The truth is, there is a significant lack of information and support out there for women who are suffering from PCOS. Shockingly, despite this, PCOS is actually very common and affects as many as 1 in 10 women.
The symptoms are not always easy to spot and managing them daily can be extremely frustrating and exhausting for sufferers. It’s easy to understand why symptoms are often left to be self-managed with many of them going undiagnosed.
Even though having PCOS isn’t a choice, suffering from the symptoms doesn’t have to be. There are solutions for easing those exhausting side effects through supplementation and lifestyle changes.
At Nourished, we are passionate about supporting women with this debilitating condition and are committed to providing tailor-made solutions which make a real impact in their everyday lives. Not only have we added a new ingredient to our vitamin gummy stacks (Inositol) that is specifically targeted to easing symptoms that come from PCOS, but we have put together this guide to go more in-depth about what PCOS is, the symptoms to look out for and ways you can get back to being you.
What is PCOS?
PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This imbalance can lead to the development of small cysts on the ovaries (hence the name polycystic ovary syndrome), along with a host of other symptoms.
According to the National Institutes of Health, 5 million women in the United States have PCOS, but many do not know they have it. PCOS often goes undiagnosed because it can be difficult to tell by symptoms alone that a woman has this syndrome. In addition, some symptoms such as obesity are common in women without PCOS as well. This means that just having these symptoms does not mean a woman has the condition and can make diagnosis challenging.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
It can be very difficult to spot the signs of PCOS as it can cause a wide range of symptoms, including irregular periods, excessive hair growth on the face and body, acne, and weight gain. PCOS can also increase the risk of developing other health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
The most common symptom is an irregular menstrual cycle. The hormones that are out of balance in PCOS affect the ovaries and these imbalances can cause the ovaries to make less than the normal amount of estrogen and progesterone. It is this lack of these two hormones that interfere with regular ovulation. As a result, women with PCOS can often not have periods or only have them every few months.
What Can Supplement PCOS Symptoms?
First and foremost, if you suspect you have PCOS, it is important to see your doctor or a health professional for diagnosis and treatment.
But there are also steps you can take to help ease the symptoms that come with PCOS, including supplementing your diet with Inositol, exercising and incorporating natural foods into your diet.
How Inositol Can Aid PCOS
Inositol, which is available in Nourished gummy vitamin stacks, is a powerful naturally-occurring carbocyclic sugar that offers a host of scientifically proven benefits when it comes to combating symptoms of PCOS.
Some studies have shown that Inositol can restore ovarian activity/regularity and increase fertility [i]. Other findings show that Inositol helps to improve the regularity of the menstrual cycle [ii], has a beneficial effect on the metabolic profile of women with PCOS, regulates insulin levels and reduces blood pressure too [iii].
The benefits don’t stop there either, as this powerhouse supplement reduces the presence of hyperandrogenism, (the presence of male sex hormones) and how they can affect the female body. [iv]
One of the easiest ways to incorporate Inositol into your diet is through our Nourished gummy multivitamins. You can find out more about Inositol here including how to take our short lifestyle consultation.
How Dieting can affect PCOS
Dieting isn't as easy as incorporating an ingredient such as Inositol into your nutrition regime, but exercise and consuming certain foods is a change that is recommended by scientific studies to show improvements to the symptoms of PCOS.
A study from 2007 found that participants showed improved endocrine features, reproductive function and cardiometabolic risk profile when effective approaches to both nutrition and exercise were applied to participants with PCOS [vi].
When it comes to changing your diet to aid the symptoms of PCOS, this depends on the symptoms you are experiencing. One of the main symptoms associated with this disorder affects insulin levels in the body, and some types of foods can make it a lot more difficult to control insulin resistance such as refined carbohydrates.
Some examples of the foods that you should consider incorporating into your diet are fruit and vegetables high in fibre and wholegrain foods such as:
- Dark leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes,
- Wholemeal bread
- Brown rice
Can Exercise Help PCOS Symptoms?
According to NHS England, people who are of an unhealthy weight can show significant improvements to PCOS symptoms by losing as little as 5% of their weight [v]. Aside from changing your diet, exercising regularly is a great way to alter your weight.
But the effects of exercise can provide more benefits than just helping to lose weight. A study by Amie Woodward, Markos Klonizakis and David Broom from 2020 [vii] highlighted how exercise improved insulin sensitivity and decreased hyperinsulinemia in participants with PCOS. The study also goes on to state how people with PCOS have been associated with an increased chance of suffering from mental health disorders and that exercise can be used to improve the physiological well-being of those with PCOS.
Their advice is that people suffering from PCOS should engage in at least 150 mins of physical activity per week [vii].
What Supplements and Medication Should You Take For PCOS
There is also a range of medications you can take depending on which symptoms you are experiencing. Again, it’s important to highlight that you should consult with your doctor to find the correct medication you require, but NHS England also has a very detailed breakdown of what medication is available depending on the symptoms you are experiencing.
For instance, they state that Metformin can lower insulin levels in women suffering from PCOS and Cyproterone Acetate can be taken to control hair loss and excessive hair growth [v].
Want to Learn More About PCOS?
PCOS is a disorder that you don’t have to suffer from in silence with and there are solutions to help ease those troubling symptoms.
This is one of the reasons why we created the PCOS Stack. This multivitamin gummy stack is packed full of 7 active ingredients, including Inositol, to help you through this troubling time and get you back to being you. Inositol is also an active ingredient we have added to our Personalised plant-based, sugar-free vitamins.
If you would like to find out more about Inositol, PCOS or any of the claims we have made in this article then visit the studies listed below for additional information: