1. Stop consuming inflammatory foods ASAP
Dairy has proven to be a highly inflammatory food for women with PCOS. Since PCOS roots itself in causing havoc on our bodies beginning with the gut microbiota, it might be an easy solution to reduce some of the inflammation experienced with PCOS by avoiding dairy products (1). This might not be the same for every woman, but there are a vast majority that see symptom improvement within weeks of being dairy free. Additionally, gluten and high carbohydrate foods have also proven to be inflammatory in women with PCOS because of the insulin resistance our bodies face when trying to process these types of foods. Insulin resistance is when the body’s transport system to make use of the insulin produced after eating certain foods is essentially broken and can not get the insulin to where it needs to go to be useful. Because of this, the we are left with free radicals being stored as fat and toxins in our bodies (2). Eliminating these types of foods can help reduce your overall inflammation.
2. Stop overdoing it on your workout
One of the main contributing factors of PCOS and weight gain is oxidative stress found in the body. Oxidative stress “is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants” (3) For PCOS ladies, this would be free Testosterone and androgens. Our bodies are smart, but they can’t distinguish between what is us self-imposed stress and what is a physical threat. Women with PCOS tend to have higher cortisol levels as well as inflammation markers as well, so this is something to consider when finding an exercise program that will work for you. It’s natural to want to push yourself harder, and in some cases this might be healthy – just be aware of the damage that it might cause. Some women have seen great success with HIIT to improve insulin resistance and body composition, but the studies show that it did not cause weight loss in the 10 week trial. (4)
3. Stop thinking you have to have polycystic ovaries to have it
There are four different types of PCOS and not all of them include having cysts on your ovaries. PCOS is a metabolic disorder and can present itself in a myriad of ways. Many women present with abnormal hair growth, acne, irregular periods, weight gain, and insulin resistance. While the syndrome’s name sake is characterized by having polycystic ovaries, it it not necessary to have in order to receive a diagnosis if the other symptoms are present (5).
4. Stop thinking it can go untreated if you don’t want kids
PCOS is a condition that affects more systems in the female body than just the reproductive system. Since the onset of PCOS begins with the gut microbiome and the lack of diversity and prevalence of microbiota, inflammation can occur and prevent body systems from doing their jobs properly (2). Even if you don’t want kids, it is important to take care of your PCOS because it has numerous comorbidities that run parallel with it. Things like diabetes, sleep apnea, stroke, heart disease, and even anxiety and depression. The gut-brain connection with PCOS is definitely worth looking into.
5. Stop thinking you have to be strong all the time.
As with any chronic condition, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and truly fatigued with having to take so much intentional care of yourself. It’s okay to have a “PCOS Day” where you just sit in your feelings for a while. Practice self care in whatever way helps you to recenter yourself. Some ideas:
- Have a good cry
- Write in your journal
- Go for a walk
- Do a homemade face mask
- Paint your nails
- Make a craft
- Talk to a friend
No matter what point you are at on this journey, one thing you can know for sure is that the Modern Meditations Community will always have your back! If you have anything you’d like to get off your chest or ask, send me an email to modmedpodcast at gmail dot com – I respond to every email I receive to the best of my ability 🙂
- Zhao, X., Jiang, Y., Xi, H., Chen, L., & Feng, X. (2020). Exploration of the Relationship Between Gut Microbiota and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): a Review. Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde, 80(2), 161–171. https://doi.org/10.1055/a-1081-2036
- Mandal, Ananya. (2019, May 03). What is Oxidative Stress?. News-Medical. Retrieved on September 17, 2020 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Oxidative-Stress.aspx.
- Almenning, I., Rieber-Mohn, A., Lundgren, K. M., Shetelig Løvvik, T., Garnæs, K. K., & Moholdt, T. (2015). Effects of High Intensity Interval Training and Strength Training on Metabolic, Cardiovascular and Hormonal Outcomes in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Pilot Study. PloS one, 10(9), e0138793. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0138793
- Clark, N. M., Podolski, A. J., Brooks, E. D., Chizen, D. R., Pierson, R. A., Lehotay, D. C., & Lujan, M. E. (2014). Prevalence of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Phenotypes Using Updated Criteria for Polycystic Ovarian Morphology: An Assessment of Over 100 Consecutive Women Self-reporting Features of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Reproductive sciences (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), 21(8), 1034–1043. https://doi.org/10.1177/1933719114522525