If you have PCOS, know that you are not alone. This lifestyle disease is so common today that in India alone 1 in 5 women are suffering from it and I was one of them.
Less than a year ago, on a visit to my OB-GYN, as I complained that my periods had reduced and become irregular coupled with lower back pain, I was advised a scan. The scan showed that my ovaries were enlarged with multiple cysts. After being diagnosed with PCOS, the first thing I was told, was not to worry as its common, and the second, that as long as I continue at my current healthy weight, it should not pose much of a health risk.
I had heard of so many friends complaining about it. So when I reached home I began my research on what PCOS was, how did it happen and what I could do to improve it naturally.
So what is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome commonly known as PCOS, is a very prevalent reproductive disorder in women and the leading cause of infertility among women today. The term “polycystic” literally means that a woman’s ovaries have multiple small cysts on them, which is caused from ovaries not being released normally and therefore building up in the ovaries into little “sacks.”
It is a common misconception that PCOS is all about cysts on the ovaries, in fact, it is a characteristic amalgamation of cosmetic, gynecological and metabolic symptoms. Women suffering from PCOS exhibit a range of symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, unwanted hair growth, thinning hair, infertility, acne, pelvic pain, headaches, sleep problems, mood changes, irregular periods with heavy or scanty bleeding.
A study conducted by the department of endocrinology and metabolism, AIIMS, shows that about 20-25 per cent of Indian women of childbearing age are suffering from PCOS. While 60 per cent of women with PCOS are obese, 35-50 per cent have a fatty liver. About 70 per cent have insulin resistance, 60-70 per cent have high level of androgen and 40-60 per cent have glucose intolerance.
Women who have PCOS have a higher rate of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, and premature delivery. Not just that, women with PCOS have a higher risk of developing other health complications such as hypertension, high cholesterol, anxiety and depression, sleep apnea, heart attack, diabetes and endometrial, ovarian and breast cancer.
Faced with this disheartening news, I decided to figure out, if there were any natural remedies.
As PCOS is a lifestyle disorder a change in lifestyle is the first step towards managing PCOS. Eating healthy and getting exercise are the first step. I have always believed in healthy living, but in reality, I was leading a stressed life often making excuses between work and a healthy lifestyle. Now it was time to make some changes.
For a healthy body, its important to exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. You can include walking, swimming or cycling for variation. I would like to point out that yoga has proven to be very beneficial in women suffering from PCOS.
Butterfly Pose: Spread your legs in an angle, while keeping them joined at the feet. This can be done seated or lying down.
Credit : Momjunction.com
Bhujangasana (Cobra pose): This posture exerts soothing pressure on the stomach and aids to stimulate the functions of the ovary.
Dhanurasana (Bow pose): The bow pose helps to stimulate the functions of the reproductive organs. It relieves menstrual discomfort and normalizes the menstrual cycles. It also helps in strengthening the core muscles.
Superman Pose (Viparita Shalabhasana): This specific yoga pose works as good as belly breathing exercise for developing a toned abdomen. It also helps to promote blood circulation to the reproductive organs.
Child’s Pose (Balasana): Child’s pose that brings about relaxation by soothing the Central Nervous System. It also releases lower back tension, menstrual cramps, and PMS symptoms and normalizes blood flow throughout the body.
Mill Churning Pose (Chakki Chalanasana): This exercise helps modify the functions of the endocrine gland. It thereby facilitates optimum hormonal secretion, and it also massages the uterus, and reproductive organs Naukasana (Boat pose): It puts controlled pressure on the abdominal region, increases blood flow to the reproductive organs and enhances the functions of the ovaries.
Marjaryasana and Bitilasana (Cat and Cow Pose): Both these yoga poses massage and stimulate the abdominal muscles and reproductive organs and enhances the functions of the Central Nervous System.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide legged forward Bend): This particular yoga posture works the hips and lower back by flexing the muscles within turn increase energy and facilitates blood circulation to the ovaries.
2. Diet Changes
If you are over-average weight, controlling your weight could help manage your PCOS to a large extent. Aim to lose weight in a healthy manner.
Avoid fried food, opt for a natural simple diet, rich in raw fruits and vegetables.
Aim to balance hormone production by eliminating various toxins that enter our bodies through modern and processed foods. Hormones can easily go amuck when the body’s bombarded by things like animals bred with hormones to help them grow faster. It is also affected by artificial sweeteners, pesticides, preservatives and so on. Go organic with your meat and greens when possible and remember to stay hydrated.
Try to add these everyday foods to your diet, Methi, Flaxseeds, Cinnamon, Holy basil (or Tulsi), Honey, Bitter gourd, Indian Gooseberry (Amla).
3. Lifestyle changes
Reducing stress is a keys to solving any hormonal problem. That’s because stress can have drastic impacts on the endocrine system and therefore hormone production. Try addressing the areas of your life that cause the most stress and how you can handle them appropriately. Remember that “stress” can show up in the body in many different ways. By even skipping sleep, your diet and exercise routine can be perceived as stressful if they aren’t quite what your body needs.
After 6 months on a healthy diet and lifestyle, I went for a scan that could not detect any cysts. A visit to the doctor confirmed that I was free from PCOS.
Remember, that by following having the right lifestyle and diet, losing weight and exercising, you can reduce the side effects and manage this disorder effectively.