You’ve just found out that you have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), welcome to the club. Around one in ten women, are dealing with PCOS (University of Birmingham). Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome itself will present differently in each person, but can be summarised as a condition that impacts the ovaries and may result in irregular menstrual cycles, excess hair growth, hormone imbalances, chronic fatigue or hair loss to name a few. These irregularities are due to cysts forming on the ovaries that are thought to be the result of hormonal disorder.
When I received my diagnosis for PCOS, I immediately began to research what I could do to improve and not further aggravate my condition, but the inundation of information was overwhelming. Below we have categorised the changes most people make into four categories: exercise and activity habits, supplement intake, hair loss or growth and finally pain management.
Exercise and activity habits
Exercising became a very difficult part of my life due to my weight fluctuations, but that soon changed once I altered my view on movements. With PCOS you become prone to inflammation and increases in stress related hormones, which means you have to take a sturdy and gentle approach to your exercise routine. This means no more excessive high intensity cardio, it’s time to switch to a method called LISS, coupled with weight training. LISS stands for low intensity steady state, exercises such as walking, continuous climbing, pilates and yoga all fit into this category. Weight training is also advised as this will increase your muscle mass which will inturn increase your metabolic rate, even when you are not training.
Supplements can be a tricky one as everyone is different, but the general rule of thumb is to take supplements that can help to reduce inflammation, can manage your hormone levels and potentially help to increase your metabolism. Most people who suffer from PCOS will be advised to take inositol and licorice root supplements.
Hair loss and hair growth
As some people with PCOS have increased levels of stress hormones, this can result in hair loss in the places you would want to have hair. Hair loss should be monitored closely. Some people have reported that hair loss reduces when stress is well managed. On the other side, excessive ‘male pattern’ hair growth as a result of hormonal activity (androgens) can lead to facial, chest and excess body hair, this condition is known as hirustim. Hair removal methods are very personal, but the three best methods for long term results are waxing, electrolysis and laser hair removal.
As if all of the above was not enough, PCOS can make your periods more painful! I personally have not got this particular part of PCOS down yet, but after doing my own survey of PCOS hotties, I was advised to use a tens machine and heated pad, to alleviate the debilitating cramping that occurs with my menstrual cycle.