Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a condition that affects more than 200,000 people a year. PCOS is when a woman has several small cysts in the ovaries. There are several symptoms of this illness, including unpredictable hormonal behavior, infertility, acne, and excessive hair growth. PCOS is growing with alarming regularity, recently becoming one of the most commonly faced problems by young women across the globe. As if these symptoms weren’t bad enough, there is another thing women who live with PCOS are going to need to worry about: diabetes.
According to a recent study, women who have polycystic ovary syndrome are four times as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. People who live with PCOS are also more likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at an earlier age than their non-PCOS-afflicted counterparts.
The Actual Findings
The study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, looked at two different populations of women with polycystic ovary syndrome. The first group was composed of 18,477 pre-menopausal Danish women who had been diagnosed with the syndrome. The second group was composed of a local sub-group of 1,162 women who also have the syndrome but who were examined at Odense University Hospital, which is located in Denmark. The researchers found that variables like body mass index, insulin levels, glucose levels, and triglycerides were positively associated with women who later were diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Conversely, the higher number of births were negatively associated with the development of Type 2 diabetes, according to the study.
In this study, the findings showed that the average age of women who have polycystic ovary syndrome, who is diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes is 31-years-old. To put that into perspective, the average age of a person without PCOS to get diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes is 35.
“The increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is an important finding,” one of the researchers, Dorte Glintoborg said, “Diabetes may develop at a young age and screening for diabetes is important, especially in women who are obese and have PCOS.”
Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome produce higher amounts of testosterone and other androgen hormones than the average woman. Yes, even when people think “testosterone,” they think men, but women produce a little bit of testosterone too! Similarly, men produce some estrogen. The higher levels of those hormones in women with PCOS can lead to many medical issues, including irregular or absent menstrual periods, infertility, weight gain, acne, or excessive facial and body hair.
How to Treat PCOS
Unfortunately, as with so many diseases, researchers are still looking for permanent cures for PCOS. Thankfully, the symptoms of PCOS can be managed. With proper diet and exercise, some women have reported incredible improvement as far as the PCOS is concerned.
Make sure to eat enough fruits and vegetables!
According to Dr. Gargi Sharma, who is a dietician and expert in New Delhi, India, women with the syndrome should be conscious of how many fruits and vegetables are in their diet. They should make a point to include even more in their diet than the food pyramid implies. They should also avoid as many dairy products, many of which can be swapper for nut-based substitutes. Several health experts think that dairy and dairy-based food products can increase insulin levels. This has been thought to worsen acne as well as other symptoms.
Limit processed foods and carbs and shoot for higher fiber foods
According to Dr. Shalini Singhal, who is the founder and chief nutrition consultant at the Diet and Wellness Clinic, suggest that “women with PCOS/PCOD have insulin resistance and therefore, the diet we advise them is what we’d give to a diabetic. It needs to be rich in fiber with no or limited carbohydrates and processed foods.”
Limit red meat intake
In all honesty, no one should be eating red meat that often. It is not healthy for anyone and it is more difficult for the body to break down. People who suffer from PCOS/PCOD should consider avoiding red meat overall. Instead of red meat, they should include more lean meats, like fish or grilled chicken.
Changes to the eating schedule
Patients with PCOS/PCOD may deal with some water retention. The easiest way to get around this water retention is to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day rather than three square meals. Also, although it may seem counter intuitive if one is retaining water, they should drink a lot of water throughout the day. Water flushes the system out, making it easier to clear out toxins, clear skin, and lose weight.
Spice it Up!
According to some studies, cinnamon, flaxseeds, turmeric, and other seeds and spices are said to keep the hormones in control.
While eating right and adjusting one’s eating schedule can do great things, it is also equally important to incorporate exercise into one’s regular routine.
For many, when people think of running or exercise, they think of being forced to do laps in gym class, or flashback to that wholly traumatic event known as the timed mile. The key to maintaining a good exercise regiment is to find something that is genuinely enjoyable. There are several quizzes and questionnaires online that suggest what type of exercise is the best fit.
Workouts like yoga, pilates, walks around the neighborhood or park are really helpful for easing stress while exercising. There are a lot of free yoga and pilates classes online that may be helpful, including doyogawithme.com and YouTube. Just because one doesn’t sweat like Rocky Balboa at the end of a yoga workout doesn’t mean the exercise isn’t paying off. It is far more important that people routinize their exercise and find it enjoyable rather than overexerting oneself, thus decreasing the chances of continuing an exercise regiment.
For people who like to exercise in private but want a cardio workout from home should checkout sites like PopSugar or Greatist. These sites provide fun and fast-paced cardio videos so that a person can be healthy in the comfort of their own home. These videos usually provide variations of the exercise based on skill. Don’t worry about doing every step of the dance cardio like the instructor does. Do what is doable in order to keep up. For those who are ready to lose weight fast and aren’t afraid to sweat in public, try cycling, kickboxing classes or high intensity circuit training. If this is interesting, but money is tight, search through Groupon to see which exercise classes or services are on sale this month!
If someone need someone else to hold them accountable, try a trainer. They will tell their client which muscles to work on which machines in order to achieve their fitness goals. If accountability is key, but money is tight, have no fear! Quick Google searches will provide the searcher with exercise groups in the local area where everyone can keep each other on track. If someone needs to be held accountable, but doesn’t want to exercise in front of people, they can start competitions with people at work or friends and use fit bits or pedometers to track their steps.