5 Ways to Manage PCOS Naturally
Posted by Dr. Alda Ngo
WHAT IS PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS ) affects 1 in 10 people. It is a common endocrine disorder and one of the leading causes of infertility. It can present with a broad spectrum of possible symptoms, so the medical community formed a panel to come to a consensus.
According to this Rotterdam panel, a PCOS diagnosis is confirmed with the presentation of a minimum of 2 out of the 3 following criteria:
- Ovulatory dysfunction (which can present as irregular cycles or no cycles at all)
- Enlarged ovaries with at least 12 follicles each
- Elevated androgens in your blood-work (which can manifest as excess hair growth on the chin and/or chest as well as acne)
Luckily, PCOS is treatable!
HERE ARE 5 WAYS TO MANAGE PCOS NATURALLY:
Insulin resistance, sugar metabolism and weight gain are commonly present with PCOS. A study shows that even 8 weeks of low-starch and low-dairy diet results in weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity and reduced testosterone in people with PCOS.
The following dietary principals help to stabilize blood sugar and decrease inflammation:
– Stick to a carbohydrate – restricted, low- glycemic index foods diet
– Eat regular protein-dense snacks
– Eat plenty of colourful veggies and dark leafy greens
– Combine your fruit with other foods, and avoid eating tropical fruits. Go for berries instead (they have a lower glycemic index)
– Avoid trans-fats and incorporate more healthy fats, like long chain Omega-3 fatty acids found in high quality fish oils or use coconut oil, avocado oil, or extra virgin olive oil
– eliminate inflammatory foods like sugar, dairy, wheat and flour products, processed/ pre-packaged foods and artificial sweeteners from your diet
A study shows that structured exercise with three 30-minute stationary bike sessions per week regulates menstruation and improves insulin sensitivity, fertility and androgen levels in people with PCOS. It has also been shown that exercise improves micro vascular function (blood flow) in the uterus, which is a known cause of implantation failure in those with PCOS.
High intensity interval training has also been shown to improve insulin resistance in women with PCOS, even in the absence of weight loss.
Weight gain is often a presentation of PCOS, but there’s no pressure to become a lean machine to reverse the condition. Even a 5-10% weight loss restores ovulation.
3. REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS
Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most common industrial endocrine disruptors found in common household products. It is a significant endocrine disruptor in PCOS and has been found in higher levels in people with PCOS.
BPA can be found in high levels in people with and without PCOS. However, in people with PCOS, BPA causes testosterone levels to increase unlike in those without the condition. The higher the levels of BPA in the blood, the higher the levels of testosterone there is too.
BPA can be found in:
Plastic water pipes
Thermal paper (receipts)
Children’s toys and clothing
Try to avoid using the following:
Canned food, unless the label says that it’s BPA-free
Plastic, use glass or stainless steel containers instead
4. MINDFULNESS MEDITATION:
People with PCOS have a higher risk of anxiety and depression. This is related to the stressful symptoms of PCOS, associated inflammation in the body and hormone imbalance.
Research shows that a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program significantly reduces stress, depressive and anxiety symptoms, as well as salivary cortisol concentrations while increasing Life Satisfaction and Quality of Life scores in women with PCOS.
Acupuncture increases blood flow, regulates inflammation, balances hormones and decreases stress. One study shows that both acupuncture and exercise reduce high levels of testosterone and lead to more regular menstruation in PCOS patients.
Do you or someone you know need help with PCOS? Contact us for a free 15-minute Q & A to find out more about our PCOS Treatment Plan.