Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a common disorder among teenage girls and women. It is a condition in which there is an imbalance of hormones. Women also make small amounts of testosterone (male hormone) in addition to estrogen (female hormone) but in PCOS, women make extra testosterone. This leads to the growth of benign masses on the ovaries which is called ovarian cysts. It also affects the woman’s menstrual cycle, cardiac function, appearance and fertility. There are lots of symptoms which include: excess hair on the face, chest, toes, decrease in breast size, hair loss, deeper voice, irregular periods, weight gain, acne, depression etc.
Although the exact cause of PCOS is still unknown to the modern science, some researchers state that hormonal imbalances and genetics play a role. It is likely to have a combination of factors that lead to the development of PCOS.
The major ones are listed below:
- Insulin resistance: Insulin resistance is the name given to when cells of the body don’t respond properly to the hormone insulin. When body tissues become resistant to the effects of insulin, it produces extra insulin which causes ovaries to produce more testosterone. It leads to weight gain and worsens PCOS symptoms as weight gain leads to excess fat and produce more insulin.
- Hormone imbalance: Women with PCOS have hormonal imbalance like raised levels of testosterone, raised levels of the luteinising hormone which have an abnormal effect on ovaries, raised levels of prolactin in some women with PCOS in pregnancy.
- Genetics: It is linked to genetics as it sometimes runs in families. If your mother, paternal aunt or sister is suffering from PCOS then there is an increased risk of developing the problem.
- Dietary Pattern: Low fat and high carbohydrate diets may help in increasing the insulin levels and it may lead to PCOS in females. Diet should have complex carbohydrates which are high in fibre.
- Menstrual Cycle: If women or teenage girls have irregular or infrequent periods, no periods or heavy periods, eight or less menstrual cycle per year then it may be the reason for having PCOS disorder.
- Reduced Fertility: There are immature eggs that do not ovulate and there are multiple cysts on the ovaries which make difficult for a woman to become pregnant. Ovulation may completely stop or occur irregularly and lead to PCOS.
- Contraceptive Pills: Excessive use of contraceptive pills for an extended duration of time can lead also lead to PCOS.
- Lifestyle: Insulin levels and symptoms of PCOS get worse when women have the weight above the normal healthy weight. The symptoms of PCOS appears only when one gain weight. So having a sedentary life and having a weight above the normal BMI can be a leading cause of developing PCOS.
From the Ayurvedic point of view, PCOS reflects corruption of rasa and rakta dhatus. When levels of impurities and toxins increase in the blood, the body stores them in form of cysts around ovaries. So the presence of multiple cysts indicates high levels of impurities and toxins. Sign and symptoms in PCOS patients suggest an imbalance of all three doshas. Improper diet and lifestyle, excessive consumption of hormonal pills and contraceptive pills, stress and lack of physical exercise produce toxins in the body and cause diseases like PCOS.
Nutrition and Lifestyle
- Low-fat warm milk is recommended. To reduce the Kapha nature of milk add a pinch of turmeric or ginger to the milk before boiling it.
- Lighter fruits, such as apples, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple and papaya and pears, are good in it.
- Honey is excellent for reducing Kapha. Reduce the intake of sweets and artificial sugar products as they increase Kapha.
- Beans and Legumes are recommended.
- Avoid too much consumption of nuts as they are high in fats.
- Barley, Oats, Oatmeal, and millet are beneficial.
- Avoid taking too much wheat or rice, as they increase Kapha.
- Use spices and condiments in moderation.
- Vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnip, colocasia should be avoided as they are high in starch and can cause weight gain.
- Stay away from stress and indulge in yoga and meditation as this will calm your mind and soul.
- Limit the use of contraceptive pills and injections.
- Follow lifestyle that is active, exercise according to your capacity.
- Both excessive fasting and overeating are harmful.
- Smoking, drinking alcohol and using narcotics aggravates menstrual disorders so avoid it.
When it comes to management of PCOS do the following:
- Treat the physical symptoms by making the changes in your lifestyle
- Discuss all the symptoms with your doctor
- Seek the best quality healthcare advice
In case of PCOS, you can follow the weight loss tips by Dr Shikha Sharma to shed the kilos naturally.
For Personalised PCOS Management Plans, you can always call Dr Shikha’s NutriHealth at 011-46666000. You can also chat with our experts here.