Polycystic ovary syndrome or disorder (PCOS / PCOD) is on the rise. It is a hormonal disorder that affects approximately 5-10% of women in the reproductive age group. It is characterized by the development of cysts in the normal healthy ovary. Currently, it is considered as one of the leading causes of infertility in women.
There can be an improvement in the severity of symptoms of PCOS but there is no complete treatment of this disorder available as of now.
Weight loss definitely helps in restoring menstrual cycle to normal. Approximately 50-60% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese, with most carrying their weight around the abdominal area i.e. ‘apple’ shaped obesity. Overweight/obese PCOS women have more severe symptoms than normal-weight PCOS women. Losing even 5-10% of body weight can help reduce these symptoms. Weight loss can also help improve the hormonal imbalances which may lead to a spontaneous resumption of menstruation; improvement in hirsutism (excess hair on the body), pregnancy rates and long term ovarian function.
Diet: A diet high in low glycemic index foods, fiber, vegetable protein, fluids, fruits, vegetables and antioxidants can help in maintaining a normal weight.
- Complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes) should be included in the diet which ideally needs to be combined with a protein source. Space the carbohydrates out during the day. This will cause less rise in blood sugar and insulin peak as compared to eating all carbohydrates at one meal. Avoid those carbohydrates that trigger more hunger or cravings like sugars, refined grains, etc.
- Vitamins of B-complex group like B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and B6 (pyridoxine), chromium and magnesium help in weight control along with managing blood glucose.
- Increase your fluid intake.
- Limit foods high in saturated and trans fats.
Regular sustained exercise and Insulin-lowering medications (prescribed by the physician) are helpful.
The key is to prevent insulin resistance from reaching abnormally high levels which can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Regular blood glucose monitoring is thus advised. Females with severe sleep apnea can get benefited by using home devices which improve oxygen flow to the body and thus allowing restful sleep and prevent frequent episodes of pauses in breathing.