Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects a significant number of women. Symptoms range from irregular menstrual cycles to excessive hair growth and acne. While there is currently no cure for PCOS, various lifestyle changes can help you manage its symptoms. Weight management, diet, and physical activity are all ways you can help treat PCOS naturally. When combined with the right lifestyle, Chinese Medicine may also be an effective way to help treat PCOS.
Healthy Weight for PCOS Treatment
Weight management plays a crucial role in treating PCOS. Studies have shown that losing just 10% of body weight can improve period regularity and reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other PCOS complications. Weight loss can also lower insulin and androgenAndrogen A steroid hormone, such as testosterone or androsterone, that controls the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics. All genders make androgens, but males make more of them. levels, which are often elevated in women with PCOS. However, it’s important not to lose too much weight either. Your weight should be within a healthy range, considering factors like your body type, age, and height.
Diet for PCOS Treatment
Dietary changes are another effective strategy for managing PCOS. A low-glycaemic, low-carb diet can reduce insulin levels, aiding weight loss. High fibre foods, such as cruciferous vegetables, can combat insulin resistance by slowing digestion and reducing the effect of sugar on the blood. The Mediterranean diet, which eliminates saturated fats, processed meats, and refined sugar, has been found to be particularly beneficial for people with PCOS due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
If you have PCOS, there are certain foods that you should limit your consumption of. These include foods that are high in refined carbohydrates, such as:
- white bread
- sugary desserts
- anything made with white flour
- sugary snacks and drinks
- inflammatory foods like processed and red meats
The reason behind this is that refined carbohydrates cause inflammation and exacerbate insulin resistance, a common issue in PCOS. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that helps cells convert sugar into energy. In people with PCOS, insulin levels are often higher than normal. If the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or if it can’t use the insulin effectively (a condition known as insulin resistance), blood sugar levels can rise. This can lead to the body producing high levels of insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal, which in turn can cause the ovaries to produce more androgens like testosterone. A diet high in refined carbohydrates can make insulin resistance worse, making weight loss more difficult.
Pasta noodles made from bean or lentil flour instead of wheat flour are a nutritious alternative as they are high in fibre and low in carbohydrates. When reading food labels, it’s important to look for various names of sugar, including sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose. Beverages like soda and juice, which can be high in sugar, should also be limited.
Exercise for PCOS Treatment
Regular physical activity is also recommended for women with PCOS. Exercise sessions ranging from 30 minutes a day, three times a week, to three total hours per week have been found to improve metabolic and reproductive symptoms associated with PCOS. Exercise helps lower blood sugar levels, balance hormones, and improve mood, making it an essential part of a holistic approach to managing PCOS. Stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, and speaking with a healthcare professional can also be beneficial.
How Can Chinese Medicine Help?
If you’d like an extra boost to get your PCOS treatment underway, why not give Chinese Medicine a go? At Centre of Balance, our team of qualified Chinese Medicine practitioners can use a variety of techniques (like acupuncture and herbal medicine) which can be tailored to suit your individual needs. The great thing about Centre of Balance is that we can treat your health conditions holistically, promoting a healthier version of you overall.
While these lifestyle changes can significantly improve the quality of life for women with PCOS, it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience with the condition is unique. Therefore, treatment plans should be tailored to meet each person’s specific needs and circumstances. Chinese Medicine is also a great way to help treat PCOS naturally.