If you have been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), you are not alone. In the United States, up to one out of 10 women of childbearing age have PCOS, and symptoms of the disease may present in girls as young as 11 years old. The disease, which is characterized by acne, facial hair growth, male pattern baldness, obesity and lack of menstruation, can cause a woman to be infertile. There are treatments that may be prescribed by a gynecologist to treat the disease, such as birth control pills, diabetes medications, and fertility drugs. However, there are things other than medication that can help treat PCOS. Here are a few:
Losing weight can help restore menstrual cycle regularity in a woman with PCOS. However, due to insulin resistance, weight loss may be more difficult than it is for people without the disease.
Insulin resistance causes the body to secrete large amounts of insulin to control blood sugar. Although the blood sugar may remain normal, the large amounts of insulin in the blood stream can cause the body to gain weight more easily. Still, you can lose weight by limiting your caloric intake, watching your diet and exercising or through bariatric surgery.
Eat Fewer Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates, such as sweets, white rice, and white bread, cause the release of large amounts of insulin. You can reduce the number of refined carbohydrates you eat by choosing vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, dairy and meats. Your diet doesn't have to be extremely restrictive to be effective against PCOS. The removal of simple carbohydrates can reduce the number insulin spikes that your body undergoes. In addition, the addition of more vegetables and fresh fruit to your diet can quickly lower your overall caloric intake to help you lose weight.
If you have PCOS, exercise can help your cells become more sensitive to insulin. As a result, less insulin is secreted by your body to control your blood sugar. Studies show that exercise with or without weight loss reduces insulin resistance. Still, you should exercise regularly. The positive impact of exercise tends to dissipate within 48 to 72 hours of your last workout.
If you suffer from PCOS, there are things you can do to help control the disease. If you suspect that you have PCOS but have not been officially diagnosed, schedule an appointment with a gynecologist in your area for evaluation.