PCOS & Eating Disorders

PCOS is often associated with higher weight levels and a predisposition to weight gain in general.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is one of the most common disorders found in women of reproductive age. Its symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, elevated levels of male sex hormones, and multiple cysts in the ovaries. It is associated with reproductive, metabolic, and psychological problems.

PCOS is often associated with higher weight levels and a predisposition to weight gain in general. As a result, women with PCOS are often advised to take care of their diet and exercise regularly. For some women, PCOS can also elevate depression and body image issues caused by excessive facial hair. Most women with PCOS also have insulin resistance; insulin levels are much higher in women with PCOS compared to others with type 2 diabetes.

Lifestyle Changes:

Lifestyle changes are the first line of treatment for PCOS. This is followed by weight loss/weight management programs and even medical practitioners

Consuming balanced meals that include protein, carbs and fat leads to glucose to be released more slowly into the bloodstream and this helps to feel satiated for a longer duration. Fortunately, many meals, including popular options such as sandwiches and stir-fry with rice etc. contain all the important and different macronutrient groups. Ensuring that carbohydrates are accompanied by protein and fats helps to create satiety and with it a lower likelihood of binge eating or reaching out for sugary and processed foods. Green leafy vegetables, omega-3 rich salmon and sardines, lentils such as chickpeas, soybeans and chana are rich in protein and have a low glycaemic index. These foods should be incorporated in a diet that is geared towards weight loss.

Additionally, fibrous foods like apples are a great snack or pre-workout snack. Depending on its size, there are about 4 grams of fiber in an apple which can help protect arteries and lower cholesterol. Also by adding one cup of chopped, raw carrots provides almost 4 grams of fiber, making the orange veggies a good source of the nutrient. In addition to fiber, carrots provide valuable amounts of essential micronutrients, such as vitamin K, beta-carotene, potassium and vitamin B-6

For some, binge eating is a way to cope, seek comfort or to distract themselves from feelings of emotional pain and distress. And contrary to popular opinion, people have very little control over their tendencies to binge eat. In fact, such habits are indicative symptoms of an eating disorder known as binge eating disorder or BED. To avoid this binge eating habit, it is advisable to make a daily food chart and include nutritious meals that can help to feel satiated for longer hours. Additionally, one should avoid any screen or digital devices an hour before bed time. A good sleep of 7-8 hours is crucial to keep the body’s metabolism intact.

Combination of Exercises:

Exercising does not have to be a stressful or dreaded event. It should not leave you too fatigued or tired, instead, it should feel energising. Design exercise routines that consist of joy-based movement.

In place of long sessions at the gym, try out combinations of walking, dance, yoga, biking, and swimming. Muscle training is another way to lose weight and increase metabolism rate. Enjoying your exercise is very important in order to sustain weight loss.

It is imperative women are diagnosed for PCOS at a correct time which can prevent its adverse effects on fertility. Irregular or absent menstrual periods, excess androgens (this can be tested by measuring testosterone in the blood or by clinic symptoms including acne, hirsutism, and alopecia), and/or polycystic ovaries (shown on an ultrasound), are all serious signs of PCOS. However, it is important to know that PCOS is very manageable once it is identified and treated.

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