If you’re living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), please know that you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 5-10% of women have this hormonal disorder, making PCOS the most common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. Because it’s difficult to diagnose, however, many don’t know they have it.
What exactly is PCOS? What are the five pillars of PCOS? Let's dive into the five ways you can empower yourself to recognize potential symptoms and take charge of your PCOS journey.
Educate Yourself and Reach Out for Professional Guidance
First things first—empowerment starts with knowledge. Educate yourself about PCOS by understanding its symptoms, causes, and potential complications. PCOS is characterized by various symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles, excess androgen levels (male hormones), and the development of small cysts on the ovaries. PCOS can lead to a range of health concerns, such as fertility issues, weight gain, insulin resistance, and acne. If you think you may have PCOS, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional who is experienced in managing PCOS, such as an OB-GYN or PCOS specialist. They can provide personalized guidance, evaluate your unique situation, and create a tailored treatment plan that addresses your specific needs.
Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle
Eat the rainbow
A vibrant and healthy lifestyle is key to effectively managing PCOS. Focus on a well-rounded diet that will supply your body with a range of nutrients:
- whole, nutrient-packed foods
- colorful fruits and veggies
- whole grains
- lean proteins
- healthy fats
This dietary adjustment will provide a strong foundation that can help your ovaries function as they should. Also, try to keep sugars & processed snacks in check—they won't do you any favors when it comes to your hormone health.
Get Your Body Moving
Keep your body moving with exercises you like—that way, you’ll be more likely to make working out a habit.. There’s no need to go overboard, just try to break a sweat while matching your fitness level. Some of our favorite activities are nature walks, a few laps in the pool, or hitting the dance floor every once in a while. Try to aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week to keep your health projecting in the right direction. By prioritizing your fitness, you'll not only enhance healthy weight management, you can also improve insulin sensitivity.
Prioritize Sleep and Stress Management
Getting high-quality sleep and keeping stress away is ideal for PCOS management. How many hours of sleep does a woman with PCOS need? Aim for a sweet spot of 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to support hormone regulation and let your body reset. Try unwinding with a relaxing bedtime routine—we suggest mindful meditation or curling up with a good book and a cup of hot tea.
Remember that stress can throw a huge wrench in your PCOS journey, so let's make sure you’ve got the right tools to handle it. Techniques like deep breathing exercises and soothing yoga sessions are great ways to limit daily stress. You can also pamper and rejuvenate yourself with self-care rituals, set boundaries in your social life, and make time for your favorite activities.
Keep Tabs With Regular Monitoring and Ongoing Support
Try to stay in tune with your body by keeping a close eye on your symptoms and how they may evolve over time. Schedule regular check-ups with a doctor you trust, and keep asking questions along the way.
Lean on your friends, family, and online communities that focus on PCOS. Swapping stories, sharing tips, and supporting others who understand the challenges can provide a valuable network, validation, and peace of mind.
Consider PCOS-Specific Supplements and Medications
Let's give your wellness routine an extra boost by exploring PCOS-specific supplements (think DIM, inositols, and folic acid). These additions work hand-in-hand with your lifestyle modifications to create a dynamic support system for your ovarian health.
Please speak with your healthcare provider before diving into any new supplementation—they'll guide you through options, and help tailor a plan specific to your needs.