What Causes PCOS?
Before we can delve on treatments for PCOS with focus on natural treatments for PCOS, lets look at what causes PCOS.
When we look at historical data, about 2-3 decades ago, nobody in India had heard of PCOS. It was virtually nonexistent in india. Now, the incidence of PCOS amongst teens and young adults is alarmingly high.
So, what has changed? Its the fact that we have started eating a more western diet and have stopped stepping outdoors and exercising.
PCOS is caused by 2 main factors both of which are equally important:
- Eating too much food which has a high glycemic index.
- Not working out enough
We often do see occasional people who have a fantastic lifestyle and still have the hormonal imbalance. In this small sub-group there may be a genetic tendency to develop the hormonal imbalance.
How do we manage PCOS?
There are clear guidelines on use of hormones and also adding some medications which improve glucose metabolism. However, the aim of this write-up is to focus on natural treatments.
Natural Treatments for PCOS
As PCOS is a lifestyle, it seems very logical that treatment should also lie in lifestyle management.
Dietary modifications in PCOS: All foods have a glycemic index. Simply put this is a factor of how rapidly and to what extent the particular food releases glucose in the blood. When glucose is released, the body produces insulin to metabolise the glucose. Its these spikes of insulin which cause most symptoms of PCOS.
We need to eat food with a low glycemic index. This includes vegetables, nuts, lentils, whole grains like brown or black rice and wholewheat flour or multi grain flour.
We need to avoid food which have a high glycemic index: This includes all polished grains (polished flour in breads, burgers, pizzas, pastas, noodles, white rice), desserts, cakes, biscuits, most savouries, chocolates, juiced fruits, most breakfast cereals.
We also need to address the second big causative factor: sedentary lifestyle. We all need to get out and work out on a regular basis. Even a brisk walk for 30-45 mins a day will be adequate as long as you are consistent.
Are lifestyle modifications adequate to reverse PCOS?
Lifetsyle correction is absolutely mandatory. In addition, one may need to take medications for treatment of the various problems you may have.