Combat the Effects of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
April 30, 2017
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, commonly referred to as PCOS, is a condition often responsible for infertility among women. Along with issues related to the menstrual cycle, PCOS can result in long-term complications. While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, there are lifestyle changes women can take to help combat its effects.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is an endocrine disorder that affects 5 to 10 percent of women of childbearing age.1 It is estimated that PCOS is responsible for 70 percent of infertility issues in women who have trouble ovulating.1 Women who suffer from PCOS develop small collections of fluid in their ovaries. These cyst-like formations surround the eggs inside the ovaries. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown.
PCOS Symptoms & Complications
Women who have PCOS may be affected by the condition differently, but the most common symptom is having irregular periods.1 Other examples of irregularities include cycles that are longer than 35 days, having fewer than eight cycles per year, or prolonged periods. As anyone who has tried to become pregnant knows, irregular periods make it very difficult to time ovulation and fertile days. Many women who have PCOS aren’t diagnosed with the condition until they seek infertility treatment.
Women with PCOS often have an elevated level of male sex hormones. In men, high levels of androgen or testosterone may cause excess body and facial hair, acne or male pattern baldness.1 These same hormones can also be responsible for the ovaries not releasing an egg each month.
In addition to the symptoms noted above, women with PCOS are more likely to have long-term complications from it, such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, lipid abnormalities and even cancer of the uterine lining.1
Lifestyle Changes to Combat PCOS
Unfortunately, symptoms and complications related to PCOS can become more severe or likely to occur if a woman is obese. For women who are struggling with excess weight, it’s even more important to implement lifestyle changes to combat the effects of PCOS.
The first step for women with PCOS is to keep their weight in check or lower it to an acceptable level. Becoming active will aid in weight loss and help lower blood sugar levels. Daily exercise can treat or even prevent insulin resistance and help keep weight under control.
Women who are overweight can also make dietary changes, such as getting their daily calorie intake to the ideal range. By losing weight, they may be able to reduce both insulin levels and androgen levels, which may restore ovulation.2 Women who want to lose weight should also evaluate the types of foods they eat. Focusing on low-fat proteins and complex carbohydrates, which are high in fiber, can help with weight loss, as these foods can keep blood sugar in check. Women who are overweight should also limit simple carbs, such as soda, candy, cookies and other sweets.
If you are struggling with infertility or the symptoms related to PCOS, talk to your health care provider. He or she can help develop the right treatment plan for you. Even if you are having trouble becoming pregnant, it is still important to take a daily prenatal vitamin. The Prenate® Vitamin Family offers a line of prenatal vitamins with folic acid. Each contains 1 mg folate as a blend of bioavailable L-methylfolate and traditional folic acid. This nutrient is critical in early pregnancy to a baby’s long-term and healthy development. Talk to your doctor to see which Prenate® supplement is right for you.