A 5-step guide to living with PCOS, as suggested by a doctor

PCOS can be managed with lifestyle changes, including dietary and physical activity alterations, as suggested by Dr Gowri Kulkarni.
A few changes to your lifestyle can go a long way in helping you manage the condition. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Gowri Kulkarni Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 15:36 pm IST

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. The cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is not well understood but may involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Symptoms vary from woman to woman.

Many women with PCOS experience weight gain or have a hard time losing weight. Other women may experience acne, facial hair growth and irregular menstrual cycle. Treatments include birth control pills to regularize the menstrual cycle. In addition, medications are used to treat insulin resistance and to control high cholesterol, if present. Women with PCOS are given hormones to increase fertility. 

Apart from medicines, you can also make some changes to your lifestyle in order to manage the condition effectively. Doing so may also reduce your risk of developing other health concerns such as diabetes and heart disease.

Here are 5 lifestyle, dietary and fitness tips for those living with PCOS:
1. Mindful eating

Women living with PCOS also tend to have insulin resistance. Hence, they should switch to a diet that is low in sugar and other simple carbohydrates. It is advised to cut down on the salt intake. In addition, canned foods and fast foods should be avoided. Instead, eat foods rich in fibre, protein and iron. Add seasonal vegetables and fruits; lean meats such as poultry; and high fibre grains to the diet.

Reversing PCOS is hard, not impossible. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Exercise regularly

If you have PCOS, keep it moving! Regular exercise helps combat obesity by burning calories and building muscle mass, which decreases insulin resistance. It also helps in lowering cholesterol levels.

3. Sleep hygiene

One often overlooked feature of PCOS is its association with sleep disturbances. Recent studies have revealed a high prevalence of sleep disorders in women living with PCOS, suggesting that it is an amendable factor. Hence, it is recommended to sleep for 6 to 9 hours a day.

4. Say no to alcohol and tobacco

Smoking and consuming alcohol can increase your risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. If you are living with PCOS, you are more prone to these conditions.

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5. Embrace support in dealing with PCOS

Remember that you are not alone! It’s okay to not be okay. Do not be embarrassed about the symptoms you are experiencing. None of it is ‘weird’ or ‘abnormal’. Be open to sharing your struggles because there are many other women out there that are feeling the same way as you.

PCOS can be managed to a certain extent with these simple lifestyle changes!

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Dr Gowri Kulkarni

Dr Gowri Kulkarni, Head of Medical Operations, MediBuddy ...Read More

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