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These gynaecologist-recommended tips will help you manage your PCOS

Updated on:30 September 2020, 17:06pm IST
When it comes to PCOS treatment, many women assume that medicines are the only way out. However, a few lifestyle modifications can go a long way in managing the disease.
Dr Astha Dayal
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PCOS Treatment
Tame your PCOS by making these changes in your life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Stressed about your irregular menstrual cycle or experiencing excess facial hair? These could be symptoms of a common hormonal disorder, PCOD or polycystic ovary disease that is becoming increasingly prevalent in Indian women. 

Every fifth woman in our country is found to be suffering from PCOD, which is caused due to the development of numerous small cysts in the ovaries. If PCOD is not treated or taken care of well within time, it can lead to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). 

PCOS is hormonal disorder which occurs when the small cysts formed in the ovaries spread across the body and start affecting it. The condition is associated with a range of metabolic abnormalities which can lead to long-term health problems—such as fertility issues, increased risk of endometrial cancer, increased cardiovascular risk factors, and type 2 diabetes.  

These are PCOS symptoms to lookout for: 

  • Irregular periods
  • Acne
  • Hair growth on the body, particularly facial hair, due to high levels of male hormones
  • Obesity
  • Difficulty in conceiving
  • Scalp or hair loss and thinning of hair
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Depression

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Managing PCOS through lifestyle modifications
An unhealthy lifestyle, lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking, stress, and inadequate sleep are major contributing factors to this condition. PCOS is therefore categorized as a lifestyle-related disease. Making simple changes in your lifestyle can help protect against this condition: 

1. Healthy diet
Consuming a healthy and balanced diet is crucial to preventing PCOS. Being cautious of what we consume is of the utmost importance. Including fruits and vegetables in your daily diet with reduced intake of processed food will help your body in getting the nutrition it requires.

Additionally, choosing what you eat and how much you eat is equally important. Planning your meals in advance to incorporate all nutrient components is a healthy habit. Including a variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, fish and meat is recommended.

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2. Physical activity
The availability and accessibility of unhealthy food has made obesity a common problem. Obesity is one of the most common findings in women diagnosed with PCOS. About 40 to 80% of women with this condition are overweight. Losing a few kilos can help improve PCOS symptoms.

Physical activity not only helps you keep fit but also helps in lowering blood sugar levels. Increasing your daily physical activities and following a regular exercise regime can help keep your weight under control and avoid developing diabetes. Including moderately intense physical activity into your daily schedule can also help in regularizing periods and improve chances of conception.

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3. Avoid stress
Stress, fear and anxiety have become a part of our lives, and are also leading to serious mental illnesses. Stress is a major factor for PCOS, due to which the body starts to release excess male hormones. Stress also leads to an irregular menstrual cycle which is the major symptom of PCOS. Managing stress and spending time with yourself is integral to preventing PCOS.

Engage in activities that make you happy and help in bringing down your stress levels. The symptoms associated with PCOS can cause stress and negatively affect a woman’s moods and self-confidence. It can become emotionally draining to cope with the symptoms of PCOS, but once you have the key to control the symptoms at an early stage, you can overcome the condition.

Dr Astha Dayal Dr Astha Dayal

Dr Astha Dayal is an obstetrician gynaecologist at C.K. Birla Hospital, Gurgaon.