By : Apeksha Thakkar Clinical Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Nutrigenomic Counselor
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PCOS – Hormone and lifestyle Issue


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or Disorder, abbreviated as PCOS/PCOD occurs in 3 every 10 women of reproductive age. It is associated with high levels of male hormones (androgens) in female blood. Not all women suffering from PCOS have fertility related issues, but PCOS is surely one major contributors to hormonal imbalance and infertility.

Due to intense hormonal imbalance and increased levels of male hormones, the disorder is often associated with unexplained weight gain (Obesity), irregularity in menstrual cycles, acne, mood swings, facial hair(hirsutism), depression and probably onset of T2DM.

In PCOS, there could be development of multiple cysts in the women’s ovaries, which can make the process of natural conception griming, it should be understood that women with PCOS, can conceive naturally if focus she shifted to weight and lifestyle management. PCOS should not be assumed as infertility.

PCOS is more of a lifestyle problem and should be treated accordingly. Since the issue is pertaining to hormones and lifestyle, quick fixes do not work, looking for sustainable results can make PCOS management simpler.

Hyperinsulinemia in combination with insulin resistance makes PCOS management sluggish, leading to anovulation (absence of ovulation) which is a prerequisite for a successful conception) and hyperandrogenism (excess levels of male hormones). Stress management however also plays a vital role in management of PCOS.

Females with PCOS need a positive lifestyle and exercise management plan to execute effective results.

The below guidelines will help women of reproductive age to help conceive naturally, under a supervision of a qualified diet expert and an experienced gynaecologist.

 

Weight management: - PCOS is a vicious cycle, it often comes with quick, unexplained weight gain due to excess hormonal imbalance, but foremost remedy also comes with weight loss management. Females who are successfully able to maintain ideal body weight, can conceive naturally by regularising their menstrual cycle, also regularising ovulation (marker of fertilization).

Including fiber rich foods: - Fiber is present in 2 forms i.e. soluble and insoluble. Dietary fibre helps in reducing insulin resistance, and facilitating activity of Insulin hormones, which is every important in maintaining carbohydrate metabolism. Fiber also makes weight loss management easy by providing satiety.

Complex carbohydrates. - Oats, jowar, millets are wonder sources of complex carbohydrates (good carbohydrates), which not only help in weight management, but also help in stabilising blood glucose levels, improving insulin sensitivity.

Exercise: -Physical activity for at least 45 mins to an hour will helps in weight and stress management. Exercises like swimming, yoga, aqua aerobic s also work equally on mental wellbeing.

Constant follow-ups with the gynaecologist: - PCOS can give very erratic, scanty menstrual cycles and it becomes important to keep gynaecologist updated. A gynaecologist, who is well versed with your history, can offer best possible treatment options to conceive naturally.

Opting for first class Proteins: - Proteins are building blocks of body and they cannot be compromised under any circumstances. Including first class proteins like dairy products, lean meats, eggs to be included in daily diet.

Micronutrient supply: - Micronutrients like folate, Selenium, zinc, magnesium not only help in insulin metabolism, but also help in production and release of mature and viable eggs from the ovaries to fertilize. A nutritionally balanced diet will ensure good supply of micronutrients as per the recommended allowance.

Stay happy and positive: - Love yourself and appreciate every bit of you. It helps tremendously, as PCOS is marked as the disorder largely affected by hormonal imbalance, it is largely connected to our thought process. Staying calm and optimistic can help to recover from any illness and disorder better.

Thrash refined carbohydrates: - Processed and refined carbohydrates provide unwanted chunk of calories without imparting any nutrition significance. PCOS is often associated with obesity and consumption of refined and processed products are link to obesity (one of cofactors associated with PCOS).

 

Medical nutrition therapy is well established remedy for PCOS management. Nutrition is fundamental principle to manage inception of PCOS symptoms. Here is how a sample PCOS management diet chart looks like: -

 

Meals

Menu

Upon rising

Warm water+ almonds/walnuts

Breakfast

Dal chillas/upma with lots of veggies

Midmorning

Vegetable raita/fruits with flaxseeds seeds

Lunch

Salad +roti + subji +dal

Snacks

Roasted gram+ lavender and chamomile tea

Dinner

Roti+ vegetable +dal

Bedtime

Warm water

 

P.S: -This is just a sample plan for better understanding, PCOS nutritional management and fertility issues require highly personalised and structured dietary approach. Apt diet as suggested by qualified dietitian will certainly help.

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