You may have read that PCOS is an untreatable condition. Well, while that is correct, it isn’t entirely true. Yes, there are no medications like pills or a PCOS treatment surgical process that cures the condition, but I firmly believe it is possible to reverse the symptoms.
How do I know that? I had many clients who had PCOS for years; and with dietary changes, they lost weight, and got pregnant (Some only a year after starting)
In this article, I will expose you to how she got out of it and how you can do the same and get a similar result. Albeit, we’d start by exploring some facts about PCOS you need to know.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common health problem with women in their childbearing age. It is triggered by a reproductive hormonal imbalance that causes problems in the ovaries. Three main signs characterize it:
- Excessive androgen production (a male sex hormone present in women in small amounts) leading to symptoms like excess facial and body hair, severe acne, and male-pattern baldness.
- Infrequent, irregular, or skipped periods, causing your ovaries not to release eggs.
- Excessive number of cysts (a small fluid-filled sac) in the ovaries. Hence, distorting its normal functionality.
Causes of PCOS
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but various factors play a role. They include:
- Genes: Studies indicate that PCOS is hereditary, and some protein-coding genes were reportedly responsible for its transfer.
- Insulin Resistance: Insulin is the body’s primary energy supply hormone. It is produced in the pancreas to help the body transform the sugar in foods into energy.
Insulin resistance describes a state where your body doesn’t respond to insulin appropriately, causing glucose to build up in the blood (increasing blood sugar and insulin levels) rather than entering the cells.
Excessive insulin would increase androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation. Research indicates that up to 70% of women diagnosed with PCOS have insulin resistance.
- Inflammation: Being overweight promotes increased levels of inflammation. Reports indicate that up to 80% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. Another study shows that excess inflammation would lead to higher androgen levels. Thus, PCOS.
Common Symptoms of PCOS
- Irregular Periods: PCOS affects ovulation and disallows the uterine lining from shedding every month. Women with PCOS may have fewer periods a year (maybe less than eight times).
- Excessive Hair Growth: Hirsutism (excess hair growth) is a notable symptom of PCOS. More than 70% of women with PCOS grow hair on their face, body, belly, back, chest- those places men usually have hair.
- Male Pattern Baldness: Thinning of hair or complete loss of hair on the scalp.
- Darkening of the skin. Especially along the neck creases, groin, and underneath breasts.
- Acnes caused by excessive androgen will make the skin oilier than the norm; hence, causing breakouts on the face, chest, and upper back.
There isn’t a single test to diagnose PCOS. However, your doctor will carry out a series of physical exams and other tests. They include:
How Do You Know You Have PCOS?
After the test, you may be diagnosed with PCOS if you meet at least three of the following:
- Irregular periods
- Signs of high-levels of androgen- acne, hirsutism, thinning of scalp hair
- Higher than the normal androgen blood level
- Multiple cysts on one or both ovaries
Natural treatment for PCOS
Disclaimer: The information on this page is not intended or implied as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment but for general information purposes only.
Eating the right foods and avoiding certain ingredients can help manage your PCOS symptoms. Precisely, it will regulate your hormone and restore your menstrual cycle. Here are some food-related tips on how to treat PCOS.
- Reduce Dairy Intake: Results from a meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine showed a positive link between dairy intake and PCOS via increased insulin and androgen levels.
Put differently; dairy ingestion links to increased cellular growth and acne formation. Diary, rich with calcium, protein, carbohydrate, and high lactose content, stimulates insulin growth factors, and increases androgen production. So, it is recommendable to minimize yogurt or milk consumption.
- Cut Down on Sugar: It is vital you avoid high sugar foods if you want to treat PCOS. That is because eating less sugar reduces your blood glucose levels. A minimal blood glucose level decreases insulin levels and androgen.
I know it is typical to crave for you to crave sugary foods even after a meal. So, I got you covered with the top 5 healthy, natural sugar–substitutes that’ll satisfy you and wouldn’t alter your insulin levels.
