Putting up with PCOS? Try these 4 lifestyle tweaks to get the upper hand
According to Dr Vishakha Shivdasani
More than a love of crispy golden jalebis or a fascination with squeezing out stubborn ingrowth, what unites most Indian women today is a four-letter word. Yes, that one. And also, PCOS. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome has become all too common with girls as young as 14 being diagnosed. And yet, with this hormonal disorder come a horde of unanswered questions.
“PCOS is a metabolic condition that affects approximately 20 per cent of all Indian women of reproductive age,” says Dr. Vishakha Shivdasani, a medical doctor and a lifestyle and weight management specialist. PCOS affects a woman’s endocrine system and is characterised by symptoms such as infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity. “Though we are not completely sure of what causes PCOS, we do know that it is linked to one’s lifestyle,” explains Shivdasani. However, with the internet, medical journals and unsolicited advice that comes our way, it’s difficult to narrow down a plan of action.
Through the course of our conversation, Shivdasani shared easy lifestyle changes you can make to help treat PCOS.
Try this PCOS treatment plan
There is no way around working out
Bad news for all those who’d rather sleep in than go for a run – there is no alternative to physical activity. Since PCOS is characterised by our sedentary lifestyles, “there is no magic pill that you can pop to make this go away,” says Shivdasani. She recommends resistance training for PCOS patients.
Eliminate all forms of simple sugar
Simple sugars should be eliminated as far as possible, and sugars should only come from complex carbohydrates. “To reduce weight and insulin resistance, which are both parts of the PCO complex, it is imperative to eliminate all forms of simple sugar from your diet. This includes natural sugars such as honey, maple syrup and agave,” says Shivdasani. Alternatives to simple sugar are sugar substitutes such as stevia or monk fruit or sugar in the form of vegetables and fruits.
Go natural with your supplements
“There are natural supplements that you can take to decrease insulin resistance that comes with suffering from PCOS. There are instances when these supplements tend to work better than allopathic medication,” says Dr. Shivdasani. She recommends Ceylonese cinnamon and turmeric, adding, “Be very careful when picking the variety of cinnamon as the Ceylonese variant helps, however the other varieties can sometimes do more damage than good. It is also important that all these supplements are completely organic.”
Mental health is as important as physical wellbeing
Dr. Shivdasani recommends a holistic approach towards tackling PCOS. Diet, physical activity and mental health, all play a role in helping with one’s progress – “It is very important to get adequate sleep, eat healthy, stay fit, and at the same time try and lead a stress free lifestyle.”
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