Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common female endocrine disorder that affects one out of 15 women of childbearing age in the United States. It is also the leading cause of infertility among women. This condition causes imbalance on the production of hormones. When there is excessive amount of insulin, the ovaries are stimulated to produce more testosterone than necessary. As a result, a woman with PCOS will have irregular periods and even infertility. Risks of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease are also heightened.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms vary from one woman to another but common ones are:
- excess body hair
- insulin resistance
- irregular ovulation
- cysts on the ovaries
- male-pattern baldness
Recovery and Prevention
If you are suffering from such condition, immediate medical treatment should be in order. Apart from that, you can also adopt changes that can help reverse the symptoms and improve your chances of getting pregnant if you're planning to have a baby.
- For one, you need to have a healthier diet. It is advisable to eat a diet that is low in carbohydrates and refined sugars. This way, you can help to reverse the imbalance of insulin and glucose in the body. As much as possible, avoid bad carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, rice and pastries. Instead, eat good carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, and quinoa.
- It is also necessary to make exercise a part of your daily routine. Even though you live a busy life, it is imperative that you squeeze exercise into your schedule. It doesn't have to be a rigorous fitness program in the gym. Even a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood, some outdoor sports with your friends, or playtime with the kids, as long as it burns your calories, can be good for you. Physical activity boosts metabolism and at the same time controls insulin levels. It helps curb the risk for diabetes, which as mentioned earlier is a common health risk for women with this condition.
- If you are a smoker, it's about time that you finally kick your nicotine habit. According to medical experts, women who smoke have higher levels of androgens, a group of chemically-related male hormones that can contribute to infertility. Not only that, smoking also doubles your risk for heart disease, which is something that you're already at risk of if you have PCOS.
- On top of these, it's also a must to maintain proper weight. Excess weight increases the risk of diabetes. Along with that, it shoots up the levels of androgen, which can contribute to infertility. Losing as little as 5 to 7 percent of your excess weight can greatly reduce androgen levels, enough to improve fertility by 75 percent. Proper weight management can be achieved with regular exercise and low-calorie, low-fat diet.