Maintaining a Healthy Weight with PCOS
An extremely common symptom of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is weight gain, ranging from a few pounds to much more. Not only can weight gain due to PCOS impact one’s self-image, it can also aggravate other symptoms of the disorder such as infertility and insulin sensitivity or resistance. It also has the potential to increase your risk of developing other conditions such as sleep apnoea, diabetes, or heart disease. While the logical response to this information would be to attempt weight loss or a healthier lifestyle, trying to lose weight can be incredibly difficult with PCOS as an obstacle to your goal. Luckily, there are a few strategies you can implement to help you in this effort.
But before we dive into these methods, let’s first discuss why PCOS triggers weight gain in the first place, and in turn, how it can prevent you from losing weight. PCOS is a hormonal disorder which stimulates increased production of androgen hormones. Heightened androgen levels in the body can lead to unpleasant symptoms like breakouts, increased body hair, and disruptions in your menstrual cycle as well as weight gain. In turn, because these hormone levels are so high, reversing these symptoms can be near impossible without hormonal regulation. On top of all this, some experts even believe that developing these symptoms in the first place — such as gaining weight due to lifestyle changes — can catalyse the onset of PCOS, creating a vicious cycle.
If you are stuck in the PCOS cycle and are trying to get out, there are several ways to change your lifestyle and positively impact your health. Not only are there a number of medications that can improve your PCOS symptoms and regulate your imbalanced hormones, but there are other small, natural changes you can make as well. For example, altering your diet can be as easy as reducing your refined sugar intake and increasing the amount of fibre you consume, such as in vegetables, fruits, and whole grain carbohydrates. If you are a smoker, starting a regimen to reduce and eventually eradicate your tobacco use can improve your overall health as well as your PCOS symptoms.
Furthermore, working out just 30 minutes four to five times per week can increase your cardiovascular health as well, reducing your risk of developing heart disease while stopping PCOS in its tracks. These small changes can make a big difference — losing just ten per cent of your body weight can improve your PCOS symptoms, regulate your menstrual cycle, and steady your blood sugars and cholesterol as well.