Remember, the Penn State researchers found a low-calorie, low-fat meal replacement diet proved successful for some women but there is no one perfect diet that will be right for everyone.
Certainly, an eating plan that packs in plenty of plant foods vegetables, fruit, nuts, legumes along with good fats, healthy lean proteins, and low-fat dairy or calcium-rich dairy alternatives is a good start. What matters is picking a plan you can stick with— not just to lose weight— but to become how you eat long into the future. In several diet studies, researchers have found high drop-out rates among women with PCOS -- so find an eating plan you like—and make sure you have plenty of support to help you stay with it, as that is the key to success.
One strategy that may help some of you: Have a big breakfast. These women ovulated more frequently and had improved insulin sensitivity in comparison to another group of women in the study who more of their calories at dinner. Getting three hours of exercise a week is enough to improve insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS, especially if you have been inactive up until now.
Relieve stress. Depression and anxiety are more common in women with PCOS than in women without this condition. Hormone imbalances may affect your moods — and the struggles of learning to cope with the challenges of PCOS can certainly play a role in mood swings. Relaxation to the rescue! For some, lifestyle changes may be all you need to control the symptoms of your PCOS. But for many other women, medications may be necessary to help control harder to manage symptoms, such as fertility, and major risk factors that arise with polycystic ovary syndrome, specifically insulin resistance that leads to diabetes and high blood cholesterol that may end up developing into heart disease.
The best strategies for these PCOS-related symptoms will be considered after assessing your symptoms, your level of risk for these other conditions, and what you want to address most urgently.
As a result, these anti-diabetes medications may improve ovulation and help make menstrual periods more regular, but this process can take four to six months. The bonus: By reducing the high levels of androgens, these medications can also help take care of acne, excess hair growth, hair loss at the scalp, may promote easier weight loss, reduce high cholesterol levels, and may even reduce the risk for heart disease, too. Lasers, or a very thin, heated needle, are used to pierce several holes in the surface of your ovary, which improves the chances of successful ovulation for about six to eight months.
This is specifically effective for women with PCOS since the outer surface of the ovaries can become extra thick, interfering with the natural process of ovulation. Removing or slowing the growth of excess hair. Shaving, bleaching, plucking, waxing, and applying over-the-counter hair-removal creams are effective, albeit temporarily methods to get rid of unwanted excess hair. For more permanent results, you might try laser hair removal or electrolysis but these are expensive, require repeated treatments, and are not guaranteed to be successful. In the United States, a medication called spironolactone is used to slow new hair growth.
In other countries, cyproterone acetate is widely used but it is not available in the United States.
Since many anti-androgens appear to cause birth defects, your doctor will likely recommend taking birth-control pills at the same time. It can take six months to see if these drugs are helpful in reducing hair growth. Acne: Birth-control pills, anti-androgen drugs and insulin-sensitizing drugs, all mentioned above, can bring the severe acne of PCOS under control by reducing the high levels of male hormones that trigger bad break-outs in PCOS.
In addition, your family doctor or dermatologist may recommend additional acne medications to unclog pores, control skin bacteria and soothe inflammation. These may include retinoids, antibiotics, and products to help unclog pores. One warning: Retinoids can cause birth defects and cannot be used if you are already pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.
In the final section, you will learn about resources to help you find the right doctor to address your PCOS symptoms and reduce your risks for chronic diseases, and how to stay positive during this journey. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Accessed November 14, Endocr Pract. Conway G, et al The polycystic ovary syndrome: a position statement from the European Society of Endocrinology. Eur J Endocrinol. Benefit of delayed fertility therapy with preconception weight loss over immediate therapy in obese women with PCOS. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Randomized controlled trial of preconception interventions in infertile women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Longterm management of polycystic ovarian syndrome PCOS. Mol Cell Endocrinol.
Palomba S, et al. Structured exercise training programme versus hypocaloric hyperproteic diet in obese polycystic ovary syndrome patients with anovulatory infertility: a week pilot study. Hum Reprod. Davis LS, et al. Efficacy of a meal replacement diet plan compared to a food-based diet plan after a period of weight loss and weight maintenance: a randomized controlled trial.
Nutr J. Brennan L , et al. J Womens Health. Moran L, et al. Dietary composition in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review to inform evidence-based guidelines. J Acad Nutr Diet. Turner-McGrievy GM, et al. Low glycemic index vegan or low-calorie weight loss diets for women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled feasibility study. Nutr Res.
Working out is great for you, there is no doubt, but there is a difference between promoting a healthy body and physically stressing the body. When dealing with PCOS, high-intensity workouts more than two times a week can actually do your body harm. The goal is to find exercises that are going to help blood flow, promoting healthy circulation and nourishing your reproductive organs. Try exercises like pilates, swimming, yoga, long walks, light jogs and hiking.
It is safe to say that a healthy gut means a healthy body.
Digestion can be an issue at different times of the month for women suffering from PCOS. Not having healthy bowel movements can create stagnation in the body and a blockage and buildup of toxins; this will dramatically throw off your hormones! I suggest trying a detox you can take with food around these times of the month to promote a healthy bowel movement. Ashwagandha is your hormone balancing superherb. Since PCOS stems from a hormonal imbalance, it is great to have things on hand that can aid in balancing hormones all month long!
Known to enhance brain function, diminish depression and greatly reduce anxiety, it is also widely known to have anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. You can find this in liquid form and keep it in your purse. When you feel stress coming on, put a dropper in a glass of water and drink!
I love taking mine mid-day and before I go to sleep. You know all those things that used to really get to you? Yeah, they may not after a week of adding this to your water! Acne associated with hormone imbalances is no joke. Women with severe acne related to PCOS and hormonal imbalances tend to break out around their cheeks, chin and jaw line. When dealing with acne, less is more. Apple cider vinegar is a go-to for clearing skin and promoting a healthy glow. When used topically, it kills bacteria deep in your pores while helping prevent future breakouts, scaring, oily skin, blackheads and a build-up of dead skin cells.
Life is stressful, some days more than others, so it is important to put aside a little time at the end of the day to just relax. Having an end-of-the-day ritual can create an oasis internally and keep you from feel burnt out at the end of the week. For example, coming home to a nice relaxing cup of tea and sitting in the bath and taking a few deep breaths will really help you release stress and become more present.
Stress has been linked to depression and lack of energy and can disrupt healthy sleep patterns. Learning to make your home your center for decompression and relaxation will help you separate your work life from home life and help you feel an overall sense of well-being.
So beautiful to hear how Nicole is helping women heal themselves and live fuller lives.