Hormone imbalance is one of the most common symptoms of PCOS. Women with polycystic ovaries might find themselves with too much testosterone or lutenising hormone, which can then lead to other problems such as irregular menstrual cycles and infertility.
Balancing hormones for anyone with polycystic ovaries is incredibly important. Not only can it help with regulating periods, it can also have positive effects on mood, skin and weight. While your doctor can provide you with medication that can help to even out hormones, it’s possible to take a more natural route.
Make Dietary Changes
Making dietary changes is one the simplest ways to balance hormones naturally. While some foods can help to level out your hormones, others can actually make the problem worse, so it’s worth taking a look at what you’re eating.
Cutting out sugar and refined carbs is a great first step. These actually increase insulin resistance and encourage weight gain, which in turn make hormone imbalances worse. Similarly, dairy can have a negative effect on hormone imbalances, so try switching to plant-based milks and spreads. Adding things such as leafy greens, nuts, avocado and oily fish to your diet can help to keep hormones in check.
Stress is one of the biggest contributors to hormone imbalances. When we experience stress or anxiety, the release of cortisol and adrenalin disrupt the body’s natural balance.
Trying to reduce stress levels is incredibly important for women suffering with PCOS. Relaxation practices such as meditation, yoga and mindfulness have been proven to help in the fight against stress. Spending time with friends and family, and ensuring you’ve got a great support network can also make a huge difference. You should make sure you’re getting enough sleep as well - eight hours is ideal - and avoid excess caffeine and alcohol.
Taking regular exercise is one of the best ways to boost the hormones you want, and reduce the ones you don’t. Keeping active can prevent excess production of estrogen, cortisol and insulin - the three hormones that contribute to weight gain.
For PCOS sufferers, low-impact, gentle exercises are the key to good health. Brisk walking, jogging, cycling and swimming are ideal, especially if you can rope a friend or partner in as well! Yoga should also be on the list, as it’s great at helping with relaxation and breathing. Strength training is another option, as these types of exercises can also help to reduce insulin resistance and increase your metabolism.
Consider Vitamins or Supplements
If you’ve already made changes to your diet, adding in some extra vitamins or supplements is a great idea. Spices such as turmeric and cinnamon are great, and can be either added to food and drink or taken in a tablet or capsule form.
Other natural supplements often contain a good mix of different vitamins, such as Myo-inositol, folate and chromium which occur naturally in the body. Working together, these vitamins help to balance hormones and promote normal ovarian function, increasing fertility and aiding weight loss.