Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD), also known as Polycystic Ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a very common condition affecting 5% to 10% of women in the age group 12–45 years. It is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with menstrual periods and make it difficult for her to conceive. The principal features include no ovulation, irregular periods, acne and hirsutism. If not treated it can cause insulin resistant diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol leading to heart disease.
- Normally, the ovaries make female sex menhormones and a tiny amount of male sex hormones (androgens). These help regulate the normal development of eggs in the ovaries during each menstrual cycle.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome is related to an imbalance in these sex hormones. In PCOS, they start making slightly more androgens. This causes patients to stop ovulating, get pimples and grow extra facial and body hair.
- Follicles are sacs within the ovaries that contain eggs. Normally, one or more eggs are released during each menstrual cycle. This is called ovulation.
- In polycystic ovary syndrome, the eggs in these follicles do not mature and are not released from the ovaries. Instead, they can form very small cysts in the ovary, hence the name polycystic ovaries.
- PCOS seems to run in families, so the chance of having it is higher if other women in the family have PCOS, irregular periods, or diabetes
- Weight gain and trouble losing weight
- Extra hair on the face and body. Often women get thicker, darker facial hair and more hair on the chest, belly, and back.
- Thinning hair on the scalp
- Irregular periods. Often women with PCOS have fewer than nine periods a year. Some women have no periods others have very heavy bleeding
- Fertility problems. Many women who have PCOS have trouble getting pregnant (infertility)
- natural, unprocessed foods.
- high-fiber foods.
- fatty fish, including salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel.
- kale, spinach, and other dark, leafy greens.
- dark red fruits, such as red grapes, blueberries, blackberries, and cherries.
- broccoli and cauliflower.
- Sugary drinks.
- Fried foods.
- Processed meats (ex. sausages, hamburgers, and hot dogs)
- Refined Carbohydrates (ex. white bread, pasta, and pastries)
- Processed food (ex. cakes, candy, sweetened yogurt, ice creams with excess sugar)
The ovarian cysts in most women will go away by themselves without any treatment. But for cysts with severe symptoms, it is mandatory to take the doctor’s advice.The first step of treatment is usually lifestyle and natural remedies. These remedies for PCOD do not make the condition disappear entirely. However, help with the symptoms when clubbed with medications prescribed by the doctor.
1.Consuming Whole Foods – Whole foods do not contain artificial sugars and are free from preservatives. Some of the whole foods that can be added to women’s diet with PCOD are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. These may help to maintain the insulin levels, and thus PCOD can be kept in control.
2.Watching out for Carbohydrate intake – Carbohydrates can impact the blood sugar level resulting in high insulin levels. It is important to consume only less carbohydrate and have more high protein and high fibre foods .
3.Adding anti-inflammatory foods – PCOS can be considered as a chronic inflammatory condition. Hence, eating foods that are anti-inflammatory in nature helps to reduce the symptoms accompanied by PCOS. Foods like tomatoes, leafy veggies and greens, fatty fish like mackerel and tuna, tree nuts and olive oil possess anti-inflammatory properties.
4.Keeping the iron intake high – Due to excess bleeding than usual during menstrual cycles in women with PCOS, there are more likely chances to have iron deficiency. This may make the woman suffering from PCOS become anemic. Adding iron rich foods in the diet can help avoid this problem. Foods such as spinach, eggs , liver and broccoli are the best iron rich foods to be included. It is also equally important to consult the doctor on iron supplements and consumption of iron rich foods.
5.Increasing the intake of magnesium – Magnesium-rich foods such as cashews, almonds, bananas, spinach can be added to the diet to fight PCOS symptoms. Magnesium helps to maintain the insulin levels and helps in restful sleep.
6.In-take of fiber – Adding fiber to the diet helps with digestion. Foods like lentils, lima beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, pears, and avocados are rich in fiber and help to improve digestion for women with PCOS, as they may suffer from bloating and constipation during their menstrual cycles.
7.Avoiding coffee – Caffeine in coffee stimulates the body by increasing estrogen levels. As a result, a hormonal imbalance may happen. It is advisable to avoid coffee. Instead, the individual can consume herbal tea for refreshment. Green tea also helps maintain insulin levels and acts as an agent for weight reduction, which is crucial for women with PCOS.
8.Consuming Soy products – Including soy protein or soy products in the diet helps in balancing the estrogen in the body, and hence, the normal secretion of hormones can be maintained. Foods like soy milk, tofu, miso, and tempeh can be considered. However, people with any estrogen-related problems like breast cancer are advised not to consume soy products. Hence, it is necessary to check with the doctor before including soy in the diet.
9.Avoiding junk and oily/fatty foods – Oily foods add to weight gain and abnormal functioning of the digestive system. This can cause severe symptoms of PCOS. Hence, it is essential to avoid junk and oily foods completely, although olive oil is an exception.
10.Balancing exercises – To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is necessary to exercise and keep the body healthy and fit. Exercising at least 150 minutes per week helps to reduce stress and balances the weight. Also, the calories are constantly burnt and hence, insulin levels can be kept under control.
Besides the above natural remedies for PCOD, having proper sleep cycles and maintaining a stress free life is vital to avoid the symptoms and ease off the complications of the syndrome.