Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Here's How Can You Lose Weight With Dietary Intervention
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What is PCOS? Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can be termed as a hormonal endocrine disorder in reproductive-age women. In PCOS, multiple cysts develop in the ovaries due to an underlying hormonal imbalance. These are not true cysts but mature unruptured follicles. Women suffer from PCOS due to excessive androgen production, a male-like hormone, and the insulin hormone's inefficiency to process sugars. PCOS causes various symptoms like acne, hirsutism, weight gain, irregular delayed periods, hair loss etc. It is one reason for infertility and many other health conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart diseases. 

What is the science behind PCOS: What causes it?

Women get this condition because of excessive androgen production (a hormone in males) and the insulin hormone's inefficiency to process sugars. This condition can be triggered owing to stress, sedentary lifestyle, excessive carbohydrate, trans-fats-based diets, and indiscriminate use of hormones. Women having PCOS may also encounter diabetes, heart and blood vessel problems. Of course, the cause will vary from person to person. Once you are diagnosed with PCOS, then you will have to seek immediate medical attention. Avoid ignoring the symptoms and delaying the treatment. So, be vigilant. 

How can women lose weight with PCOS?

Women with PCOS should stay physically active by exercising daily. First, of course, you must stick to a healthy diet. Then, you can do physical activities like walking, swimming, jogging, yoga, aerobics, and exercise. But remember not to go overboard. For example, to lower the insulin levels and improve your gut health:

  1. Add fibre to your diet.
  2. Go for leafy green vegetables and whole grains.
  3. Do not have food with calories that will put you at risk of obesity.
  4. Bid adieu to caffeine, tea, and carbonated drinks. 

Nutritional intervention for women with PCOS

Opt for seeds, berries, legumes, flax seeds, and whole grains. Include meats like chicken, salmon, fish and tuna besides beans, tofu. Also, try avocado, quinoa, flax seeds, broccoli, cauliflower, sardines, peanuts, and chickpeas. More than anything, do not follow anything from the internet. Instead, consult an expert before any changes in your lifestyle and diet. 

What physiological changes occur in women with PCOS?

As already mentioned, women with PCOS will have ovulation problems. They tend to have higher levels of androgens, and small cysts are present on the ovaries. Hirsutism is extreme hair growth on the body, irregular menses, weight gain, and fatigue are common physiological changes seen in women. Before you visit the doctor, you will have to note down the changes in your body. Then, get a thorough knowledge about this condition; ask questions to the doctor. You must know why a specific medication is prescribed to you. Be aware of the treatment recommended to you.

(Queries answered by Dr Pratima Thamke, Gynecologist and Obstetrician, Motherhood Hospital, Navi Mumbai)