Is it possible to help or cure your PCOS through diet and lifestyle?

Approximately 1 in 10 women suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a complicated endocrine condition that is often difficult to diagnose. There is usually an underlying genetic predisposition involved with PCOS and research has shown that environment and lifestyle play a role in how the disorder manifests.

Symptoms range from weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, elevated testosterone levels, infertility, acne and unwanted body hair. Women who suffer from PCOS may be able to grow numerous follicles, however the follicles will fail to regularly release a mature egg.

Regardless of the diagnosis, many women have still managed to start a family and lead healthy, functional lives.

So, how can you take back control and help to manage symptoms of PCOS?

The symptoms of PCOS can cause a lot of stress, especially if they consist of weight gain, hair growth and acne, however some women have found regular exercise or even practicing yoga can help manage symptoms and restore balance in their lives. A recent study that was published in the Journal of American Osteopathic Association in May 2020 has shown that regular yoga can help improve the endocrine, cardiometabolic and psychological parameters in women with PCOS. Given that yoga is a low-impact activity that does not require a specific level of fitness, it is an exercise that most women will be able to do comfortably regardless of their weight.

Some foods have shown to be beneficial to managing PCOS and research has shown that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help manage symptoms

4 foods shown to significantly help manage symptoms of PCOS

1. Whole-grains, legumes, high protein foods that are rich in fibre have previously been shown to be effective in reducing insulin resistance in diabetic patients. As a large number of women with PCOS tend to have elevated insulin resistance.

2. Healthy fats such as omega-3s are beneficial for both men and women during fertility treatment, however a study published in Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes has also suggested that it can help to balance hormone levels and to optimise insulin levels in women suffering from PCOS.

3. Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts and cabbage are also excellent in helping to reduce insulin resistance which is seen in many women with PCOS.

4. There has been evidence that antioxidants are effective in helping to alleviate oxidative stress and control free radicals which cause damage to your body. An article published in 2018 in The Journal of Metabolic Diseases has shown that colourful berries help to manage weight, diabetes and indigestion, which is beneficial for patients with PCOS.