Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): How Can You Reduce The Risk Of Developing This Hormonal Disorder
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common treatable cause of infertility in women, estimated to account for about 80 per cent of anovulatory infertility cases. It is a common hormonal disorder among women, affecting around 5-10 per cent of women of reproductive age. The syndrome is characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth, weight gain, and acne. Not just fertility problems, PCOS can also lead to insulin resistance, and diabetes. Although the exact cause of PCOS is not known, certain lifestyle habits can help reduce its incidence in women.
Here, Dr Shweta Wazir, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynecology, Motherhood Hospital, Gurugram, shares some of the habits that can help reduce the incidence of PCOS in women.
Regular exercise is crucial in managing PCOS symptoms and reducing its incidence. Exercise helps to improve insulin sensitivity, increase metabolism, and regulate menstrual cycles. It also aids in weight loss, which is beneficial in reducing the severity of PCOS symptoms. A combination of aerobic and resistance training can be beneficial for women with PCOS. A study found that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise three times a week for 12 weeks significantly improved insulin sensitivity and menstrual regularity in women with PCOS.
A healthy diet is essential for women with PCOS. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and regulate hormones. It is also recommended to avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and high-fat foods. Low glycemic index (GI) foods are beneficial in reducing insulin resistance, which is common in women with PCOS. A study found that a low GI diet improved insulin sensitivity, menstrual regularity, and lipid profile in women with PCOS.
Stress can worsen PCOS symptoms and increase the incidence of PCOS in women. High levels of stress can lead to increased cortisol levels, which can disrupt hormone levels and menstrual cycles. Therefore, stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help reduce stress and improve PCOS symptoms. A study found that yoga improved menstrual regularity, hormonal profiles, and quality of life in women with PCOS.
Good sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. Women with PCOS often have poor sleep quality and sleep apnea, which can worsen PCOS symptoms. Therefore, it is essential to practice good sleep hygiene by maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and creating a comfortable sleep environment. A study found that improving sleep quality in women with PCOS reduced insulin resistance, inflammation, and androgen levels.
Vitamin D deficiency is common in women with PCOS and can worsen its symptoms. Vitamin D is essential for bone health, immune function, and hormonal regulation. Therefore, it is recommended to get adequate sunlight exposure or take vitamin D supplements to maintain optimal levels. A study found that vitamin D supplementation improved menstrual regularity, hormonal profiles, and glucose metabolism in women with PCOS.
Smoking can worsen PCOS symptoms and increase the risk of developing PCOS. Smoking increases oxidative stress, which can damage cells and disrupt hormone levels. Therefore, quitting smoking can help improve PCOS symptoms and reduce its incidence. A study found that smoking cessation improved menstrual regularity and hormone levels in women with PCOS.