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5 Tips to Treat the Symptoms of PCOS

July 2, 2013

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – more commonly known as PCOS – is a hormonal disorder that affects 1 in every 10 women.

With PCOS, a woman's ovaries often produce higher than normal levels of the male hormone androgen, which then suppresses the female hormone progesterone. The body may also have a problem using insulin, causing blood sugar levels to rise and increasing the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.

The signs and symptoms of PCOS come in many shapes and sizes. For some women it’s small cysts on the ovaries, acne, and weight gain. For others it’s irregular or painful menstrual cycles, extra facial hair, and depression. And for some, it can lead to fertility challenges.

Fortunately for those living with the syndrome, there are many ways to treat the symptoms and the condition that causes them.

Here are some tips for women with PCOS:

1. Avoid refined sugar. Sugar can deplete the body of essential nutrients and increase blood sugar levels, resulting in the hormonal imbalances that are known to aggravate PCOS symptoms.

2. Cut out soy products. Certain studies show that the phytoestrogen, or plant-based estrogen, in soy products produce excess estrogen in the body, which throws hormones out of whack and disrupts endocrine function.

3. Reduce caffeine intake. In addition to containing bacteria and chemicals that can cause fertility challenges, caffeine reduces the body’s ability to absorb important nutrients. The body needs every nutrient it can get – especially when trying to maintain hormonal balance.

4. Consume healthy fats. Healthy fats are essential to the body’s production and balance of hormones. So make sure to incorporate foods like avocado, coconut oil, and almonds into your diet on a regular basis.

5. Exercise regularly. Regular, daily activity will not only result in healthy blood sugar levels and weight loss; it’ll also help regulate menstrual cycles. Exercise doesn’t have to be a marathon – a 20-minute brisk walk around your neighborhood every day will do the trick.

For those of you with PCOS, what do you recommend for managing the symptoms?