PCOD or Polycystic Ovarian Disease, as the name suggests is a medical condition in which clusters of small sized cysts are formed in the ovaries. These cysts are fluid-filled and contain immature eggs.
This disease usually occurs in the reproductive age of women, due to the hormonal imbalance. The female body starts producing more male sex hormone ‘androgen,’ due to which the normal menstrual cycles get disrupted. Though the cause of PCOD is not very clear, it is presumed that combination of genetic and environmental factors play a role. Risk factors are obesity, lack of physical activity/ sedentary lifestyle and family history of someone with the condition.
Even a 10 percent loss in body weight can help lessen the symptoms of PCOD which in turn help in restoring a normal period and regular cycle.
1. Hirsutism - Excessive hair growth on the face and body
2. Weight gain - especially around the waist
3. Acne or oily skin
4. Anxiety and depression
5. Irregular menstrual cycle or missed period
6. Difficulty in conception as it affects fertility.
7. Thinning hair on the scalp.
PCOD can further complicate health and can lead to diabetes and uterine cancer.
Though several medications like Birth control pills, androgen blocking medications, insulin sensitising medications etc are used for the treatment, one of the best treatments for PCOD is a healthy lifestyle - a healthy diet with regular exercise.
1. Avoid dairy products. Milk contains many hormones and chemicals given to the animals in the form of injections for the purpose of lactation, which when ingested by the PCOD patients can upset their hormonal balance and aggravate the symptoms.
2. Avoid saturated and trans fat. These fats can increase your cholesterol levels and add more calories leading to weight gain. As PCOD patients are already at a risk of heart disease and diabetes, the saturated or trans fat can be additional risk factors. Avoid red meat, processed and fried foods.
3. Avoid high Glycemic Index ( GI ) foods as they shoot up your sugar levels quickly. These include refined flour, pasta, cookies, rice, potatoes, sweets or sweeteners, juices, etc.
4. Increase fiber intake. Have whole fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, bran, barley, quinoa, almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, leafy vegetables, etc. in your diet to increase the fiber content as it will keep you full for longer period and not let you gain weight.
5. Have high protein and low carb diet. High protein diet is beneficial in losing weight. Add good sources of protein such as lean meat, poultry, fish, yogurt, beans, lentils, etc. Try to eat carbohydrate with protein, as protein helps to regulate the sugar spike resulting from carbohydrate intake.
6. Add more fruits and vegetables in your diet, as they contain more antioxidants, which is very important to reduce the oxidative stress. They are the rich sources of all the minerals and vitamins. Vitamin B and folic acid in particular play an important role in managing PCOD symptoms. Try to eat fruits with skin rather than juices.
7. Add healthy fats - Try to add more omega-3, omega-6 sources in your diet like olive or canola oil, nuts and seeds, fish.
8. Limit processed foods and foods with added sugars.
Even a 10 percent loss in body weight can restore a normal period and make your cycle more regular. Though PCOD cannot be cured completely, but making some changes in your diet and regular exercise can be very helpful in managing the PCOD symptoms.