to cure PCOS. Though, some cases can be solved with active & healthy lifestyle factors alone. However, if your case is quite complicated, there are some medicines that your doctor can prescribe. Make sure to introduce healthy changes in your lifestyle & take your medications properly.