What is PCOS?
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which is a condition that impacts approximately 1 in every 10 women of reproductive age. Symptoms of PCOS include irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, weight gain, depression, acne, and hair loss – just to name a few. Due to the range of symptoms, PCOS can go undiagnosed for quite some time.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, however it is understood that genetics plays an important role. More commonly, PCOS is considered a hormonal disorder involving an imbalance between hormones:
o Insulin: the hormone assists with blood sugar management
o Androgen: often referred to as “the male hormone”, all women produce Androgen but in smaller amounts. For those diagnosed with PCOS, their androgen levels are much higher.
o Progesterone: the hormone produced by the ovaries which is vital for maintaining a regular menstrual cycle.
An imbalance of the above hormones can contribute to an increased risk of other diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and endometrial cancer.
How can Exercise and Nutrition Help?
Exercise and Nutrition can help those with PCOS by managing their blood sugar levels, energy levels, heart health and weight. With a holistic approach to managing this condition, people diagnosed with PCOS will hopefully better control their health and experience an improved quality of life.
For more information about PCOS and other women’s health topics, the Jean Hailes for Women’s Heath website is filled with great resources (https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/pcos). If this has raised any questions for you, make an appointment to contact your local General Practitioner.