What You Should Know About PCOS?
Are you someone who is suffering from the problem of irregular periods or the growth of facial hair? Then it is high time that you get an appointment with a gynaecologist. These symptoms might be caused due to Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). If you have never heard about the term before then you must be wondering what is PCOS? Read on to know more about this ovarian disease.
PCOS is a disorder which causes the enlargement of ovaries and imbalance of hormones in a woman’s body. This is a lifestyle disease that has taken the world of women by storm. It is very similar to that of a Polycystic Ovary Disorder diagnosis but the only difference is that the latter is an endocrinal problem or metabolic syndrome.
Women who are suffering from PCOS produce a relatively higher amount of male hormone in the body than those who do not have PCOS. The increase in androgen levels can impact the monthly ovulation cycle and disrupt the period cycles. This causes the eggs to form as cysts and settle on the ovaries. PCOS causes the ovaries to get enlarged in size.
What Causes PCOS?
There are a lot of PCOS causes and symptoms. We are going to discuss a few of them:
- As per a lot of research conducted all around the world, it is suggested that genes can be one of the big reasons for PCOS. This polycystic disorder can run in the family.
- An unhealthy lifestyle can be one of the reasons for PCOS and therefore, one should never lead a sedentary lifestyle.
- Insulin resistance is another big reason for the PCOS problem in women around the world. Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas to help our body use the sugar from the foods we eat to produce energy. Extra amounts of insulin trigger our ovaries to generate more male hormones.
- A lot of research shows that one of the major causes of PCOS is low-grade inflammation. Low-grade inflammation can lead to the production of more androgens, which, in turn, causes PCOS.
What are the problems that women with PCOS face?
There are PCOS symptoms checklist and problems, here are some of them:
- Obesity is one of the major causes of PCOS and the symptoms include breathlessness, increased sweating, snoring and sudden increase in weight. Obesity can cause insulin resistance, which might lead to risk for type 2 diabetes.
- The most known PCOS effects include improper period cycles. Women suffering from both these ovarian disorders cannot determine their proper mensuration date.
- Heavy bleeding during periods is another sign and symptom of PCOS. The uterine lining in these types of patients usually builds up for a longer period of time, which can lead to heavy bleeding.
- Excessive hair fall, facial hair or pimples on the skin can be signs of PCOS.
- Dark patches on the skin or near breasts can also be a sign of PCOS.
- PCOS can cause unbearable cramps in the lower abdomen during periods.
- Women with PCOS can face fertility problems. Irregular periods can make it difficult to conceive.
The prevalence rate of PCOS:
According to reports published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the year 2012, it was estimated that polycystic ovaries disorder has affected around 116 million women, which is around 3.4% in the world. Globally, the prevalence rate of PCOS is highly variable, which can range from 2.2% to as high as 33%.
Low Detection rate:
As per a report published by Futterweit, it was estimated that 50 to 70 percent of women around the world are unaware of the fact that they are suffering from PCOS. One of the main reasons behind this can be that they do not have any symptoms of this polycystic ovarian disease. This is why it is suggested that women of all ages should go for USG at least once a year.
How is PCOS detected?
If you have any symptoms that are mentioned above, your doctor will suggest you go for an ultrasound test and blood test.
- Blood test will detect the amounts of androgen hormones in your body. The normal androstenedione levels in women are between 0.7 to 3.1 ng/mL. Anything high to this level is considered as PCOS.
- Ultrasound will show follicles on your ovary. Each dark circle on the ultrasound image shows a fluid-filled follicle in the ovary. Generally, if a person has more than 20 follicles in each ovary, then it is considered to be PCOS.
Managing PCOS through Nutrition
The first and foremost thing that any gynaecologist will suggest to a PCOS patient is to control their weight and this can be done by following a proper PCOS diet plan.
- Include more protein to your diet like eggs, fish, legumes, etc.
- Keep yourself away from carbohydrates like white bread, biscuits and rice.
- Do not consume sugar as it can increase your insulin levels.
- Stay away from starchy and fatty food items.
- You can include supplements that contain ashwagandha, Shatavari, etc., as it helps in regulating your hormones.
- Try to include seeds to your diet.
Nutritional Pyramid For PCOS:
- Increase your physical activity
If you are suffering from PCOS, then the first and foremost thing that any gynaecologist will suggest you is to reduce your weight and keep yourself active. A sedentary lifestyle is a strict no for PCOS. Join a gym, do yoga or do anything that you like. Be stress-free and enjoy happy moments with your family and have healthy meals together.
- Include a plant-based diet and avoid refined carbs
Try to consume more and more fresh vegetables and fruits, as these contain lots of vitamins and minerals along with fibers. Try to add olive oil to your diet instead of butter. Make sure you eat healthy carbs (for energy production in the body) like brown bread, oats, brown rice, etc. You should also include various seeds like sunflower, chis, flax, etc. to your daily diet plan.
- Increase your water intake
Consuming good amounts of fluid helps in reducing weight and we all know PCOS is directly proportional to weight. So, make sure to drink at least 3 to 4 litres of water regularly.
- Increase the consumption of fish
Try to have fishes (low in mercury) at least twice a week. The fishes that are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids acts as a natural medicine for PCOS.
- Protein consumption
Although your first focus must be on vegetables, fruits and legumes, you should not forget the importance of protein, so be sure to fulfil your daily protein requirement.
- Red wine consumption
It is suggested for PCOS patients to stay away from alcohol, but drinking a glass of red wine occasionally can help in dealing with the disease.
- Say no to red meat and sweets
Try to keep as much distance as you can from red meat and sweets. Red meats like beef, mutton, pork, etc contain saturated fats and cholesterol, which is harmful for patients suffering from PCOS. Sweets like packed juices, pastries, etc., can affect the insulin levels of your body, so try to avoid them as much as you can.
What are the potential repercussions if the disease is undetected?
PCOS diagnosis at an early stage is very important, otherwise, it can lead to various other problems starting from infertility to weight gain. This might also lead to diabetes, indigestion, and much more.
Dos and Don’ts
If you want a PCOS cure, then you have to make serious changes in your lifestyle.
- Limit your consumption of deep-fried junk food items and other processed foods.
- Go for an ultrasonography every year.
- Don’t skip exercise, keep yourself active. Remember, movement is your friend.
- Don’t drink aerated drinks or alcoholic beverages.
- Before planning for pregnancy make sure you visit an obstetrician and get proper treatment.
Recommended activity plans for PCOS:
Increase in weight is the major cause of this lifestyle disorder, and therefore one needs to keep her weight under control in order to treat this ovarian disease. Here are a few PCOS weight loss exercises that you can follow:
- Do weight training
- Go for morning walks
- Most of the PCOS weight gain occurs at the belly area and therefore do exercises like push-ups, crunches for reducing belly fat.
- You can go to aerobics classes
Some yoga asanas that will help in regulating your period cycle and help in PCOS management:
- Butterfly pose/ Baddha Konasana is the best solution for PCOS as it works on your pelvic muscles and helps in regulating hormones that lead to period cycle management.
- Bow pose/ Dhanurasana helps in reducing your belly fat and improving your reproductive system
- Camel Pose/ Ustrasana helps in regulating your periods and decrease menstrual cramps
- Bhujangasana is great for enhancing your reproductive organs
Conclusion: Now that you are well aware of the PCOS causes, symptoms and treatments, make sure to share the awareness among women of all ages (especially between 16 to 45). Stay healthy!