Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects up to 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. It is a complex condition that involves a combination of hormonal imbalances and metabolic dysfunction and can have a wide range of symptoms and complications.
In this blog, we will explore what PCOS is, its common symptoms, risk factors, and how to help minimize symptoms through nutrition, insulin control, and strength training.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a condition in which the ovaries produce higher than normal levels of androgens (male hormones – yes, us girls have them too!), leading to a range of hormonal imbalances and metabolic dysfunction. PCOS can cause irregular periods, acne, excess hair growth, and difficulty getting pregnant. It can also increase the risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (not fun at all!!).
Common Symptoms of PCOS
The symptoms of PCOS can vary from person to person and can include:
- Irregular periods or no periods at all
- Excess hair growth on the face, chest, or back
- Acne or oily skin
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Dark patches of skin on the neck, groin, or underarms
- Infertility or difficulty getting pregnant
- Hair loss or thinning hair
- Depression or anxiety
How to Help Minimize Symptoms through Nutrition, Insulin Control, and Strength Training
While there is no cure for PCOS, there are several lifestyle changes that can help manage symptoms and improve overall health (and if you follow these anyway, you might find yourself feeling better on many fronts).
- Nutrition (obviously that’s the first thing I go for, always): Eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet can help regulate hormones, improve insulin sensitivity, and manage weight. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats. Avoid processed and packaged foods, sugary drinks, and foods with added sugars. Aim for a balanced intake of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, and consider working with myself to develop a personalized nutrition plan.
- Insulin Control: Insulin resistance is a common feature of PCOS, so managing blood sugar levels is crucial for minimizing symptoms. Some strategies to improve insulin sensitivity include regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, and considering medications such as metformin. Eating smaller meals several times a day with a moderate amount of carbohydrates and fiber can also help regulate blood sugar levels.
- Strength Training: Strength training can help build lean muscle mass, which can increase metabolic rate and improve body composition. Aim for at least two to three strength training sessions per week, focusing on compound exercises that work for multiple muscle groups at once. Consider working with me to design a safe and effective strength training program (I have several qualified PT-created programmes at my fingertips).
Implementing these into your daily routine will help not only with PCOS but with a variety of hormonal and chronic conditions. If you are unsure as to where to start, book a free call with me. I might be able to point you in the right direction or to one of my many freely available resources
Dr Monika Gostic is a scientist, a lecturer, a mother, an entrepreneur, an aspiring athlete and more! She has been through her own health journey where she developed an intense interest in nutrition and its connection to health and disease. This is why she specializes in helping people with chronic conditions through her B.A.D. Method! Breaking B.A.D. movement (Balanced. Authentic. Deserving.) is designed to help business owners break the cycle of chronic pain, nutrient starvation, reduced productivity, and frustration!
Dr Gostic is a regular speaker at conferences and events on nutrition and health. She has been featured on BBC Scotland Radio 1 and BBC Scotland TV programme Food Fest. In addition to her academic background in Microbiology, Genetics, and Cancer research, she also holds qualifications in Nutrition, Sports Nutrition, Mental health, and Coaching. Her coaching has resulted in many life-changing results which are reflected in four independent business awards to date.
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