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Lifestyle Changes that Can Help Your PCOS

 Lifestyle Changes that Can Help Your PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most common women’s health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6-12% of women have PCOS which may lead to infertility. 

Although PCOS is linked to infertility and some irritating symptoms, the good news is that it’s often manageable with some lifestyle changes. Our providers at the Center for Women’s Health Richmond can explain how you can manage your PCOS at any of our locations in Sugar Land and Richmond, Texas. 

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome is usually characterized by a collection of certain symptoms. It’s an endocrine system disorder affecting women of reproductive age, which causes small cysts to form on the ovaries. This may prevent ovulation as well. 

These symptoms may include the following:

You don’t have to have all of these symptoms to have PCOS. To confirm your diagnosis, your provider may use a combination of blood tests and an ultrasound.

How to manage PCOS

If you have PCOS, you may wonder how to manage it, especially when the symptoms seem so hard to control. Fortunately, a lot of the symptoms are manageable with lifestyle changes.

Regular exercise

Getting regular exercise is essential for everyone, whether or not you have PCOS. But it’s especially important if you do have PCOS.

Exercise improves insulin resistance, which is believed to be one possible cause of PCOS. When you have PCOS, your body doesn’t appear to use insulin properly, which is one reason many people with PCOS also have a greater likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

You may find it easier to do gentle, low-impact exercises such as yoga or Pilates for a longer duration of time. You will also benefit from something as simple as walking, particularly when you do it for at least 180 minutes each week. You don’t have to become a “gym rat” to be healthy.

Change your diet

What you eat has a major impact on your health for everyone, but it’s especially true if you have PCOS. PCOS can make it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it which is why diet is a key part of symptom management.  

If you have PCOS, you should avoid foods such as: 

Instead, stick to foods such as: 

In general, you should aim to eat foods in as close to their natural, unprocessed state as possible. 

Reduce your stress

While scientists don’t know exactly what role stress plays in PCOS, research shows stress can aggravate many health conditions, including PCOS. Work toward reducing your stress by engaging in relaxing, enjoyable activities. Try meditation, yoga, prayer, or journaling. 

In addition, you should aim to get the recommended amount of sleep each night, about 7-9 hours. Short-changing yourself on sleep, particularly when you’re under stress, may worsen your symptoms.

If you suspect that you have PCOS, it might be time to see a doctor for an evaluation. Contact the providers at the Center for Women’s Health Richmond or request an appointment online.

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