Overcoming PCOD: Empowering Women to Take Control of Their Bodies
Women undergo many health problems at different stages of their life, right from being an adolescent to an adult and eventually as their age increases. The cause of these health problems is mostly linked to genetics, environment and especially the hormonal changes in the body along with lifestyle changes such as sleeping patterns, eating habits, level of physical activity and so on.
With modernisation, one in ten women are experiencing and undergoing hormonal issues and one of the most commonest reasons is PCOD. PCOD or Polycystic Ovary Disease is a condition wherein the ovaries produce and release immature, or partially mature eggs in large amounts, and with time, they turn into cysts. This does not allow ovaries to function normally.
Common symptoms of PCOD include:
Excess facial hair.
- Being overweight or obese especially around the belly.
- Pelvic ache.
- Acne breakouts.
- Painful periods.
- Irregular or absence of periods.
- Male pattern baldness.
- Difficulty in conceiving a baby or infertility.
If PCOD is not managed correctly, there’s a higher risk of future consequences such as type 2 diabetes, infertility, high blood pressure, heart problems, psychological issues, and endometrial cancer. Therefore, if you have been recently diagnosed with PCOD or have been living with it for a while, you should monitor your symptoms, follow proper lifestyle and seek expert opinion from time to time.
How is PCOD caused?
PCOD can be caused due to many factors such as genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, poor immunity, nutritional deficiencies, the environment, etc.
It is a condition in which the body of women produces immature or partially mature eggs in large amounts in the ovaries. Overtime, these eggs become cysts in ovaries and hence ovaries become large. Due to this, the ovaries start secreting large amounts of male hormones (androgens) wherein women start developing excess facial and body hair, acne, and irregular or painful periods.
Hence, timely management of PCOD is crucial to improve the symptoms. At Assurance by NanoHealth, our PCOD Management Program not only covers timely diagnostic tests & professional doctor consultations that can be accessed from your home, but also closely monitors your progress and assesses your treatment effectiveness.
The PCOD management program includes the following:
- Tests such as HbA1c, Luteinising Hormone (LH), Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH), Prolactin, Testosterone, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, Cortisol, FBS, DHEA-Sulphate.
- Dietician + Gynec consultation.
- Doctor consultation + Doctor for Psychology consultation.
- Assistance from health coaches.
This helps to evaluate all your parameters to manage and overcome complications by giving you the right treatment for PCOD under the guidance of a holistic healthcare team that includes a doctor, dietician and health coach.
How does nutrition affect PCOD?
Diet plays a major role in managing PCOD because if it is not taken care of, then diets affect insulin production and lead to weight gain. Hence in order to maintain a healthy weight, a proper diet that consists of all the micro and macro nutrients is very much essential. Micro nutrients such as Vitamin D , Vitamin E and Inositol (belonging to vitamin B) and macro nutrients such as complex carbs, protein and fats can make women with PCOD feel better.
Make sure your diet consists of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, complex carbohydrates and protein mainly. Vitamin D insufficiency contributes to insulin resistance, inflammation, and psychological distress in women with PCOD.
Now that we know how nutrition affects PCOD, let’s understand what foods to eat and foods to avoid for PCOD.
PCOD Diet: Foods to Eat
1. Consuming high-fiber foods
Consuming high-fiber foods can help slow down digestion due to insulin resistance and reduce the effect of sugar on the blood.
Some examples of high-fiber foods include:
- Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, brussels sprout, and broccoli.
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, etc.
- Beans and lentils.
- Pumpkin, winter squash.
- Sweet potatoes and bell peppers.
- Fenugreek, flax seeds.
- Dark red fruits like cherries, red grapes, black, and blueberries.
- Millets, ragi, jowar, and bajra.
2. Intake of lean protein
Lean protein food items are low in cholesterol and fat in nature. You can also consider adding lean protein options like tofu, fish, or chicken to your diet as these options are very filling and nutritious especially if you're someone with PCOD.
Some vegetarian options for lean protein include:
- Beans and legumes.
- Greek yogurt.
- Nuts like cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, almonds, and nut butter.
- Cottage cheese.
3. Add anti-inflammatory foods
You can also start eating foods that are anti-inflammatory in nature and can reduce the symptoms of PCOD. Anti-inflammatory foods have shown to improve metabolism, reducing inflammation, and control weight.
Foods that possess anti-inflammatory components are:
- Green leafy vegetables.
- Olive oil.
- Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
4. Increase the intake of Iron
As women bleed excessively during menstruation, there is a chance for women to have iron deficiency and become anemic.
Adding iron-rich items to your diet can help solve this problem.
- Pumpkin seeds
- Whole grains
- Dark Chocolate
Now that you know what foods you should eat for PCOD, let’s also understand what foods should be avoided with PCOD.
PCOD Diet: Foods to Avoid
Women with PCOD should avoid or limit their intake of highly-processed or unhealthy foods like:
- Refined carbs: White bread, pastries, muffins.
- Sugary beverages: energy drinks, sodas.
- Processed foods, fast food.
- Excess red meat: steaks, pork.
- Inflammation-causing foods such as fries, margarine, etc.
- Avoid coffee, pineapple, banana, oranges, and melon.
- Avoid drinking alcohol regularly and refrain from mixing drinks. If you still want to continue drinking alcohol, then try drinking a glass of water after every drink and drink water slowly.
Along with diet, let’s understand what lifestyle changes are needed in our lives that can be incorporated to overcome PCOD.
Lifestyle Changes for PCOD
Incorporating lifestyle changes in your life can help improve your PCOD symptoms. Here are some lifestyle changes you should follow for managing PCOD and making yourself feel better:
- Exercising regularly can help you lose weight and be physically & mentally fit. You can add various forms of workout in your life such as cardio, weight training, dance, or even yoga, which has a calming effect on the mind.
- Do not smoke as smoking can worsen your PCOD and can increase your chances of getting heart disease, diabetes, and atherosclerosis.
- Maintaining a proper sleep schedule is crucial, so try disconnecting from all electronic gadgets at least an hour before bedtime.
- Reducing stress by meditation, slow breathing, listening to music, or taking a walk.
- Pursue a hobby by bringing your creative side out and expressing yourself through various forms of art and craft activities such as painting, sewing, etc.
One of the most practical ways to manage PCOD and keep symptoms in check is with proper treatment with the help of a dietician, doctor and health coach to manage the condition. At Assurance by NanoHealth, we pair you with the right care provider who will then curate a personalized treatment and a healthy lifestyle plan after the testing and the diagnosis. Our regular follow-ups and active recommendations on Assurance app help you stay motivated and accountable for your health.
Assurance By NanoHealth: Your Trusted Care Provider
Assurance by NanoHealth is a one-stop solution for all health and wellness services with a strong focus on long term health management. We provide all healthcare services at your convenience from the comfort of your home- teleconsultations, lab tests, pharmacy and more!
Our services are available pan-India covering 60+ locations in India. If you are someone with PCOD or know of anyone with PCOD, you can get in touch with our health experts by calling +91 91004 44004 or visit our website www.nhassurance.com.