A patient with her doctor. Her doctor is illustrating importance of vagina health

How to maintain a healthy lifestyle after your PCOS diagnosis

A polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) diagnosis may feel like the end of the world, and dealing with its symptoms is a frustrating, often painful and scary experience for many women. From weight fluctuations and excess hair growth to insulin resistance and problems with conceiving, PCOS can be life-changing – but there’s no need for life to come to a standstill because of it.

Living with PCOS is possible and is a matter of managing its symptoms. By making certain lifestyle adjustments, women who have been diagnosed with PCOS can take back their power and live full, happy and healthy lives.

Pay attention to what you eat

Diet plays a significant role in managing the symptoms of PCOS, and it’s essential to get familiar with the types of food that can exacerbate symptoms and make PCOS a nightmare to deal with.

Refined carbohydrates like white bread, cakes and cookies, as well as sugary treats like soft drinks, fruit juices and energy drinks, can cause a spike in insulin levels in the body. This is problematic, as most women who are diagnosed with PCOS have an underlying problem with processing insulin.

In many cases, raised insulin levels not only cause fluctuations in body weight but also stimulate the production of androgen in the body (which is irresponsible for all that weird hair growth). Saturated fats like butter and margarine should also be avoided, as they can accelerate a process called atherogenesis, where fatty deposits are formed in the arteries. 

Enjoy a healthy variety of nutritious, non-starchy veggies at lunch and dinner, limit fruit intake to two or three servings a day, and stick to lean cuts of meat cooked in minimal to no fat (time to fire up the braai!).

PCOS patients can also consult a dietician for a more structured diet plan.

Get moving

Regular exercise is an excellent defence against several PCOS woes including managing weight, improving insulin sensitivity and reducing stress. Physical activity also does wonders for managing stress levels, which is another aggravator for PCOS.

This can be as intense as an HIIT workout at the gym or as chilled as a meditative yoga session at the park with friends.

Still, the general recommendation for those with PCOS is to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week.

Ask for help

PCOS can be a lonely place, and it helps to have a good support network to reach out to those who understand what the PCOS experience is like. This may include family and friends, or an online PCOS support group.

It’s essential to visit your healthcare provider for regular checkups, as no treatment plan is set in stone and may need to be adjusted depending on individual responses.

Remember to ask about alternative, non-invasive options such as nutritional supplements; Ovaria, for instance, is a well-known and widely used ovarian health supplement that contains 4 000mg of myoinositol – a naturally occurring sugar in the body that is clinically proven to improve insulin sensitivity and other PCOS symptoms.

Conquering PCOS symptoms to live happily ever after is certainly possible with the right attitude and adopting healthier lifestyle habits.

Image credit: Freepik

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