- Limit Your Carb Intake: Carbs, mostly refined carbs like white bread, sweets, white rice, etc., causes inflammation, and studies show that it aggravates insulin resistance. It would be best to drastically reduce your carb intake or totally avoid refined carbs to stabilize your insulin levels and minimize androgen production. A little tweak will be to opt for Low Carb Pita Bread or Low Carb meat and Zaatar Pie.
- You Should Cleanse: You may not find this everywhere, I know. However, I firmly believe that the best way to start any diet journey is to cleanse your body. By cleansing, I mean to gently restart/reboot your body's metabolism. Cleansing is essential to PCOS because, at the right metabolic rate, insulin levels will stabilize and force androgen levels to go down; thus, reducing PCOS symptoms.
You can start by going through my free 3-day cleanse guide. It contains delicious, healthy recipes and other tips to restore your metabolism.
- Increase Healthy Fat Intake: High-fat foods may be caloric, but they do not increase insulin levels. More so, they are anti-inflammatory and could help curb your PCOS symptoms. There are healthy fats and unhealthy fats, like Trans fats, which could be detrimental to treating PCOS. Few healthy ones include- olive oil, black seed oil, eggs, and nuts.
- Consume High-Fiber foods like Avocados, apples, broccoli, Artichoke, carrots, banana, etc.
Some of the best PCOS supplements that have been scientifically proven to help with PCOS include
- Inositol or Vitamin B 8
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Evening Primrose oil
- N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
Exercise and physical activity play a significant role in balancing hormones. One of its outstanding benefits is its ability to reduce insulin levels and foster insulin sensitivity.
High insulin levels link to inflammation, increased androgen production, and other health-related issues detrimental to treating PCOS. Lack of physical activities also causing your
Insulin balance and weight loss go hand in hand. Likewise, the right insulin levels are needed to curb PCOS symptoms. Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle helps your body take up sugar and amino acids from your bloodstream, bringing down your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Resistant and aerobic training would provide the best hormonal balance, but you could start by maintaining an active lifestyle. Check out a few tips on how to boost your energy in the morning.
Now, the real question.
Is PCOS really untreatable or lifestyle induced?
I’d answer this quickly and very simple. Is PCOS untreatable? No! Are there medications to treat PCOS? No! Is PCOS Lifestyle induced? Yes (except for the hereditary cases). And here’s my stance on PCOS.
If you followed the article up to this section, you must have found out that PCOS hinges on two dysfunctions- High insulin levels and Inflammation. High insulin levels play a significant role in fostering androgen production, acne formation, and excessive weight gain. By the same token, inflammation causes weight gain and increased androgen production. All of which distort your menstrual cycle and, ultimately, fertility.
Brace up for this: Weight loss is key to treating PCOS. When you reduce weight, your body’s metabolism will increase to burn out fats. This increased metabolism means more expenditure of blood sugar; thus, causing a reduction in blood insulin level and inflammation.
PCOS and Pregnancy
I am not suggesting or thinking to carry out some experimental medication on you. Research suggests that weight loss alone, even as little as 5 to 10% reduction of body weight, can regulate your menstrual cycle, reduce insulin levels(1) and improve symptoms like excess hair growth and acne.
Think of it this way; if successful ovulation is the first step towards getting pregnant and weight loss regulates distorted cycles caused by PCOS and allows the ovary to produce fertile eggs more frequently; then, losing weight is a good step towards PCOS treatment.
So, how should you go about this? First, following the right food intake and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will reduce insulin levels and inflammation and ultimately improve ovulation. However, the recommendation is quite vague. So, I put up a guided life-changing journey- the mindful weight-loss program to help you uncover your true weight-loss potential, overcome emotional eating, learn new healthy eating habits, get back your energy and vitality, and stay active all the time. The best part? It is an enjoyable, seamless, and exciting experience through a gradual process of weight-loss and healthy eating changes that wouldn’t make you feel deprived and afford long-term benefits. I will be guiding and coaching you through the entire process; so, there’s no need to worry.
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