Living with PCOS

Did you know that as many as 1 in 10 women of childbearing age have PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women and people assigned female at birth. It is characterized by a variety of symptoms, including irregular periods, excess hair growth, and acne. PCOS is also associated with insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. While medication and lifestyle changes are often the first steps in managing PCOS, it's also important to consider other factors like diet, exercise, and emotional health. Making positive changes in these areas can have a big impact on both the physical and emotional aspects of living with PCOS.

Fitness and nutrition can improve PCOS symptoms. For example, regular exercise can help regulate hormone levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce stress levels. A balanced diet that includes whole foods, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates can also help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. Additionally, certain supplements, such as inositol, berberine, and fish oil, may also help improve PCOS symptoms. Individuals with PCOS may also benefit from following a specific nutrition guideline is important because it can help improve the symptoms and overall health. It's also important to keep in mind that not all people with PCOS will have the same nutritional needs, so it's best to speak with an expert to develop a personalized plan.

The experience of living with PCOS can vary widely from person to person. Some common symptoms include menstrual irregularities, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, and acne. Many people with PCOS also struggle with hair loss and excess hair growth. In addition to the physical symptoms, many people with PCOS also experience emotional challenges. 

The diagnosis of PCOS is based on several criteria. These include having irregular menstrual periods, having high levels of androgen, and having polycystic ovaries. In addition, other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as thyroid disorders and Cushing's syndrome, need to be ruled out. In most cases, the diagnosis is made based on clinical signs and symptoms, but sometimes blood tests and imaging tests are needed. It's important to note that the symptoms of PCOS can vary a lot from person to person.

In PCOS, the ovaries make higher-than-normal levels of androgens (male hormones), which can lead to irregular periods and other symptoms. The high androgen levels can also cause small cysts to develop on the ovaries, giving PCOS its name. These cysts are not usually harmful and tend to be small, but they can sometimes grow larger and cause pain. Another thing that happens in PCOS is that the body becomes resistant to insulin, a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels. This can lead to high blood sugar levels and can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

One of the most important dietary changes for PCOS is reducing refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and rice. These foods are quickly broken down into sugar, which can worsen insulin resistance and lead to weight gain. Instead, it's better to choose complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes. These foods are digested more slowly and have a lower glycemic index, which means they won't cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Good sources of protein include fish, chicken, eggs, beans, lentils, and nuts and seeds. It's also important to make sure you're getting enough healthy fats in your diet. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity. Avocados, nuts, and olive oil are also good sources of healthy fats.

Regular exercise has been shown to be helpful for managing PCOS in several ways. It can help reduce insulin resistance, which is a key component of PCOS. There are several ways in which exercise can reduce insulin resistance. First, it can increase the body's sensitivity to insulin, meaning that it will be more effective at using the glucose in the blood. Second, it can increase muscle mass, which helps to use glucose more effectively. Third, it can reduce inflammation, which can improve insulin sensitivity. And finally, it can help to reduce stress, which can reduce cortisol levels and improve insulin resistance.

In terms of fitness, combining both aerobic exercise and resistance training is ideal. Aerobic exercise, such as walking or swimming, can help to burn calories and reduce stress. Resistance training, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, can help to build muscle and increase strength. It's also important to incorporate regular stretching and mobility exercises to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.

It can also help to regulate the menstrual cycle and improve fertility. Exercise also has other benefits for people with PCOS, such as improving mood and sleep quality. So, it's a really important part of treatment. And remember, it's not all about the physical benefits. Exercise and better nutrition can also improve mental health by reducing stress and anxiety, and improving sleep quality. So, it's worth making the effort to find an activity that you enjoy, even if it's just taking a short walk every day. 

You can explore PCOS fitness and nutrition plans with Fitcru. Our experienced coaches will get to know you, your lifestyle, and your preferences to give you personalized feedback and suggestions. We'll help you reach your body goals, especially those of weight loss, with your online weight loss coach and sustain your results.

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