PCOS lifestyle changes
Adopt healthy eating habits – A diet low in carbohydrates (and refined sugars) and rich in fibres can help regulate sugar levels in the body. Managing glucose and insulin levels in body can help reverse PCOD symptoms.
Exercise daily – A 30-minute moderate physical activity is important for women with PCOD. Exercise will boost metabolism, control weight and manage sugar levels.
Polycystic ovary Disease (PCOD) is a condition that involves hormones and other chemical messengers that go out of balance, affecting many aspects of a woman’s life, including fertility, appearance and overall health. It can be challenging coming to terms with a diagnosis of PCOD, but it can be even more stressful dealing with changes that become a part of daily life of a woman with PCOS.
Concern over conceiving and fertility treatment
For women diagnosed with PCOD and who are trying to conceive, it can be a difficult time. Hormonal changes in PCOD disrupt the menstrual cycle, affecting the release of egg from ovarian follicles (ovulation). Fertilisation can occur only at a specific time post ovulation, in the fallopian tube where the released egg meets the sperm. PCOD hinders the maturation of eggs in follicles, and a fresh egg may/may not be released every month. This irregularity in ovulation reduces the chances of conceiving every month.
Further, women already on fertility treatment to stimulate development of eggs in ovaries can be at risk of certain complications, like the ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS occurs in case of an excess response from the ovaries. PCOD increases this risk.
Women with OHSS may experience the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling or bloating
- Shortness of breath
Another fertility medicine, clomifeneveloe citrate can reduce the risk of developing OHSS.
Complications in pregnancy
PCOD during pregnancy can increase risks to other conditions. Gestational diabetes is a concern for pregnant women who have PCOD, especially if they are overweight. Though gestational diabetes can normally occur in pregnant women without PCOD too and goes away once the baby is born, women with PCOD are more likely to develop diabetes later in life.
Risk of preeclampsia or high blood pressure during pregnancy is also high in women with PCOD.
High blood pressure will affect kidney function and proteins leak into urine. Preclampsia affects development of placenta and the baby’s growth. Mothers may Women experiencing preeclampsia during pregnancy with PCOD may require monitoring in hospital or an early delivery; they will notice the following signs:
- Abdominal pain
- Blurred vision
- Swelling of face, hands or feet
- Shortness of breath
Including lifestyle changes
Managing nutrition intake becomes crucial once diagnosed with PCOD since the disorder is linked to hormonal and metabolic changes that can be controlled by keeping a healthy diet. For some, it may mean drastic changes to what they are used to eating and conscious efforts to substitute junk and unhealthy food with wholesome ingredients. While some may be able to create a nutrition plan for themselves, other may require the help of a qualified nutritionist who can suggest meal plans, food supplements and support to include these diet changes in everyday routine.
Obesity is linked to high prevalence of PCOD and doctors do recommend weight loss and weight management to bring the symptoms of PCOD under control. Diet and exercise plays a big role in tackling weight issues too.
PCOS and emotional health
PCOD symptoms affect a woman’s self-esteem and body image. Issues with fertility, obesity, hair loss, excess hair on face and arms contribute to psychological distress in women. It may lead to social isolation, depression and affect quality of life. Being diagnosed with a medical condition is challenging enough, but the symptoms that PCOD brings on relate to issues of femininity can be distressful to the patient. It is important to motivate oneself and make efforts to seek help and adopt a healthy lifestyle to tackle the effects of PCOD.
PCOD symptoms can take a toll on the quality of life. Depression and anxiety can occur even before diagnosis, over unexplained changes in appearance like feeling discouraged over repeated unsuccessful attempts of weight management.
PCOS and sleep disorders
Women with PCOD can be at an increased risk of developing sleep apnoea or sleep-disordered breathing. This risk increases further if they are overweight or insulin resistant. The upper airway gets obstructed during sleep due to excessive fat tissue in the neck that blocks the airway. This condition causes fatigue, lack of sleep and an overall reduced quality of life.