Hearing you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can be overwhelming. On the one hand, you finally have an answer for your heavy periods and other frustrating symptoms. On the other, fears of infertility and a lifetime of chronic health problems gather like a storm cloud in your mind.
PCOS is a complicated condition, and unfortunately, there’s no cure. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it.
Drs. Clinton and Rebecca Ashford at The Ashford Center specialize in relieving PCOS symptoms and helping you make simple but necessary lifestyle adjustments so you can thrive in spite of your diagnosis.
Here are a few things you can start doing today to manage PCOS.
Approximately half of women with PCOS are either overweight or obese, and they tend to have higher than normal levels of insulin. Insulin is a hormone your pancreas makes to help your body absorb and use the sugar in your blood. Too little insulin, and your blood becomes saturated with sugar. This can also happen if you have a condition called insulin resistance.
With insulin resistance, your pancreas pumps out insulin at a high rate to no avail. The higher levels of insulin in your system can cause your ovaries to overproduce androgens like testosterone.
There’s also a correlation between insulin resistance and a higher body mass index and difficulty losing weight.
What does this mean for someone like you living with PCOS? It means taking a closer look at your diet and making a few changes.
If your diet is high in refined carbohydrates (think starchy, sugary foods), you exacerbate insulin resistance and make managing your PCOS that much more difficult.
A PCOS-friendly diet should be high in fiber to combat insulin resistance, slow down digestion, and reduce the effects of sugar on your blood. The best places to find fiber are leafy green vegetables, beans and lentils, berries, and almonds, to name a few.
We also encourage you to add lean proteins, including tofu, chicken, and fish to your diet. Foods that help you control inflammation like tomatoes, spinach, olive oil, and berries are other good choices.
Making adjustments to your diet and managing your weight go hand in hand — and they go a long way toward helping you get a handle on PCOS. Losing healthy weight has been shown to effectively manage PCOS symptoms, reduce the risk of related problems, and even improve ovulation.
Insulin resistance and pesky PCOS symptoms are no match for a good workout. We don’t need you to sign up for cross-training or run a marathon, but we do encourage you to work in some movement whenever you can. If you’re new to exercise, start slowly with low-impact exercises like swimming, yoga, or bike riding. Even simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make a difference.
Making healthy choices is hard enough when you’re feeling your best. Add in stress and it’s almost impossible to stay on track. Not to mention that PCOS is associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
That’s why we help you “find your zen” and take control of your mental health. Try meditation, deep-breathing exercises, gentle exercises, and/or hobbies to take your mind off your worries and refocus on being your healthiest self.
Nearly 5 million women have PCOS. Sadly, many of them are trying to handle it on their own. That's the last thing we want for you. Our team of experienced OB/GYNs has years of experience relieving PCOS symptoms, such as heavy bleeding, with a procedure called advanced endometrial ablation. They have the knowledge and compassion necessary to help you get your health back on track.
A PCOS diagnosis is certainly life-changing, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of your health and wellness goals. Call or message our friendly staff located in Athens, Georgia, to schedule a telehealth appointment and get started on your journey toward a full, healthy life.