PCOS is a hormonal disorder ranging from symptoms like irregular periods, acne, facial hair growth, and hair loss. The ovaries are tasked to produce some hormones named estrogen, progesterone, and androgens. The dysfunctioning of ovaries leads to disturbance in the hormones and causes symptoms of PCOS. The excessive production of androgens gives rise to acne, facial hair growth, and problems in conceiving due to irregular ovulation.
The actual cause of PCOS: The brain’s hypothalamus sends disturbing signals to the pea-sized pituitary gland that produces hormones that results in ovarian dysfunctioning and prevent symptoms of PCOS.
Insulin resistance is at the root of PCOS. If a person is insulin resistant, his cells don’t react properly to the insulin hormone the pancreas makes so cells can absorb glucose (blood sugar or cell’s food). That leads the pancreas to pump out extra insulin. But if that’s still not enough to help the cells properly absorb glucose, high blood sugar levels give rise to prediabetes, later risk of type 2 diabetes.
When it comes to diet and exercise, these guidelines recommend preventing the symptoms of PCOS:
- The two major factors that are affected by diet in PCOS conditions are weight management and insulin resistance.
- Low Glycemic Index foods should be included: As insulin plays a great role in managing or preventing PCOS symptoms, a balanced diet is recommended to incorporate foods with a low glycemic index (GI) that takes longer to digest and absorb hence raises the sugar levels at a slower rate. These low GI foods are whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
- Anti-Inflammatory foods: PCOS symptoms can be reduced by adding some anti-inflammatory foods such as berries, leafy greens, fish, virgin olive oil, and avocado.
- PCOS diet should have: high-fiber foods; salmon, tuna, natural & unprocessed foods; kale, spinach; red grapes, blueberries, blackberries, and cherries; broccoli and cauliflower; beans, lentils, and other legumes
- Limiting trans fats, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, soda, sugary drinks, bakery, and processed food, and excessive red meat and sodium are recommended. Eating foods high on the glycemic index like white cereal and pasta forces the pancreas to produce extra insulin, which may aggravate insulin resistance.
- Exercise can increase the cell’s response to insulin and allow them to use glucose for energy. An adult should aim for a minimum 150 minutes of moderate exercise and vigorous exercises are recommended for 75minutes a week.
- A brisk walk, jogging, cycling helps with PCOS as it increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin thus reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases. These exercises also stabilize the mood and boost fertility.
- Strength training is good for increasing metabolic rate, improves body composition, and reduces insulin resistance.
- Vigorous exercises like running, high-impact aerobics, HIIT are recommended for 75minutes a week. Muscle strengthening can also be a part of the routine.
Eating a balanced diet and exercising helps to relieve certain symptoms. Stress, sleep, and medications are some factors that prevent the symptoms of PCOS.