Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), also referred to as Disease (PCOD), is a chronic hormonal disorder that is extremely common among women of reproductive age. Data suggests that 1 in 8 women suffer from PCOS.
As this condition adversely affects the hormone levels of women, scanty periods or complete absence of periods is extremely common. PCOS affects the process of ovulation—leading to no ovulation or infrequent ovulation. Irregular periods or delayed periods are often the reasons women go to their gynaecologist; most of them end up being diagnosed with PCOS.
Furthermore, if your period is delayed because of PCOS, you may experience heavy bleeding, blood clots, or a longer than usual cycle. The many ways in which PCOS interferes and disrupts your menstrual cycle can cause infertility too.
The Channel 46 caught up with OB/Gyn Dr Ankita Gharge, and Nutritionist Mrinmoyee Sinha from Proactive For Her to get a holistic plan to reverse PCOS.
Proactive For Her is a digital health platform that is providing personalised and confidential healthcare solutions for women. They offer long-term programs to help you manage your PCOS symptoms. If you’ve been struggling with irregular periods and other PCOS-related symptoms, here’s what their medical experts want you to know:
There Are 4 Types Of PCOS
PCOS is usually classified into 4 categories. To tackle your condition, knowing what type of PCOS you have is important.
1. Insulin-Resistant PCOS
Insulin resistance is the most common cause of PCOS. Studies observe that 70% of PCOS patients with insulin resistance need to lead a healthy lifestyle and keep stress under control. Not just that, they also need medical treatment. For those diagnosed with infertility who do not respond to medical treatment, a laparoscopic ovarian drilling procedure may be recommended.
2. Post-Pill PCOS
The second category of PCOS is closely related to the cessation of the consumption of oral contraceptive pills. It takes a few months for your ovulation to come back to normalcy after you stop taking these pills, causing symptoms of PCOS. Lifestyle changes usually help in treating this condition.
3. Adrenal PCOS
Related to the adrenal glands, Adrenal PCOS occurs due to high levels of cortisol and DHEAS, both of which are caused due to massive stress. The treatment usually prescribed in this case is the consumption of vitamin B5, vitamin C, and magnesium supplements, along with a healthy lifestyle and meditation.
4. Inflammatory PCOS
In this case, chronic inflammation leads to a spike in testosterone levels, a result of an unbalanced lifestyle and unhealthy diet. Symptoms like fever and skin infections are natural manifestations of this type of PCOS.
14 Most Common PCOS Symptoms
You may have one or a combination of symptoms. Some women with PCOS have regular periods, even though irregular periods are one of the top and most common symptoms of PCOS. Here’s a list of PCOS symptoms you should look out for:
- Irregular or delayed periods
- Heavy bleeding at the onset of periods
- Excessive facial hair (hirsutism)
- Extreme fatigue/tiredness
- Mood swings
- Brain fog
- Pelvic pain
- Unexplained fluctuations in weight
- Frequent food cravings
- Gastric issues
5 Ways To Reverse Your PCOS Symptoms
There is no cure for PCOS yet. However, there are ways by which women with this medical condition can keep their symptoms under control, and also, reverse the effects of this condition.
1. Nurture Your Body According To Its Individual Needs
Understanding the symptoms and the underlying causes is the key to weight management if you have PCOS. Instead of going to the neighbourhood nutritionist, go to a PCOS diet expert who can identify the type of PCOS you have, take note of your symptoms, and curate a personalised diet plan that will work for you.
2. Make Lifestyle Changes
A healthy diet and a regular fitness routine are essential because these lifestyle modifications form the base of any PCOS treatment.
- Seek Help If Managing Weight Is Your Concern: Obesity can be one of the major triggers of PCOS. Get expert help to get a personalised diet plan and workout plan to manage your PCOS. The answer to managing your weight with PCOS? Be consistent, be active, choose a workout plan or exercise routine you can stick to in the long run, and practice mindful eating. These are the only ways to manage your weight with PCOS naturally. Your gynaecologist may also prescribe you medication to supplement these lifestyle changes.
- Practice Mindful Eating: Keeping a close watch on your food intake is as important because workouts and diet go hand in hand. Your fitness regimen loses its significance without mindful eating. Many women with PCOS develop sensitivity to gluten, sugar, dairy, and foods that can cause inflammation. Doctors recommend foods that are low on the glycemic index (GI) to reverse the symptoms of PCOS. This is because such foods take time to get absorbed by the body, preventing the spike in insulin levels that are typically caused by high GI foods. Hence, eating the right carbs in the right proportions is important. As PCOS is closely related to insulin management, chalking down a 7-day diet plan you can follow weekly (more on the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome diet later in the article) will help in regulating the insulin in your body.
