All The Things You Need To Know If You’re Living With PCOS (In Very Short!)

Posted: March 2, 2019

Have you heard about PCOS? I am sure you must have. And if you haven’t, then let me take you through what PCOS is all about.

PCOS or Poly cystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal imbalance which can happen during the child bearing stage, say between 20-40 years of age. With Poly cystic ovarian syndrome setting in there are a whole range of symptoms which a woman might go through. However these can vary from person to person. If I have to put it down in simple words, PCOS means an increase in the ratio of male hormones also known as androgens out of which the testosterone levels are at their peak.

During my practice I come across many women who are suffering from PCOS, but to my dismay, know very little about the given syndrome/disorder. They are baffled, scared, and clueless about it, and at times are mislead by a few doctors who tell them that they would not be able to conceive or get periods normally if they aren’t consuming metformin (given for insulin resistance,TBT is a diabetic drug) or contraceptives.

Lack of awareness and education on the given topic leaves women with PCOS hapless and petrified which in turn forces them to acquire information through a Google search; and what do I say! It is enough to confuse them further, leading to umpteen misconceptions and myths.

So here is some important information about PCOS which every girl/woman must know in order to take care of herself well.

What are the underlying changes that occur?

While PCOS has definitely got a lot to do with your ovaries and the ovulation process, there are specific features which PCOS is known to exhibit. Here they are:

  • Cysts in the ovaries.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Increased levels of male hormones especially (testosterone).

So if I have to divide the term in to two Poly means many and cysts means fluid filled sacs.These cysts are nothing but follicles with an immature egg which doesn’t mature as the process of ovulation does not take place.

What could be the possible causes of PCOS ?

  • Being Overweight/obese.
  • Genetic tendency.
  • Stress.
  • Insulin resistance.
  • Hormonal imbalance.
  • Accumulation of toxins in the body.
  • Wrong dietary choices.

PCOS is known to affect one in five women in India. While there was a time when PCOS wasn’t as common as it is in the west, nowadays almost every young girl/woman complains of irregular/skipped periods.

Let us look at the symptoms of this syndrome

  • Irregular menses/periods
  • Oily skin and acne
  • Hair thinning and hair loss
  • Hirsutism
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased stress levels
  • Sleep apnea
  • Weight gain
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Pelvic pain
  • Fatigue
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Decreased Libido
  • Increased testosterone.

The symptoms however can vary from person to person and not every woman shall experience the same symptoms if she suffers from PCOS.

Diagnosis of PCOS

In order to diagnose PCOS there are no specific tests or tools which can be relied on. However a physical examination in terms of facial hair growth, acne, hair thinning, pale skin, and history of your menstrual cycle can be a way of diagnosing the same. Additionally the doctor can ask you to do the following-

  1. Blood tests (Blood sugar levels/Lipid levels/Thyroid profile/to measure hormone levels)
  2. An ultrasound.

Once you know that you are suffering from PCOS it is inevitable to take a closer look at your lifestyle. Believe me a good diet and lifestyle change can work wonders for you like no other medicine/pill or powder would ever do.

Here are few lifestyle changes which you can adopt-

  • Include more fibre in your diet (fruits, vegetables, oats, quinoa, barley, millets).
  • Reduce the intake of dairy and dairy products.
  • Reduce the intake of caffeine, carbonated beverages and alcohol.
  • Get protein from vegetable sources like almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, soymilk, almond milk, lentils, beans and so on rather than latching on to dairy.
  • Stay active.
  • Avoid the consumption of junk and foods high in calories.

To be precise even if you are suffering from PCOS you can live a normal and hassle free life just by maintaining an ideal weight and keep junk at bay.

Your daily mantra needs to be: Stay healthy, Stay happy!

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A Nutritionist,Clinical Dietitian,Speaker,health/fitness blogger who runs a nutrition website named NutriBond

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