Living with PCOS can sometimes be a daunting task. Many of the side effects caused by the disease such as adult acne, infertility, weight gain, and excessive facial or body hair can be difficult to control. Additionally, the emotions associated with presenting ones self to the public when facing such challenges—and an overall lack of self-esteem—can, at times, seem impossible to overcome.
But there is hope! Research has shown that women living with PCOS who adopt positive lifestyles can overcome the symptoms caused by this disease. Here are ten tips for living with, and managing, the symptoms caused by PCOS. You may want to post this list on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror as a gentle reminder to yourself.
1. Adopt healthy eating habits.
All women with PCOS can benefit from adopting healthy eating habits. By eating a diet low in carbohydrates and refined sugars you can help reverse the imbalances of glucose and insulin in your body that cause PCOS symptoms to flair up.
2. Fit exercise into your daily routine.
Although everyone should find time to exercise, it is especially important for women with PCOS to fit some form of exercise into their daily routine. Whether it is a 20-minute walk, playing outside with your kids, or going to a Pilates class, exercise has proven to boost metabolism and burn calories which helps to control insulin levels and, in turn, results in weight loss. Exercise can also help to stave off diabetes, a health risk for women in PCOS.
3. Avoid stimulants.
Having a cup of coffee (or two or three … ) has become such a part of our culture that giving it up may seem impossible. However, coffee and other stimulants cause increases in insulin production which have proven to have a negative impact on women with PCOS. If you are serious about controlling your insulin levels, you really need to consider giving up that cup of Joe.
4. Get regular physical exams.
Women with PCOS have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. They are also more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol. Meeting regularly with your doctor to monitor and treat these issues will help you stay healthy until the symptoms come under control through the adoption of healthy eating and exercise habits.
Women with PCOS are more prone towards experiencing depression and mood swings. They often find themselves emotionally frustrated when their own bodies seem to purposefully work against them. Whether dealing with weight issues or having difficulty conceiving, PCOS can take a toll on your emotional well-being, so take a bubble bath, watch an old movie, or do something else that you really enjoy doing. It can make the biggest difference in how you feel on the inside.
6. Seek support networks.
Although it may feel like it, you are definitely not alone in your struggle with PCOS. There are thousands of women out there who are experiencing the same symptoms and emotions that you are. Do not be shy. These are the women who will lift you up when you are feeling down. If you can’t find a group then start one and promote it online, in local newspapers, via flyers and at schools, college and health clubs.
7. Ask questions.
With PCOS, there is no one size fits all solution to control the disease. Symptoms vary with each person so you really need to ask questions of your physicians and do research on your own to find a regimen that will work best for you.
8. Get help if you are depressed.
PCOS can make you feel melancholy, especially given the multitude of physical and emotional challenges that can develop as a result of this disease. If you are feeling more than a little sad and cannot shake the feeling of disillusionment associated with the condition, get help. The fact is you can live a positive life even when dealing with PCOS. Getting help is the first step towards achieving that goal.
9. See a specialist.
As PCOS gets more attention from physicians, the media and others, there are more and more treatment options being offered. For example, Insulite Laboratories of Boulder, CO has created a five step approach that incorporates nutraceuticals, nutrition, exercise, food addiction awareness and support networks to help reverse the symptoms caused by PCOS. If you are having trouble finding a physician who will treat you for PCOS, you should check out the state-by-state list of medical professionals who have shown a commitment to PCOS located on the PCOSA website www.pocsupport.org.
10. Maintain a positive attitude.
Maintaining a positive attitude is essential to realizing positive outcomes in any aspect of life. Be positive and create opportunities for yourself that can help you realize your dreams. Just because you have PCOS does not mean you cannot live your best life!