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What is PCOS: Understand its Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

PCOS is a condition that affects many women. Read on to understand its causes, symptoms and treatment.

What Does PCOS Stand For?

  • PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
  • It is a condition in which cysts develop in the ovaries of women.
  • This causes problems with periods and other health issues in women.

What is PCOS?

  • PCOS is a hormonal disorder that only affects women.
  • It causes the development of small cysts in the ovaries that take time to heal.
  • It disrupts the functioning of the ovaries and imbalances hormones.
  • Due to PCOS, women can have irregular periods, excess hair growth, weight gain and inability to conceive.

What are the Symptoms of PCOS?

  • Irregular or absent menstrual cycles
  • Excess hair growth on face and body
  • Weight gain and excess belly fat
  • Dark skin folds like under arms and neck
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Increased appetite and cravings
  • Ovarian pain and stomach cramps

What Causes PCOS?

  • Some common causes behind PCOS:
  • Insulin resistance – When the body cannot use insulin properly
  • Hormonal imbalance – Imbalance between testosterone and estrogen
  • Genetics – Higher risk if mother or relative has PCOS
  • Weight gain – Obesity further worsens PCOS
  • Stress – Both mental and physiological stress

What to Do if You Have PCOS?

  • Consult a doctor right away if you notice PCOS symptoms
  • Get an ultrasound and hormone tests done without delay
  • Strictly follow medications and tips as advised by doctor
  • Focus on losing weight
  • Follow a healthy diet and exercise routine
  • Yoga, meditation and good sleep can help too

How is PCOS Treated?

  • Medications – To regulate periods and balance hormones.
  • Lifestyle changes – Yoga, exercise, home remedies help greatly
  • Weight loss – Reducing weight controls PCOS to a large extent
  • Diet control – Cut out sugar, carbs and processed foods
  • Stress management is important
  • PCOS patients may need fertility treatment for conceiving

What Diet Should be Taken in PCOS?

  • PCOS diet should be rich in fiber and protein – Vegetables, fruits, yogurt, beans, eggs
  • Restrict carbs and gluten
  • Avoid sugar and sweets completely
  • No trans fats – like fried snacks and junk food
  • Include antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies
  • Take low glycemic foods if insulin resistant

How Folic Acid Helps With Heavy Periods

What Foods Should be Avoided in PCOS?

  • Sugar and sweets – Sweet tea, soda, cakes, desserts
  • Oily and spicy food – Samosa, kachori, chole bhature
  • Fried snacks and junk foods – Chips, fries, noodles, burger
  • Bakery items – Pizza, garlic bread, paneer roll
  • Packaged fruit juices and colas
  • Wheat-based foods – Bread, naan, parathas
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What are the Exercise Tips for PCOS?

  • Do 30-45 mins of light exercise daily – walking, swimming, cycling
  • Strength training – squats, pushups, planks
  • Practice yoga – Suryanamaskar, Kapalbhati, Halasana
  • Avoid very strenuous workouts, stick to light exercise
  • Increase activity in daily routine – climbing stairs etc
  • Yoga and meditation also help manage stress

10 Frequently Asked Questions on PCOS:

Is there a permanent cure for PCOS?

There is no permanent cure yet, but lifestyle changes and diet can help control PCOS to a large extent. Medicines also provide relief.

Can a woman with PCOS get pregnant?

Yes, it may be difficult for some PCOS patients but with healthy diet, yoga and doctor’s guidance chances of conceiving are there.

How to reduce facial hair due to PCOS?

Laser treatment, waxing and certain hair removal creams can help. Lowering testosterone levels also resolves hair growth.

At what age is PCOS diagnosed?

Research shows PCOS is mostly diagnosed between teens to 30 years of age, but can occur before as well.

Is PCOS genetic?

Yes, if mother or any close relative has/had PCOS then risk increases in children. But it does not happen to all.

What is the normal menstrual cycle in PCOS?

In PCOS cycles range from 35-90 days. No periods for over 3 months is considered abnormal, see a doctor.

Is there a link between PCOS and thyroid?

Yes, it is common for women to have both PCOS and thyroid problems together, so testing is must.

What should be done to improve pregnancy chances in PCOS?

Take doctor’s advice, have intercourse on peak ovulation days, follow healthy diet, practice yoga and monitor periods.

Does PCOS increase cancer risk?

Some research shows risk of breast and uterine cancer can be higher with PCOS. But chances are very low.

What should PCOS patients avoid?

No smoking, no alcohol, avoid junk food, reduce carbs, manage stress and eat more fruits and veggies.

How is PCOS Diagnosed?

PCOS is diagnosed by doctors through ultrasound test. This reveals ovarian cysts.
Hormone tests measure levels of estrogen, testosterone and other hormones.
Blood tests check blood sugar and insulin levels too.

What are the 4 Types of PCOS?

Type A – Excess testosterone and androgen
Type B – Excess LH hormone
Type C – Excess insulin
Type D – Excess cortisol hormone

What is a Sample PCOS Diet Plan?

Morning – Oats/chia seeds/goji berry smoothie, egg whites
Lunch – Grilled chicken salad, multigrain bread, lentils
Evening – Sprouts chaat, green tea
Dinner – Cottage cheese curry, quinoa, yogurt
A balanced diet plan like this regulates hormones and aids weight loss.

What Causes PCOS?

Some common causes of PCOS include:
Insulin resistance
Hormonal imbalance
Genetic predisposition
Obesity
Unhealthy diet
Sedentary lifestyle
Stress
Working on these factors helps control PCOS.

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