Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition that affects 10% of women. PCOS begins with a hormonal imbalance and can lead to the development of cysts on the ovaries. Too much androgen and / or insulin is created in the female’s body and can cause several issues which often cascades into other issues.
The main problem for a woman suffering from PCOS is her weight. The androgen prevents proper metabolism so a woman is more likely to become overweight through little or no fault of her own. She is also going to experience irregular periods, making it difficult – if not impossible – for a woman with PCOS to get pregnant. An excess of body hair typically accompanies the condition as does acne all over the body.
These issues can do more than just affect a woman’s mind. The combination of everything – the condition as a whole – can cause self esteem issues and emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, there is no cure for PCOS. Treatments include both the body and the mind, to help a woman live with the condition and cope with the effects it has on her.
If you are suffering from PCOS, know that you are not alone. Millions of woman all over the world are in the same boat as you, and they are managing their condition just fine. They are even beating the odds and doing what the doctors tell them: they are having children.
Managing through Diet
What you eat and drink can have an effect on your PCOS. Managing your condition through your diet can benefit you in several ways. First, like any diet, you are carefully watching what goes into your body, keeping too much of one nutrient out while taking in more of one you were lacking. This will help you manage any weight gain you may experience, in turn lowering your blood glucose levels. This will help your body process the extra insulin better and help you lose some of the weight. Weight loss can improve your menstrual cycle and stabilize it to a more-regular frequency.
Paying attention to your diet can also fight the condition. Certain foods have nutrients and vitamins that can reduce or reverse some of the other effects PCOS causes. Natural foods are always the best, but for PCOS sufferers it is more important. Avoid processed foods as some of the nutrients have been removed or fillers added.
Aim for foods high in fiber to help with digestion, allowing the body to process more of the excess insulin quicker and reduce the effects it has on your body. You should also remove carbohydrates from your diet as they break down into sugar. The less sugar you put into your body, the less there is to cause weight gain.
Exercising is Essential
A vast majority of Americans live a sedentary lifestyle. This is not a healthy way of living; we are not getting enough exercise to burn off all of the calories we are taking in on a daily basis. This lifestyle is definitely not good for someone with PCOS. You need to be active, moving! Your body is becoming insulin resistant because of the overabundance of the hormone; you are inadvertently putting on weight. You need to burn off all of those calories you are taking in before they can do their damage.
For a mild case of PCOS, some basic exercise can help regulate your weight. Walking or lightly jogging for 30 minutes a day can help. If your condition is severe, you will need to step up the exercise. Running instead of a brisk walk, riding a bike (even an exercise bike); you could even make it fun and take a dance class.
Whatever form of exercise you are comfortable with, make sure you build up a sweat. Doing this means that your body is working harder than it usually does, and this is what you need. Yes, it may be uncomfortable at first, but the physical results will be worth it. And thrill you get from exercise (caused by another hormone called endorphins) will have you feeling better as well.
Focus on the Mind
As briefly discussed above, the mind suffers with PCOS. The constant fight against the condition, with limited success at times, can be extremely devastating to a woman’s confidence. Being overweight; having excess hair on your arms, legs, and face; and especially for many women, not being able to give birth; these are all things that eat away at a woman’s resolve to fight back against their PCOS. Many women will develop depression or anxiety, worsening their condition.
Many women seek counseling. A therapist can oftentimes help you work through the emotions you experience because of your condition. While this can not get to the root cause of their self esteem issues – your PCOS is a constant – this can be effective for short periods of time, enough time for you to rebuild your resolve and get started on the path to managing your condition.
Another way women can focus their minds is through writing. Some women like to write their thoughts and issues down in a journal. It gives them clarity and relaxes them. If you are someone who likes to write your thoughts down, consider doing so in a blog instead. You can chronicle your battle with PCOS in a format that could help others. It may be uncomfortable for you to put yourself out there for your family and friends to read, but as you do so you will find that there may be someone else you know suffering from PCOS.
Your personal journey with the condition may inspire that someone to take steps to managing their own condition. Though your own blog, you could help that person, and others who may read your journey, take their first step to fighting back against their PCOS.
If you prefer something more physical, take up a hobby, or refocus on one you already have. Getting your mind into just one activity (make sure it is an active hobby) can cause you to forget. You can forget about your PCOS and what it is doing to you. You can focus on that little part of life that makes you happy and ignore all of your problems and stresses. Your hobby can heal and revitalize your mind to keep you from losing your resolve to fight.