4 Steps To Reverse Your PCOS Holistically

From endless visits to specialists to the daily struggles with cravings, fatigue, stress, and weight loss – has PCOS been frustrating for you? Remember, it’s possible to thrive with PCOS. Our friends at Uvi Health, an online platform dedicated to PCOS management, decode the primary root causes that lead to PCOS and how four strategies can help you manage your PCOS holistically. Read on.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), previously known as Polycystic Ovary Disorder (PCOD), is a hormonal condition that affects women. Common symptoms include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Weight gain
  • Acne
  • Hirsutism

What is the diagnosis criteria?

A clinical diagnosis of PCOS requires the person to exhibit 2 out of the following symptoms.

  • Irregular or absence of ovulation
  • Elevated levels of androgenic hormones or hyperandrogenism
  • Polycystic ovaries- detected through an ultrasound

Tests for PCOS

  1. A pelvic examination to inspect your pelvic region for any growths, or other abnormalities.
  2. An ultrasound is done to check the appearance of your ovaries and the thickness of your uterine lining.
  3. A complete blood count (CBC) is a series of blood tests that are done to measure hormone levels such as luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), Progesterone, Prolactin, Estrogen, DHEAS, AMH, SHBG, Testosterone, Oestradiol.
  4. Glucose tolerance and Insulin fasting tests are done to check for diabetes and Insulin Resistance.

General tests should be done to detect deficiencies in zinc and iron and vitamins including D, B9, B12, among others

Source: canva

What causes PCOS?

The exact cause or reason behind PCOS is still unknown. However, studies and research have shown that these are the broad reasons that can contribute to PCOS:

  1. Genes and Family History– If an immediate female family member such as your mother or sister has PCOS, there is a chance you might have it as well.
  2. Environmental and Lifestyle Factors– These can be contributing factors and can make a person more inclined towards developing PCOS. Consuming high amounts of processed and canned foods, the inclusion of inorganic foods in the diet, use of plastic containers on a frequent basis, exposure to skin care products containing parabens and phthalates, and exposure to pesticides are some of the environmentally influencing factors of PCOS.

The 4 main root causes of PCOS

Knowing your PCOS root cause will equip you with the necessary knowledge to understand the condition better and take steps to manage your symptoms holistically.

  • Insulin resistance: Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas and is responsible for ensuring the livers and muscles take sugar from the bloodstream and convert it into energy. With insulin resistance, the body does not respond effectively or as quickly as it should to insulin. This will lead to lower energy and higher insulin levels in the blood. This extra insulin in the body promotes fat storage (leading to weight gain) and makes one prone to cravings and hunger.

Key symptoms include cravings, skin tags, weight gain, fatigue, among others.

  • Adrenals PCOS: Most women with PCOS have elevated androgens including testosterone and androstenedione from the ovaries and DHEAS from the adrenal glands. If you have only elevated DHEAS (but normal testosterone and androstenedione), then you may have adrenal PCOS, which accounts for about 10% of PCOS diagnosed in women.

Key symptoms: An altered immune system, anxiety, depression, waking up tired in the morning, an afternoon slump, and so on. 

  • Inflammatory PCOS: inflammation is the body’s immune response to any bacteria, infection, or virus. This can lead to an inflammatory response which can include fatigue, swelling, pain, and even headaches. . Inflammation is detected through X-rays, CT scans, or by tracking the levels of a protein called the C-Reactive Protein (CRP). Elevated levels of this CRP indicate inflammation. According to studies, people with PCOS have higher levels of CRP and this is also related to insulin resistance, body weight, and fatty mass. 

Key symptoms: fatigue, gut issues, acne, and more.

  • Excess androgens: Higher levels of androgens or male sex hormones are a common feature of PCOS and are also one of the three required conditions under the Rotterdam criteria. This is caused by the disruption of normal ovarian or adrenal function. 

Key symptoms: hirsutism (increase in the growth of dark and coarse hair in different areas of the body like the chin, upper lip, chest, abdomen, and back), acne, and hair loss.

4 steps you can take to reverse your PCOS:

A holistic approach to your PCOS will helo you reverse your symptoms. Here are 4 steps you can take to achieve this:

  • Fitness: This is a very important component of your PCOS reversal journey. People who have PCOS may struggle with weight gain and this can worsen their symptoms if not managed. Studies have revealed that losing 5-10% weight can be beneficial as it can improve your insulin sensitivity, lower testosterone levels, boost your metabolism and stamina.
  • Diet: Focussing on your nutrition can help you manage your symptoms effectively, especially in balancing your hormones and in weight loss. A PCOS-friendly diet will include anti-oxidants, protein, fibre, and vegetables. Do not exclude any food group from your diet, especially carbohydrates; aim for a balance between carbs and protein in your meals. Include whole grain in your diet and avoid or restrict processed food, sugar, and trans fat.
  • Medical Help: Your doctor will help you with you diagnosis and then create a treatment plan that suits your health and lifestage goals. This will include a mix of lifestyle changes and any medication if required. Seeking help from a medical professional is important as they can help you naviage this condition and they will guide you through your reversal journey. 
  • Guidance and support: Living with PCOS can sometimes be overwhelming. Being part of communities or talking to people with PCOS is a great way to seek guidance and support. Especially as these people will be able to understand your situation and help you by drawing from their experiences. More than that it is a great feeling to be part of a community!

Living with PCOS does not have to be a stressful experience. With the right guidance and support you can thrive with this condition.

This article was authored by Uvi Health. In an initiative to provide women with PCOS a holistic yet affordable means to care, Uvi Health is launching a 30-day Expert-Led PCOS Bootcamp which includes Daily Live Fitness, Expert-led Webinars, Personalised Nutrition Support & Community Challenges. The program only costs Rs. 999/- and has limited seats.

Cover Illustration: Uvi Health, Canva

Written by: Uvi Health


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