Knowing Polystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.
PCOS affects one in 10 women of childbearing age, with 18 per cent prevalence reported in the Southeast. Many women have PCOS but do not know it. In one study, up to 70 per cent of women with PCOS had not been diagnosed.A reproductive expert with Fidson Healthcare Plc., Olubunmi Ajagunna, said the exact cause of PCOS is not known. He, however, listed factors that might play a role to include excess insulin, the hormone produced in the pancreas that allows cells to use sugar, which is the body’s primary energy supply.
He said: “If the cells become resistant to the action of insulin, then the blood sugar levels can rise and the body might produce more insulin. Excess insulin might increase androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation.“Another cause of PCOS is low-grade inflammation. This term is used to describe white blood cells’ production of substances to fight infection. Research has shown that women with PCOS have a type of low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens, which can lead to heart and blood vessel problems.”
Ajagunna said heredity research suggests certain genes might be linked to PCOS. In this case, the ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgen, resulting in hirsutism, a condition of unwanted, male-pattern hair growth in women, as well as acne. Some problems PCOS presents include, irregular menstrual periods, increased facial hair, weight gain and infertility.He said PCOS treatment focuses on managing individual concerns, such as infertility, hirsutism, acne or obesity. Specific treatment might involve lifestyle changes or medication.
He said: “ The dietary and lifestyle management in PCOS is typically earmarked by irregular periods or by no menstruation at all. Women with PCOS typically have multiple cysts in their ovaries; caused by an overproduction of androgens. Around 50 percent of women with the disorder are overweight or obese. Common symptoms also include male pattern baldness. While it is always important to consult your doctor about serious conditions, there are a few well recognised diet and lifestyle changes that can help reduce the severity and prevalence of PCOS symptoms.
“These include eating and drinking wisely. Low glycemic index (GI) foods are carbohydrates that are absorbed into the body slowly. Therefore, they don’t result in a dramatic spike in blood glucose levels, which results in subsequent drop in insulin levels. By decreasing the amounts of high-GI foods that cause sugar spikes, such as refined sugars, white bread, simple starches and processed foods, the blood sugars will be kept in balance, which will result in less extreme cravings and mood swings.
“There is also need to balance daily intake of protein and carbohydrates. Eating equal amounts of protein and carbohydrates assists in keeping insulin levels even, thereby maintaining a healthy balance of hormones. The type of carbohydrates is also an important factor in this process. It is essential to consume only wholegrain or sprouted grain products, as they naturally contain more protein and fibre than their processed equivalents. Fibre is another important element that assists in managing PCOS, as it slows the digestion of sugars within the body”.
“There is need to limit junk food and avoid binge eating junk foods. It can trigger binge-eating episodes in some women, especially when they are stressed or emotional. Added sugars, especially, increase insulin resistance and can contribute to weight gain in the context of excess calories.”Another reproductive expert Olayemi Akande, said physical exercise is an important component in treating PCOS, as it improves insulin sensitivity, enhances metabolism and helps to shed excess weight that might come about as a result of hormone imbalances.
He said: “A variety of different exercise is recommended, ranging from resistance training to aerobic workouts. It has been discovered that people who participate in resistance training showed better improvement in insulin sensitivity than those who only took part in aerobic exercise.
“There is also need to limit coffee intake. Research has shown that drinking two cups of coffee daily increases levels of estradiol, a natural estrogen, while drinking four to five cups of coffee daily produces 70 percent more estrogen in the follicular phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle. This has the potential to substantially affect hormonal balance.
“It is also helpful to practise meditation, which trains the mind to be more present and focused. It’s been shown to reduce stress-related overeating and increase recognition of hunger and satiety signals. Thus, it may be helpful in controlling body weight in PCOS condition.”
Akande stated that because of the chronic nature of the condition, making lifelong treatment necessary, many patients prefer turning to natural alternatives that pose a low risk of side effects. “ Among the various alternative PCOS treatments, studies have also shown that herbs may offer relief to women with PCOS. Hyponidd, the herbal insulin sensitiser, consists of natural ingredients useful in treating PCOS ROLE of Hyponidd in PCOS.
“Hyponidd normalises FSH-LH levels, induces ovulation and thus enhances fertility outcomes . Hyponidd as the best ayurvedic medicine for PCOS improves ovulatory function and corrects several metabolic derangements associated with insulin resistance. Hyponidd decreases the insulin, and thereby corrects the three axes, namely: metabolic, reproductive and steroidogenic.
“It reduces free testosterone level and so, decreases androgenic features like acne, hirsutism, alopecia and acanthosis nigricans. It increases the insulin sensitivity and thus corrects lipid metabolism and reduces dyslipidemia. The constituents in Hyponidd shows anti-androgenic properties that help to correct hormonal imbalances, thereby restoring normal ovulation and reproductive function.”
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