PCOS and Fertility: What women can do about it?

New Delhi (IANSlife) Are you dealing with the stressful symptoms of PCOS? Be it missed periods, excessive hair growth on the face or body, weight gain, acne and fertility issues. The pandemic made it all the more difficult to consult our doctor face-to-face to deal with these problems, but digital healthcare platforms have made it easier for women dealing with such queries to consult the right doctor.

The Covid-19 pandemic may have accelerated the shift towards digital healthcare practices in India, but its adoption among women in 2020 — especially in non-metro cities — has been significant. Registering an overall growth of more than 212 per cent from the previous year, online consultations emerged as one of the preferred modes of consulting doctors by women in India, according to data from Practo.

According to Practo, more women in non-metro cities opted for online consultations in 2020 — growing at an average rate of 550 per cent, compared with 400 per cent recorded among women in metro cities. This means that even as the majority (65 per cent) of the total number of online consultations done by women in 2020 were from metro cities, there has been a steady increase in the percentage of women from non-metro cities adopting telemedicine. In fact, this trend has been developing over the past three years.

PCOS, skin allergy, weight loss, thyroid, depression, hairfall, and UTI were some of the most discussed queries by women from non-metro cities last year, says the health platform.

Women with PCOS have numerous cysts in their ovaries, caused by an overproduction of hormones called androgens. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that prevents the ovaries from functioning properly. PCOS is also a red flag for the inception of type 2 diabetes, explains Prabha Acharya, Homeopath, who also consults on Practo.

For few women, gaining weight can influence their hormones. If you’re obese or overweight, this might help get your hormones back to normal. Losing 10 per cent of your body weight may help your menstrual cycle become more predictable. This should help you get pregnant.

Therefore, weight loss prior to conception helps improve live birth rate in obese women with or without PCOS. In simple words, living a healthy lifestyle and following diet, with regular exercise, no smoking, less stress, and control of diabetes and other medical conditions prescribed by your doctor should improve your fertility odds. To lose weight on a PCOS diet, re-frame your thinking to eating to live, not living to eat.

Quick tips from the doctor:

1. Drink a lot of water and keep yourself well hydrated.

2. Eat foods low on the glycemic index. Low glycemic index foods are carbohydrates that break down slowly in the body, not causing a dramatic spike and then drop in insulin levels. Eat oats, brans, whole grains, broccoli, apples, etc. Avoid foods that are sugary and starchy such as: syrups, sugar, jams, scones, white bread products etc.

3. Eat more fruits and vegetables for good fiber intake. Fiber helps promote healthy estrogen metabolism which aids in the reduction of elevated levels of androgens. E.g. whole grains, apples (with skin), green leafy vegetables, etc.

Eat small frequent meals in a day and avoid skipping any meal and especially the first meal of the day i.e. breakfast.

4. Include lean protein in your diet. E.g. lean chicken, fish, egg, nuts, legumes, pulses, low fat dairy products, skimmed milk, etc.

5. Eat healthy Omega-3 fats in diet. Sources: fatty fish, olive oil, walnuts, flax seeds, etc. And avoid foods that are high in saturated fat, such as meats, cheeses, and fried foods.

6. Get some sun rays for 10-15 mins for your Vitamin D requirement. Great food sources of vitamin D are cod liver oil, eggs, salmon, etc.

Exercise daily. Exercise plays a huge role by keeping weight in check, this helps regulate the hormones and increases chances of ovulation.

Distress yourself. Try yoga.

7. Avoid drinking aerated drinks. Avoid processed, junk food..Quit smoking and alcohol. Regular visit to doctor for follow up.

Follow your plan and most importantly believe in yourself, because only you have the potential to change your circumstances!

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