What is PCOD & PCOS?
Poly-cystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) or Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) both are the health problems associated with the ovaries. While PCOD is mild & caused due to a hormonal imbalance of reproductive hormones of a woman; PCOS is a severe health issue as it is an endocrine disorder (the diseased gland that doesn't function properly) & comprises numerous symptoms.
One of every 5th women of the childbearing age suffers from this hormonal issue.
Since there is no definitive cause of Stein-Leventhal syndrome (another name of PCOS), it can occur anytime between 14-55 years of age after the onset of puberty.
What are the causes of PCOD & PCOS?
PCOS is attributed to cysts in the ovaries, high levels of male hormones & irregular/or skipped periods. A polycystic ovary produces higher androgen (male hormones) levels than normal & this interferes with the egg ovulation in the ovary. These immature eggs develop little sacs filled with a fluid called cysts. These cysts may also lead to enlarged ovaries.
Difference between Polycystic and Healthy Ovary
With the release of more male hormones, acne & extra facial & body hairs (chest, stomach, back, thumbs & toes) develop in a woman with PCOS. The wide range of PCOS symptoms includes: thinning of hairs, dandruff, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, darkening of the skin, skin tags in the armpits or neck area, mood swings, fatigue, low sex drive, high testosterone levels, trouble conceiving or infertility. Researchers also link PCOS to the development of other medical ailments like insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, increased cholesterol, high blood pressure & heart diseases.
While PCOD is more common than PCOS, women with PCOD can conceive with some medical help unlike women with PCOS struggle with infertility issues, & in case of conception with PCOS, they may face higher incidences of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, preeclampsia (fits during pregnancy) or/and premature delivery.
Can diet help with PCOD & PCOS?
Maintaining a diet that controls insulin resistance in PCOS/ PCOD women helps in weight loss. Since there is not a permanent cure of PCOD/PCOS, weight loss if done in a healthy way keeps you at bay from the risk of all other medical conditions. In addition, it helps in smooth conception & pregnancy as well. An anti-inflammatory, alkaline diet full of low glycemic index fruits & vegetables, moderate protein & whole grains helps in weight loss.
Grapefruit - Low Glycemic Index Food
Restrict the dairy products while including the probiotics in the diet. Use MCT oils like coconut oil or desi ghee for fat burning. Keep caffeine under control. Apple cider vinegar, ginger, unripe papaya, cinnamon, turmeric, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds & sesame seeds are helpful in regularizing the period cycle & weight loss for PCOS women.
Seed Cycle for Hormone Balance
Avoid packed, processed, canned foods in the diet. Restrict the simple carbs & sugar intake due to high insulin resistance. Keep a track of oil consumption as well. Don’t overdo milk & milk products.
Canned Food - Should be avoided
The sample diet plan for PCOD & PCOS
- Apple cider vinegar helps to reduce body fat percentage, cut belly fat, and decrease cholesterol levels in the body.
- Cinnamon is a spice that gives a warming effect to your body and helps in regularizing periods and balancing hormones. It also helps relieve menstrual pain/cramps. You can mix the cinnamon powder in milk or include it in any of your food recipes.
- Berries are rich in vitamin C which have strong anti-oxidant properties. Vitamin C helps in protecting hair follicles thus preventing thinning of hair.
- Whole grains in the diet are superior in nutrition compared to the simple starches.
Along with a balanced and nutrient-dense diet, walking & moderate exercises have proven to benefit women in regularizing their periods. Meditation to curb daily stress is also helpful for women with polycystic ovaries.
Meditation - regular exercise is important
Consistent right eating habits & lifestyle changes result in reduced insulin resistance & weight loss among women with PCOS which in near future may improve reproductive outcomes.
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