National PCOS Awareness Month is upon us, and there’s no better time for women living with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) to get the support they need. A very complex prevalent health condition resulting in an hormonal imbalance, PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women and it produces many unwanted side effects such as weight gain, acne, excessive facial or body hair, fatigue, and headaches. Because some of these symptoms affect a woman’s appearance, they can also lead to anxiety, depression, and self-esteem issues. Working closely with your doctor to control your symptoms and getting the emotional support you need is key to living well with PCOS.
Melvin Thornton, MD of CT Fertility in Trumbull, CT offers tips on how to build an essential PCOS support network, and lifestyle changes to help you live your best life despite the challenges PCOS may throw your way.
Knowledge is Power
As with any challenge in life, it helps to know what you’re dealing with. As you know, PCOS a complex health condition resulting in an hormonal imbalance that causes unwanted side effects. What can you expect from the side effects? What can you do to reduce their physical and emotional affect on you? What steps can you take to successfully manage the side effects? Reading up on your diagnosis, and asking your doctor lots of questions, gives you the information you need to determine how to best handle your PCOS. The more you know, the more in control you’ll feel. You have the power to support yourself
Join a Support Group
Of course, you may also want to look to others for support. Melvin Thornton, MD of CT Fertility says that many patients find PCOS support groups extremely helpful. Because the symptoms can, at times, be alienating women frequently report feeling alone in their struggle. This is not the case. Getting involved in a support group, in person or online, can be extremely reassuring; a unique bond often forms amongst women who share relatable PCOS experiences.
It’s also a wonderful way to get and share information. And knowing that you’re contributing to someone else’s well-being provides a positive boost to the way you feel about yourself. This positivity may help combat the anxiety and depression that often accompanies PCOS.
Look at Your Lifestyle
Weight gain is a vexing part of PCOS for many women. Women with PCOS produce high levels of androgens, which can associated with weight gain – frequently in the abdomen. Insulin resistance, common amongst PCOS patients, makes it particularly challenging to lose the weight. Eliminating as many processed foods from your diet as possible can help. Refined sugar wreaks havoc on your insulin levels. You may also want to consider giving up your morning jolt. A diet rich in high-fiber vegetables, lean protein, and anti-inflammatory foods and spices can be beneficial for weight loss and your overall health.
Daily exercise will be of great help. Whether it’s a 30-minute walk, a yoga video, or a few extra trips up and down your stairs, a short workout every day can serve as both a metabolism and mood booster. Involve family and friends in your quest for a better lifestyle, everyone will benefit.
No matter how positive your outlook, the negative emotions of PCOS are bound to show up from time to time. Don’t feel like you have to handle them on your own. PCOS produces so many physical and emotional imbalances; it can seem to be overwhelming and lead to profound sadness. Anxiety and depression can be serious, and you deserve to get the support you need to deal in a healthy way. A specialist in therapy can provide you with the tools you need to manage the emotional aspect of this condition. Call CT Fertility at 203-373-1200 to find a list of qualified therapists in Trumbull, CT
See Your Doctor
Regular physical exams are essential for women with PCOS. Unfortunately, PCOS puts women at an increased risk of developing a host of other health issues comparing to general population, such as:
- Some types of cancer (i.e. cervical and uterine);
- Cardiovascular disease;
- High blood pressure;
- High cholesterol.
This increase risk is mostly secondary to an increase exposure to a hormonal imbalance (i.e. insulin, estrogen, androgens) Regular visits with your primary care taker will ensure that your doctor can keep a close eye on potential problems and prevent them, or treat them before they become serious health issues. Periodic doctor appointments also strengthen your PCOS support network; the more experts you have looking out for you and helping you along your journey to good health, the better.
With a positive attitude and strong support network, living well with PCOS is possible. If you have PCOS, or suspect you may, and would like more information call 203-373-1200 at CT Fertility to make an appointment.