Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine (hormonal) disorder. It affects about 10% of women. The underlying cause is unknown, but is thought to be related to insulin resistance.
PCOS affects the body’s hormonal balance which can cause symptoms such as
- Menstrual cycle irregularities
- Abnormal hair growth
It increases a women’s risk of developing long-term health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Many of the women that I have talked with who have been recently diagnosed with PCOS have said they left their doctor’s office feeling confused about what they can do that doesn’t revolve around medications. The doctor just gave them a prescription for birth control pills or metformin and said “Go lose weight and come back when you want to have children”.
While it is important to follow the treatment guidelines of your doctor, there are a few lifestyle modifications you can make that can lower your dependence of medications or allow you to get rid of them altogether.
Tips for PCOS
1. Eat more whole, plant-based foods. These include fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and 100% whole grains.
- Decrease the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, and salt in your diet.
- Increase the variety of vegetables you eat on a daily basis.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Snacks are encouraged! Choose lots of fruits, vegetables, and nuts for your snacks!
2. Get up and moving:
- Get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days of the week (running, walking, swimming, tennis, etc.)
- Can’t leave out strength training! Work with some kind of weights 2-3 days per week.
- Work all major muscles in your arms, core, legs, butt, etc.
- Don’t be worried about building bulk; working with some weights will help get you that toned look!
3. Cut out your toxins:
- Eat organic as much as possible. If you can’t afford everything organic (who can any more?), stick with going organic for produce such as apples, berries, and lettuce that does not have a skin that you can peel off.
- Take inventory of your household cleaners. You will find most household cleaners contain harsh chemicals that are endocrine disrupters. Switch to using hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar for general disinfecting.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Take inventory of your cosmetics which contain ingredients that have not been properly tested and can be endocrine disrupters.
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