Do You Have PCOS?
If you do then you are not alone. According to a recent US News article, one in every 10 women has polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, a disorder that is the leading cause of female infertility and a risk factor for diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses.
And yet the crazy thing is that half of all women with PCOS (which works out to be 5% of all women) don’t even know they have the condition and continue to remain undiagnosed.
So if you are one of those women who knows you have PCOS, then hope is not lost!
Here is a list of the 10 things that you can do immediately to improve your PCOS symptoms.
1. GET TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON INSIDE YOUR BODY
Undoubtedly, the first step is to understand how PCOS affects you directly. Once you know what is happening in your body, you can work out what you need to do about it. Without a benchmark to work from you are literally going in blind – and this makes you much more likely to fall prey to the next fad diet or miracle cure, without the certainty of knowing what your body actually needs.
PCOS can leave women feeling confused and disconnected from their own bodies. Not to mention the fact that there is also so much conflicting information on food, supplements, exercises and medications that can use to get PCOS under control. So how do we know that something is actually right for us?
2. SORT OUT YOUR INSULIN LEVELS
On the whole, PCOS causes irregularities in a woman’s insulin processing abilities so it’s no surprise that the delicate hormonal balance can be in for a bumpy ride.
Often it’s a double-edged sword – a woman’s body tends to over respond to carbs by releasing too much insulin and her ovaries in tern respond to the insulin by releasing too much testosterone. So, if you can get some control of your insulin levels, you’ll have greater control of your overall PCOS symptoms.
3. GET YOUR BODY MOVING & KEEP IT GOING
We know that we need to exercise in general is great for our health and overall well being but it’s also crucial for keeping PCOS in check. Even if you aren’t seeing any movement on the scales, there’s no doubt that your metabolic markers and hormones are still benefitting from your efforts and will in turn, help your symptoms improve.
4. CHANGE THE WAY YOU EAT
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Dietary and lifestyle changes should be the first line of treatment for all women with PCOS. In fact, there is countless evidence to suggest that switching to a PCOS diet and a more active lifestyle can significantly help counter the symptoms of PCOS. I could literally write a book about this topic but there’s just not enough space to do it justice so stay tuned for more diet related blog posts in the future.
Please remember – before you make any drastic changes you should always make sure you consult your doctor or physician. It’s best to be on the safe side.
5. TOP UP YOUR DIET WITH SUPPLEMENTS
There are so many supplements available on the market these days, many of which can be very helpful with different aspects of PCOS. Also, women with PCOS tend to be deficient in a number of vitamins and nutrients that they just won’t be able to get enough of in their regular diets. So, supplements are important in addressing some of the underlying deficiencies and issues in PCOS and are an important piece of your PCOS management plan.
6. KNOW YOUR ‘WHY’
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Making any kind of change to the way you eat or to your lifestyle can be challenging. If we don’t know why we need to make the changes, it’s much harder to do it. Your ‘why’ is your reason for wanting to be healthier and in control of your body. It could be your children or loved ones that motivate you, or the fact that you just want to feel good about yourself and enjoy all that life has to offer, unhindered by PCOS.
So dig deep and find out what keeps you motivated as your ‘Why’ will no doubt help you to fight the cravings and remind you to take your supplements every morning.
7. HAVE A PLAN READY & WAITING
Never underestimate the power of planning. I mean in all honesty, would you go camping without a tent or sleeping bag? It goes without saying then that having a plan is important, whether it be a meal plan, craving plan, snack plan or eating out plan.
It’s when we’re not prepared that we’re more likely to go for convenience and ditch our exercise routine or make unhealthy food choices. So always have a plan at the ready so you don’t end up in the middle of knowhere without a tent!
8. GET YOUR POSSE ON BOARD
You know the saying. “No man is an island”? Well, no woman with PCOS can or should do it on her own.
So start building your team of merry supporters so that they can give you the encouragement, advice, love and sometimes tough love when you need it. Just look around and you’ll find all manner of people ready to chip in and lend a hand from our partners, family, friends, medical practitioners or the wider PCOS community.
9. JUST KEEP SWIMMING
Dori from Finding Nemo is one of my favourite characters and she said it so well with, “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” Life has a habit of throwing some real doozies and we all need to step up and try and catch the ball somedays even if it’s coming at us like a freight train.
There are going to be bad days and days when we mess up but it’s so important that we just keep swimming, swimming, swimming in the direction that we ultimately want to go in. Never stop. Never give up. And always remember your why? That’s the reason that you get up and try again every time you fall off the bandwagon.
10. NO MATTER HOW SMALL, CELEBRATE THE WINS
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With PCOS, the wins may seem small in comparison to others but they are huge for women with the condition. Having a period? EPIC! Lost 1 kilo or pound? Awesome! Going about your day despite the mood swings or depression? A job well done.
Be real about the struggles you face but equally acknowledge when you’ve done well. We need to be kinder to ourselves and show some love and celebrate the steps forward in the right direction, no matter how big or small they may be.
So, there are 10 ways that you can improve your PCOS symptoms with some of them being very practical whilst others are a bit more on the emotional side. There will always be more to add to the list but this is a good starting point.
Lovingly Curated via PCOS Diet Support
If you are suffering from PCOS then help is at hand. BOOK AN APPOINTMENT to see one of our experienced women’s fertility practitioners at the House of Fertility & Healing to discuss how to alleviate your PCOS symptoms.