Top 3 Things You Can Do Today To Help Manage PCOS
Posted by Allie on 5th July 2016
Although there’s a wealth of information available to read on PCOS, it can sometimes be confusing to know where to start with getting symptoms under control. There’s no quick fix to managing PCOS but here are 3 ways you can start helping yourself now.
1) Educate yourself
First things first, one of the best ways to manage your symptoms now, and in the long term, is to understand how PCOS affects your body. The power of educating yourself shouldn’t be underestimated - learning about the hormonal imbalances caused by the condition is essential to make effective changes to your health and lifestyle. For example, knowing about the impact of insulin resistance, which many women with PCOS suffer from, can help you choose the best foods to optimise your health and/or lose weight healthily.
Educating yourself about PCOS can also be empowering and help with feeling in control. It doesn’t need to be time consuming. Positive PCOS has been created to enable quick and easy access to information and you can read about the basics of the condition here. Become the expert of your own condition now!
2) Get Moving
It can seem like a vicious cycle – losing weight has been shown to help improve symptoms for women with PCOS who are overweight (1) but it can also be harder to lose weight if you have PCOS. However, research overwhelmingly asserts that exercise is key to managing PCOS symptoms and it’s important to reach, and maintain, a healthy weight. Two and a half hours of exercise a week is recommended for all women with PCOS. Again, education is key to exercising – the more you know about the benefits of exercising, the more likely you are to get started. Seeing the positive impact of exercise on your health and body can be a great motivator to continue.
3) Look at your diet
In combination with exercise, diet is an aspect of your lifestyle that can help with managing PCOS symptoms. In fact, lifestyle modifications are the first line treatment for PCOS. It’s therefore important to take an honest look at your diet and see if there are any healthy changes that you can make. Despite the crucial role that diet plays in managing PCOS symptoms, there isn’t one single diet that has been proven to work for women with PCOS unfortunately. However, the benefits of a low glycemic index have been identified in the research literature and it’s increasingly being advocated as a suitable diet for PCOS (2).
Eating healthily doesn’t need to be boring and difficult. Eating nutritious, wholesome foods has benefits regardless of whether you have PCOS. As with exercise, it can help to start making changes gradually. For example, you could start out with making your own meals from scratch 3 times a week if you eat a lot of take-away food or try to make sure half your plate is filled with vegetables for lunch or dinner.
Note that referenced or mentioned authors, websites and organisations are not affiliated with, nor endorsing, the content published on Positive PCOS.
1: The Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health on behalf of the PCOS Australian Alliance. 2011. Evidence-based guideline for the assessment and management of polycystic ovary syndrome. Copies available to download at www.jeanhailes.org.uk
2: K. Marsh et al. 2010. Effect of a low glycemic index compared with a conventional healthy diet on polycystic ovary syndrome. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 92: 83–92