Lifestyle simply refers to a ‘way of life or style of living.’ It is a method used by individuals, groups, and nations and is based on specific geographical, economic, political, cultural, and religious texts. It includes the day-to-day behaviors and functions of individuals in their job, activities, fun, diet, and many other things.
According to WHO (World Health Organization), 60% of the factors that influence an individual’s health and quality of life are correlated to their lifestyle. Millions of people follow an unhealthy lifestyle. As a result, they encounter illness, disability, and even death. Similar is the case with the condition of PCOS(Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) in women.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition in which multiple cysts appear on the ovaries and the ovaries cease to function properly, resulting in a failure to release eggs regularly. Women with PCOS may experience irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles. They are often insulin resistant and have high levels of the male hormone androgen. As per a report, PCOS affects around 6% to 12% of women who are of reproductive age.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Irregular Periods: A lack of ovulation prevents the uterine lining from shedding every month. So women with PCOS get fewer than eight periods a year or none at all
- Heavy Bleeding: Since the uterine lining builds up for a longer period of time, the periods are usually heavier than normal.
- Hair growth: More than 70 percent of PCOS women grow hair on their face and body, including on their back, belly, and chest. This excess hair growth condition is termed Hirsutism.
- Acne: Excess androgen can make the skin oilier than usual and cause breakouts on areas like the face, chest, and upper back.
- Weight gain: More than 80 percent of women with PCOS are overweight or have obesity
- Male pattern baldness: Hair on the scalp gets thinner and may fall out.
- Darkening of skin: Dark patches of skin can form on the neck, in the groin, and under the breasts.
- Headaches: Hormone changes can cause headaches in some women.
Diet and lifestyle changes for PCOS
Lifestyle and health are closely related, and diet being a part of lifestyle, incorporating certain diet and lifestyle changes can help you with the condition of PCOS. So here are some of the diet and lifestyle changes for PCOS –
Maintain a healthy weight
Most of the women with PCOS are overweight or obese. Insulin resistance in the body of women with PCOS leads to weight gain. In addition, excess androgen may make it easier for the body to store fat around the waist, which could make insulin resistance even worse in women with PCOS.
However, a good percentage of women with PCOS do find that losing weight and controlling their diet does actually help them manage their symptoms and decrease their risk of developing the other chronic illnesses for which PCOS places them at a higher risk. Also, weight loss has often led to improved ovulation.
Exercise definitely has a positive effect on polycystic ovary syndrome. It not only helps with weight loss but also may reduce the concentration of testosterone in your blood. According to a number of studies, resistance training can help you improve your insulin sensitivity. Exercise can also improve your mental health, as polycystic ovary syndrome has often been linked with an increased risk for mental health disorders.
Exercises that engage your mind and body can help a lot. Yoga is a holistic combination of asanas, breathwork, and meditation, and each has its respective benefits. Together, as a combination, they work physically, psychologically, and physiologically.
PCOS and its associated symptoms can be incredibly stressful on you. Reducing your stress can help you manage your symptoms and make it easier for you to adapt to better diet and lifestyle changes for PCOS.
If you are feeling stressed, unhappy, alone or lost, it might be the symptoms of PCOS. So don’t underestimate the importance of your mental health and try to manage it by taking help from your family, friends or experts.
According to many studies, PCOS reversal is not possible without a PCOS-friendly diet. A well balanced diet has been proven to significantly improve hormonal imbalance and infertility. So your diet for PCOS can include
- Low glycaemic index: Green vegetables, most fruits, raw carrots, lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas. It will help you with your insulin resistance and weight management.
- Fibre-rich: Foods with high fibre content helps you feel full. So eat foods like black beans, kidney beans, flax seeds and fruits.
- Protein: Increasing your protein content will help you with metabolism and help you regulate your blood sugar level.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are useful in treating inflammation, blood sugar levels and PCOS
- Vitamin B12 and vitamin D: These two vitamins have been proven to help with PCOS. Add foods like eggs, fish, tofu and dairy products.
- Gluten-free: Reducing gluten consumption is helpful for women with PCOS. It’s like going on a gluten free PCOS and weight loss plan.
- PCOS supplements: You can also add some natural-based PCOS supplements to improve your condition.
PCOS is far more than Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It is a condition that could be improved by incorporating some diet and lifestyle changes for PCOS. Also, following a gluten free PCOS and weight loss plan is mandatory. Apart from this, patience is the key because you have to give time to your body to get results. Then, consistency must be maintained with your daily efforts. Furthermore, focus on having an overall balance. Finally, self discipline is also very critical to coping with your condition of PCOS.