“Poly” means many and “cyst” is a fluid-filled sac. So, there is the formation of cysts as eggs are not released over time. PCOD/PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a hormonal imbalance condition which affects women in their reproductive age.
It is characterised by the following symptoms:-
- Weight gain
- Altered mensuration cycle
- Facial hair
- Loss of hair (alopecia)
It leads to several health complications, including menstrual dysfunction, (irregular or skipped periods), infertility (cysts in the ovaries), obesity and high level of male hormones.
- Physical examination
- Blood tests for male hormones
Hormones to be blamed!
Hormones responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle are progesterone and oestrogen. On the other hand, Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinising Hormone (LH) are categorised under Gonadotropins as they stimulate the gonads (testes in males and ovaries in females). Also, the production of follicles (sac-like structures) containing eggs is stimulated by FSH which further leads to LH triggering the ovary to release an egg. This process happens every month is known as ovulation. Unfortunately, PCOS affects this process and the menstrual cycle.
Factors which might play a role in causing PCOS are:-
- Excess production of androgens
- Insulin resistance
How it can affect your body?
Infertility:-As women do not ovulate periodically and don’t release as many eggs.
Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
Obesity and PCOS may increase the risk of high blood sugar, blood pressure, and high LDL levels.
Insulin hormone characterised for regulating the uptake of glucose by our tissues and maintaining blood sugar levels.
PCOS causes insulin resistance, which is the decreased ability of insulin to metabolise glucose. This altered mechanism thus enhances the chances of developing type II diabetes.
It also suppresses the breakdown of fats.
Lifestyle Recommendation for PCOD
- Daily exercise is a must.
- A combination of cardio along with strength training and weight training works the best as it increases the core metabolism.
- Stress-free and Active Lifestyle.
- Practice Yoga and meditation.
- Omit refined carbohydrates and processed foods, sugar and related items like carbonated beverages, juice concentrates, deserts, bakery goods, etc.
Recommended foods for PCOD
- Cut down on 300-500 Kcal on a daily basis.
- Diet rich in whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat diary, and beans.
- Lean proteins such as lean chicken, eggs, fish high in omega 3 such as salmon, mackerel, sardines.
- Good fat:-coconut, avocados, nuts like walnuts, almonds.
- Seeds such as chia, flaxseeds, sesame, hazelnuts.
- Herbs to be included like cinnamon, fenugreek, turmeric, basil, ginger.
- Include soluble and insoluble fibre sources both
- Cereals - oats, barley, whole wheat, millets
- Fruits - apples, papaya, bael, mangoes, apricots, all kind of berries rich in antioxidants
- Vegetables - cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, green leafy vegetables like mustard leaves, lettuce, amaranth, spinach, bathua.
- Probiotics like curd, buttermilk, homemade paneer and low-fat milk
- Include Olive oil, mustard oil, coconut oil, nuts or seed oil.
In a nutshell, PCOS is a disorder and not a disease and it is possible to manage it by maintaining a good active lifestyle which is well balanced in terms of diet and exercise. Also, the medication should be taken as per the doctor’s advice.
- Ding, T., Hardiman, P. J., Petersen, I., Wang, F. F., Qu, F., & Baio, G. (2017). The prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome in reproductive-aged women of different ethnicity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Oncotarget, 8(56), 96351–96358. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.19180
- Dennett, C. C., & Simon, J. (2015). The role of polycystic ovary syndrome in reproductive and metabolic health: overview and approaches for treatment. Diabetes spectrum : a publication of the American Diabetes Association, 28(2), 116–120. doi:10.2337/diaspect.28.2.116
- Melo, A. S., Ferriani, R. A., & Navarro, P. A. (2015). Treatment of infertility in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: approach to clinical practice. Clinics (Sao Paulo, Brazil), 70(11), 765-9.