Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is far more common than most women are aware of. I never knew how common it was until I was diagnosed with it. Even being a common disorder, it is still surrounded by mystery and myths. If you have PCOS, it is important to weed through the myths and learn what is true and what isn't. Here we will lay out some of the facts that you need to know to make living with this disorder just a tad bit easier.
Your Diet is Crucial
If you are not eating healthy, you could be doing a lot more to your body than just causing weight gain. PCOS often goes hand-in-hand with what is known as insulin resistance. In a nutshell, this means that your body does not use insulin properly. Type 2 diabetes is also a threat with this condition. When you are eating a well-balanced diet that is low in sugar, you are helping your body to regulate insulin levels. You should aim to get adequate protein and follow a diet that consists mainly of foods that have a low glycemix index. Teas of ginger, garlic and holy basil, as well as the Gymnema Sylvestre herb, are said to be beneficial, as well. However, never use a natural remedy without talking to your doctor first.
Watch Your Weight
Losing and/or maintaining your weight is difficult when you have PCOS. Trust me, I know. I am at a healthy weight, but it is a daily struggle to maintain it. A well-balanced diet -- like I discussed above -- is a very important part of staying in control of your weight. Daily exercise is also important. You should aim for 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise. Talk to your doctor before you start exercising. Then, there are some other things like getting good, regular and adequate sleep, and drinking plenty of water that will help you lose and maintain a healthy weight.
A large majority of women with PCOS also have sleep apnea. Many times, losing weight can resolve this potentially dangerous medical condition. Women with PCOS who do not have sleep apnea may still have breathing issues at night. If you suspect sleep apnea, talk to your doctor immediately.
A Large Majority of Women are Undiagnosed
Having PCOS can be really difficult, but imagine having this disorder, and not knowing you have it. It is estimated that as many as 70 percent of women with this disorder are either not diagnosed at all or are misdiagnosed. If you suspect that PCOS is something you have, talk to your health care provider.
Pregnancy is Still Possible
It is true that PCOS can affect your fertility, but it does not make every single woman 100 percent infertile. In fact, many women with PCOS are able to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. If you have this disorder and are planning to become pregnant, talk to your health care provider first.
Medications Can Help
Some women with insulin resistance benefit from medications like metformin. Also, while it is somewhat controversial, some health care providers still feel that oral contraceptives can be beneficial. Depending on your symptoms, there are other medications out there that may help to alleviate them.
Diagnosis is Not Easy
As we mentioned previously, many women are thought to be misdiagnosed or completely undiagnosed. This is largely because this disorder can be very difficult to accurately diagnose. So, if you suspect you have it, but are not formally diagnosed, get a second opinion -- or even a third and fourth opinion, if necessary.