You’ve probably heard of PCOS and the wonders the condition brings along –– if not you, I am pretty sure you know a friend, cousin, or even your mother who battles the condition daily. It is no longer out of the ordinary. The thing about PCOS is that it is complicated AF! Not only are its symptoms a task and a half to manage (although it can be managed very well with simple lifestyle tweaks), the triggers that cause PCOS are also not as transparent as they might appear.
While genetics and environment has a lot to do with causing the onset of the syndrome, the two factors that often get overlooked include stress and gut health. Yes, you read that right –– these two elements are actually quite crucial when it comes to PCOS. So how do they fit into the world of PCOS? Let’s dive deep, shall we?
Relationship between stress and PCOS
Stress, Mess, & PCOS 😎
Stress has literally become a part of everyone’s daily lifestyle. It’s safe to say that a ‘stress-free’ environment is a dream –– very difficult to achieve, but not impossible. In our daily hustle and bustle, we interact with so many elements that can elevate stress levels. From getting stuck in traffic, to meeting expectations in our college and work lives, to managing our personal lives –– the struggle is real. And, the immediate effect hits our hormones. PCOS symptoms are often associated with hormonal imbalances that are triggered by elevated androgens. And you can thank both your ovaries and adrenal glands for the high androgen levels.
When you get stressed, your body responds in strange ways. You feel flushed, your heart starts pounding, your head and body starts to ache, you get irritated easily, you can’t focus –– yeah, sounds familiar right?
Somewhere between the trigger and the reaction, your body’s stress response system activates itself. This includes your adrenal glands and of course, various parts of your brain. Your brain then stimulates the stress hormone cortisol. This obstructs regular functioning of your metabolism, reproductive system and a lot more. It is found that women with PCOS have high cortisol levels to begin with (as opposed to women without the syndrome). Throw in stress, and your stress response system is surely going to have a rager. This aggravates the symptoms even further, giving your uterus (and body) the worst hangover ever.
Relationship between gut health and PCOS
Trust Your Gut ✌
PCOS is a syndrome that is triggered by various factors and there isn’t just one cause for it. However, while some triggers stand in the limelight, others take a backseat and often get overshadowed. One such trigger is your gut. The connection between PCOS and your gut is a strong one, mainly because your gastrointestinal tract plays host to a large community of microorganisms. This includes bacteria, viruses, and fungi, that are both good and bad for your system.
Sounds like a healthy affair, doesn't it? Well, here’s where it can get murky. An imbalance between the good and the bad bacteria can lead to several health issues, one of them linked to PCOS. Women with PCOS tend to find themselves dealing with this imbalance, which aids in accelerating the symptoms of PCOS. The gut lining also has a strong connection with PCOS. A healthy gut lining isn’t permeable, it’s strong and doesn’t allow harmful toxins from entering the gut. An unhealthy gut is weak and opens the gates to all kinds of toxins to enter the system, including the inflammation that causes PCOS.
Fun Fact: While the birth control pill or oral contraceptive is commonly prescribed as a treatment for PCOS, a 2016 study shows that it can make your gut microbiome a lot worse.
How does stress and gut health cause PCOS?
Where The Two Worlds Collide 🌏
Now here’s where stress, your gut, and PCOS overlap! As mentioned, stress causes your androgens to increase. Elevated androgens lead to an imbalance in the bacteria present in the gut, which yet again (you guessed it), contribute to the symptoms of PCOS. It’s a vicious cycle!
How to reduce stress and promote gut health?
1. Keep the stress at bay
While a stress-free lifestyle might be a little too idealistic, we recommend trying to manage your stress levels instead. Involve yourself in some daily activities that boost your mood and focus on just you.
Bring Me Bliss from cosmix has adaptogenic herbs like Ashwaganda, Brahmi, Rhodiola that help your body to calm your nerves and enable you to focus. If you are someone who can get stressed out easily, you should definitely try this!
2. Sleep well
Make sure you are getting a good night’s rest. Six to eight hours of sleep at night is a necessity, especially if you want to rest your brain and body. Stick to a regular sleep schedule and keep screen time before bed as minimal as possible.
For those who struggle to sleep, our Sleep Like a Baby mix helps your body produce adequate amount of melatonin naturally.
3. Watch your diet
For healthy gut health, make sure you consume a whole lot of fibre. This helps retain the good bacteria. Opt for pro and prebiotics that will prevent the bad bacteria taking over the good. Probiotics help reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and aid in digestion. Prebiotics boost the growth of good bacteria in your gut, and prevent dysbiosis in your system. Consume foods that are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, that’ll help maintain your body’s bacteria and regulate inflammation.
Take the first step to good gut health with My Happy Gut that is filled with pre and probiotics.