Best Foods To Eat For PCOS
- Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, fresh leafy veggies
- Fresh fruits like apple, orange, banana, kiwi, and pear
- High protein foods like beans, eggs, fish, lean meat
- Spices like ginger, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric
- Herbal teas like spearmint tea and green tea
Foods To Avoid If You Have PCOS
- Vegetables high in starch such as corn, peas, and potatoes
- Red meat and processed meat like cold cuts, sausages, and hot dogs
- Sugary foods and aerated drinks
- Deep-fried foods
- Bakery items such as pastries, cakes, cookies, etc.
- Processed foods made of maida (refined flour)
3. Keep Stress Under Control
Keeping stress at bay is an integral part of PCOS management. Again, here’s where exercise can help release those happy hormones and keep you calm or in a good mood. You can alternatively try fitting in a calming meditation routine in your daily schedule or practice deep breathing to help keep your stress in control and reverse your PCOS symptoms.
4. Sleep Well
Sleep irregularities can create a hormonal imbalance in your body. Managing the quantity and quality of your sleep is very important in the management of PCOS. It is yet another way to keep stress under control. Try and get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every day.
5. Be Consistent
Whether it is your fitness routine, your PCOS diet to manage weight, or regular sleep, you need to lead a disciplined life and take these lifestyle modifications seriously. Remember you’re in it for the long haul, so adopt sustainable habits that you can fit into your daily life with ease.
7-Day PCOS Diet Plan Based On Your Indian Diet
Here’s a PCOS diet chart you can follow to reverse the symptoms of PCOS.
|Days Of The Week||Breakfast||Mid-Morning||Lunch||Snacks||Dinner|
|Monday||Green moong dal chilla with homemade turmeric pickle||1 glass of tender coconut water||Cucumber salad + a cup of rice + bottle gourd curry + a bowl of moong dal||Watermelon mint cooler||Millet roti + okra curry + masoor dal|
|Tuesday||Ragi idlis with coconut chutney||Boiled eggs/a bowl of yoghurt||1 bowl jeera rice + 1 bowl rajma masala + 1 bowl raita||Turmeric tea + roasted chana||Baked beans + grilled chicken/tofu + sauteed veggies|
|Wednesday||Oats coconut porridge along with dry fruits and nuts||1 bowl of watermelon with soaked almonds||A medium bowl of vegetable dalia khichdi with beetroot-carrot salad||Scrambled eggs/sprouts chaat||Roasted pepper soup with sweet corn salad + grilled fish/eggs|
|Thursday||Vegetable poha with home set curd||Beetroot-carrot – apple juice with lime and ginger||Vegetable fried rice with fish curry/tofu curry + 1 glass buttermilk||Apples with peanut butter||Dosa with sambar|
|Friday||Oats and banana pancakes with fresh yoghurt||A whole guava||Palak theplas with mix veg and raita||Sesame-almond-dark chocolate ladoo||Vegetable savoury oats porridge with grilled paneer|
|Saturday||Besan chilla with sprouts salad||Mangoes with walnuts||Jowar bhakris with vegetable mix dal and tomato salad||Roasted foxnuts||Mix veg soup with dal tikkis and green chutney|
|Sunday||Methi jowar rotis with chickpea masala||Chia lime sherbet||Salad + corn palak rice with chicken/paneer curry||Cut fruits with pumpkin/flaxseeds||1 cup brown rice + mushroom curry + lobia masala|
6 Signs You Need To See A Doctor For PCOS
Keep close checks on your health and consult a doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Missed periods for more than 2 months
- Very heavy/too scanty period flow
- Sudden weight gain and difficulty losing it
- Increased PMS with fatigue
- Excess facial and body hair growth along with acne/severe hair fall
- USG report shows the presence of follicles/cysts in ovaries
Once you have been diagnosed with PCOS, the responsibility of making a conscious effort to drive lifestyle changes in your life lies with you. A sporadic execution of these changes will not help in reversing the symptoms of PCOS. Instead, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle not just while you have been diagnosed with the condition, but throughout your life to prevent a relapse or flare-up of your symptoms.