POLY CYSTIC OVARIAN SYDROME (PCOS) is a very complex endocrine disorder, commonly seen in women of age group of 12-45 yrs. (reproductive age). I would say it is more like an epidemic these days. In my experience one in every three females I meet is either suffering from PCOS or a thyroid disorder- (hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism).
What is PCOS?
- Ovaries in an ultrasound may look enlarged and contain many “small cysts” located on the outer edge of each ovary. The latter is sometimes referred to as looking like “a string of BEADS”.
- Failure in the release of eggs from the ovary.
- Higher level of male hormones than normal, or male hormones that are more active than normal
Even if only two of the above features are present, this is enough to confirm PCOS.
Why PCOS happens?
Cause is unknown. But mostly it is a genetic disorder or seen in families where members are suffering from diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.
How can PCOS be diagnosed?
In most cases, getting the conclusive diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome comes from the appearance of your ovaries in an ultrasound done by a doctor.
Here a special mention, in many cases ultrasound does not reveal PCOS. But, a person shows majorly all its symptoms.
Symptoms of PCOS
- Irregular periods
- Excessive facial and body hair (hirsutism)
- Weight gain
- Problems in getting pregnant
- Hair fall and hair thinning
- Insulin resistance – means the inability of body to use insulin effectively. This will result in high blood insulin levels causing PCOS.
Are PCOS and hypothyroidism related ?
Mostly females suffering from hypothyroidism have many symptoms in common with PCOS, such as “anovulation” i.e. menstruation without releasing an egg cell. Some propose this is the cause of PCOS if anovulation is long term with its related low progesterone.
Treatment and Cure for PCOS
There’s no cure for PCOS, but the symptoms can be treated.
- Specific types of contraceptive or drugs such as clomid and metformin may be prescribed by doctor, to help regulate the menstrual cycle and improve hair growth.
- Change in lifestyle, weight management becomes essential.
- Diet related changes also help in controlling its symptoms.
- PCOS and Infertility
This is for all beautiful women who are reading this and wish to conceive but facing conceiving problems. There are treatment options for infertility caused by PCOS. There’s also medication to increase ovulation which is to be taken under gynecologist guidance.
So the good news is many women with fertility problems due to PCOS can still have a baby.
Diet Instructions for PCOS women
- Eat the right kind of food. Eat lots of vegetables, fruits and protein-rich food. Have green vegetables as it contains a lot of folic acid in them. Folic acid is often advised by gynecologists to women who are planning to conceive or who are pregnant.
- Consume vitamin C-rich food by eating plenty of fruits like orange, lemon, sweet lime, grape fruit, and grapes.
- Alcohol and smoking is a big NO.
- Eat wholegrain foods instead of processed, refined foods such as wheat flour (maida). Also, whole fruit instead of fruit juice will maintain insulin and blood sugar levels.
- Avoid cakes, pastries, junk food, colas, jams and pickles.
- Eat foods that are high in fiber as they will also cause a slower, more controlled rise in blood sugar and insulin levels.
- Incorporate legumes and vegetables in your diet as they’re high in fiber and nutrients and will manage your sugar levels.
- Combine protein and carbohydrates as protein helps to regulate the blood sugar spike caused by the carbs.
- Eat small, healthy meals more frequently to manage cravings and hunger pangs and NEVER miss breakfast!
- Corn, soy, cottonseed, and grapeseed oils should be avoided.
- Avoid soy products.
- Also avoid chemical preservatives, additives, artificial sweeteners and colorings.
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