PCOS is an urban epidemic among young women of reproductive age! 1 in 5 women in India and 1 in 10 women of child-bearing age worldwide have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome! It is a complex mixture of many symptoms which affect a woman’s fertility or ability to get pregnant, period cycle, appearance, and weight. It is one of the main reasons for infertility in women of reproductive age making it difficult for them to conceive. It also affects a woman’s self esteem as it affects their appearance and weight.
Causes of PCOS
The top one among the issues isHormone imbalance.
Androgen hormones– Some women can have high amounts of male hormones or androgen in their bodies. This causes excess facial hair growth and acne.
Insulin Resistance (IR): Women with PCOS may have high blood sugar. Insulin is a special component made in the body to maintain blood glucose levels. When the body cannot use a hormone called insulin to lower blood sugar quantity it can lead to diabetes.
The egg is not produced, and the uterus is not cushioned enough for the egg or pregnancy. In some people, small compartments of fluids called Cysts can grow in the ovaries and make them produce less eggs. This causes irregular periods.
Can be genetic– If women in the previous generations have had PCOS the following generations can also develop it.
How is PCOS usually treated? and why are these methods of treatment harmful?
The most common methods of treating PCOS include the following:
To regulate cycles: Birth control pills and progestin therapy They contain artificial estrogen and progestin hormones. It tells the ovaries and uterus to work in a specific way to prevent pregnancy. They also reduce the quantity of male hormones in the body.
To make a woman ovulate: Metformin and Gonadotrophins tell the ovaries to produce eggs. Metfomin is also used to make a woman’s body control blood sugar levels or it help increasing insulin sensitivity of the body.
To reduce excess facial hair growth: Spironolactone -It lowers the level of androgen in the body to reduce facial hair.
The above are temporary solutions withnegative side effects. The above mentioned methods only treat the symptoms. They do not help manage PCOS in a holistic manner. Drugs like spironolactone, birth control pills, metformin and other drugs are also laden with harmful chemicals and have long term negative side effects.
Is there a natural cure for PCOS?
The most emphasized solution is a making life-style changes which include a proper custom diet and exercise/ physical activity.It is important to consume the right foods and avoid certain ingredients/ foods to help manage symptoms associated with PCOS.
Exercise: Include some form of moderate exercise like yoga, jogging, cycling, brisk walking or swimming. Exercise help balance hormones, burns fat and manages weight. It also helps keep the mood swings in check! It also lowers the risk of developing diabetes and other diseases.
Restful sleep: Adequate sleep is vital to balance hormones. It keeps mood swings in check, improves insulin sensitivity and helps curb cravings for carbs to help manage weight. One should make sure she gets at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Practice proper sleep hygiene. Sleep in a cool dark room. Stay away from screens starting 1 to 2 hours before bed. Limit consumption of alcohol and caffeine which can interfere with quality of sleep!
Be wary of the products you use– They can contain chemicals which can worsen hormonal imbalance These chemicals are called endocrine disruptors. They interfere with the natural hormonal balance in the body. Do not buy any personal care products or foods containing these endocrine disruptors:
4. IMPORTANT FACTOR OF ALL – DIET! Diet goes a long way in helping manage PCOS symptoms. Below are the foods you should avoid and include in your daily diet.
Processed and packaged foodslike sweetened cereals, cakes, cookies, packaged yogurt contain preservatives, refined sugar, saltwhich can interfere with weight loss and your hormone system as well.So avoid the consumption of red and processed meats, pizza, doughnuts and French fries.
Caffeine and alcoholcan cause an imbalance in hormones that can cause weight gain and reduce the quality of sleep.
DIET SHOULD INCLUDE
Low carbohydrate and high protein quantity diet.Consuming protein with every meal will keep your stomach full for prolonged periods of time. It will help manage blood sugar levels The body also needs protein to make and balance estrogen and progesterone which are required for regular period cycles. Plant based sources of protein include tofu, nuts, seeds, pea protein, legumes. It is important to keep the carb quantity less to reap the benefits of protein. For carbohydrate source look at less refine options/ whole grains, Brown, red or hand pound rice, quinoa, etc. Examples: Have more rajma or daal or chole compared to the quanitiy of rice.
Consume plenty of fiber. Fiber will help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. High fiber foods are more satiating and keep your stomach full for long periods of time. It will also help in weight loss by reducing body fat in women with PCOS. Fiber is present in natural foods like Fruits – Berries, bananas Whole grains- brown rice, whole oats, quinoa Seeds – flax seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds
5.SUPPLEMENT THE DIET
Natural ingredients – Ayurvedic herbs The following herbs are commonly used in PCOS treatment in Ayurveda
Ashwagandha– It helps reduce stress and anxiety by balancing cortisol(stress hormone) levels in the body
Tulsi– It can keep androgen level and and insulin level under control
Shatavari– Shatavari contains special components called steroidal saponins which help control estrogen levels in the body and in turn helps regulate menstrual cycles.
Ashoka– Makes the ovaries function properly and control heavy period flow
Lodhra– Lodhra balances the hormones which tell the ovaries to produce eggs. It can also lower the level of androgens/ male hormones in the body to reduce facial hair and acne.
Garcinia Cambogia– It is also known as Malabar tamarind. It helps burn fat
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