Popular, not by choice, PCOS is a condition that a whole lot of women face! I can literally think of multiple women I know who seem to be fighting this unending battle –– and the symptoms really aren’t all that kind to them. From excessive body hair growth to extremely bad period cramps, irregular periods to acne and weight-gain, the list goes on and on! And the worse part is that it can creep up at any point, as you get older. I remember seeing a friend of mine witness her body change, her skin worsen, and her period get extremely irregular, only to discover that she developed PCOS at 25. And while I didn’t experience the condition first-hand (and I’d rather not speak for her), I could see the mental and physical turmoil it put her through for years. The unfortunate thing about PCOS is that you cannot cure it –– you can, however, help treat its underlying symptoms and manage the condition, so that it doesn’t worsen with time. It’s about the little things and the tiny changes that have a ripple effect on this condition.
Here are 5 ways to naturally manage and heal PCOS the holistic way!
#1 - Diet Is Key ?🍲
A lot of women who have managed to manage their PCOS focused their energies on a change in diet. This meant staying away from processed foods, and moving more towards a wholesome diet that is nutrient heavy. Our body flourishes when fed with nutritious foods that contain all the vitamins and minerals that promote a healthy system. Processed foods, sugars, and saturated fats are known to cause weight gain (which is a trigger for PCOS symptoms) and can even increase estrogen production making existing symptoms even worse.
The whole idea is to listen to what your body is trying to say to you about the food you consume. It doesn’t mean you need to fully switch to a plant based diet or a whole foods diet, it just means you need to stay away from anything that will aggravate your symptoms and make them worse. Include iron-rich foods or foods that act as anti-inflammatories like dark green leafy veggies, berries, beans, dried fruits, or peas.
Your diet should include:
1. Foods that are low in glycemic index, to avoid a rise in insulin levels. PCOS can trigger higher levels of insulin in your blood and therefore needs to be balanced out with low GI foods. Opt for nuts, seeds, and whole grains in your diet. You can also look at eating starchy veggies and fruits like sweet potatoes and dates, as alternatives.
2. Unprocessed foods need to be present in your daily diet. I know it’s hard to stay away from sugars, refined carbs, and processed meats, however, these also lead to high levels of inflammation. You don’t need to cut them out completely –– simply, reduce consumption and be mindful about enjoying them in moderation. Once in a while really won’t hurt you.
3. Anti-inflammatory foods are essential when maintaining PCOS as they help reduce inflammation in your body. This includes tomatoes, leafy greens, nuts, berries, olive oil, turmeric, to name a few.
#2 - Exercise Away 🏋️
While this may sound like a cliche and rather preachy, exercise is actually quite important when it comes to maintaining PCOS symptoms. This doesn’t mean that you have to slog days in and days out on the treadmill, but simply just involve yourself in physical activities that you enjoy. Instead of going for a high-intensity workout that causes you to stress out more than actually enjoying it, opt for something more calming and relaxing, while giving your body a good physical exertion. Yoga, pilates, swimming, or just going for a run consistently will help keep you active and will also aid in reducing stress levels –– all of which naturally manage the symptoms of PCOS.
#3 - Find Good Mental Health Support 🧘
Other than the physical turmoil your body goes through thanks to PCOS, the impact it has on your mental wellbeing is also quite detrimental. Whether it’s the changes in your physical appearance or even how the symptoms of PCOS affects your self-esteem, having someone to share it with, discuss, and exchange stories, makes living with PCOS all the more ‘normal’. It’s important to remind yourself that you’re not sailing alone in this tumultuous boat –– there are other women too!
#4 - Sleep Sleep Sleep 😴
Staying awake till 2am? Not getting your 8 hours of beauty snoozes? Well, that’s not good for your health or for your PCOS. Honestly, in today’s day and age, we do not give sleep the importance it deserves. Playing a rather important role when it comes to maintaining hormones (the trigger to PCOS), sleeping well, for the right amount of time is absolutely essential. When you sleep, your body and mind resets itself –– think of it as maintenance hours. During this period, stress levels are reduced, and since women with PCOS often tend to have higher cortisol, a good snooze helps maintain those levels.
When it comes to PCOS, sleep also helps reduce inflammation, something that is quite common with the hormonal condition. Better sleep equals less inflammation, making the symptoms less of a pain (literally) to manage. So the next time you’re mindlessly scrolling through Instagram at 2am, keep your phone aside, meditate away and GO TO SLEEP!
#5 - Supplements FTW 🥛
Sometimes your body needs a bit of an extra helping hand to nourish your system from within! While your diet is really important, consuming supplements that support it will just take things up a notch. Our What Women Want formula supports your menstrual cycle and helps manage the symptoms of PCOS naturally. The herbal mix contains natural ingredients like Shatavari, Nettle leaf, and Lemon balm, all of which work together to balance hormones and ease PCOS with consistent use.
#TruthBomb: PCOS cannot be cured or healed, however it can be managed. Small changes in your lifestyle and diet help trigger bigger changes in your body. And when I said that you’re not sailing in the PCOS boat alone, I meant it. Our co-founder Vibha started her wellness journey (and COSMIX) on a quest to treat her PCOS. So, if you need inspiration or a little push to begin your holistic journey, let her story guide the way. Remember, following these natural tips will allow you to control your PCOS and not have it the other way around!