For women with PCOS, the symptoms and treatments vary so widely, it can be hard to know where to start!
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can be difficult to diagnose as not every woman has the same symptoms. What’s more, there are a host of conditions that result in similar symptoms, so it’s not always obvious when PCOS is the root cause. From weight gain to acne, hair growth to an irregular menstrual cycle – PCOS can feel complex to treat.
There are many medications, treatments, and therapies available to target managing PCOS, treating PCOS, and relieving PCOS symptoms… but what about if you want to manage it naturally, without birth control pills?
Then you’re in the right place!
Before starting any new treatment or regime, always seek medical advice. Please note this blog post is not a substitute for official medical advice. If you are concerned about your PCOS symptoms, suspect you have an underlying health condition or wish to make dietary/lifestyle changes, please consult your doctor first.
How To Manage PCOS Symptoms Naturally
Dealing with PCOS can be tough, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone, and there are ways to manage your symptoms naturally. As someone who has lived with PCOS and its pesky unpredictable symptoms, I know firsthand how it can affect your mental health. This is why I believe it’s crucial to prioritize natural symptom management methods that don’t add extra stress to your already busy life.
When we’re struggling with things like irregular periods or other PCOS symptoms, it’s easy to feel isolated and like our bodies are working against us. Engaging in natural remedies can be crucial for our mental well-being and overall sense of control over our bodies.
As Cysters, we already know that PCOS is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. So, it’s no secret that PCOS can take a toll on our mental health, which is why it’s essential to take charge of our physical health using natural methods. By choosing to manage our PCOS symptoms naturally, we’re not only reducing additional exposure to chemicals or hormones, but we’re also keeping our mental health in check.
Trust me, you’ll be amazed at how taking small steps towards more natural remedies can make a world of difference in how you feel inside and out.
1. Eat Balanced Meals
Balanced doesn’t just mean clean and healthy… it also means having protein, carb, fiber & fat on your plate! Eating three balanced meals per day and one or two snacks will likely keep you satisfied throughout the day. On the other hand, grazing on random small bites throughout the day and eating processed foods excessively will keep your insulin high all the time. This can lead to insulin resistance and trigger high testosterone in the ovaries, which might worsen your PCOS symptoms. Eating better meals can be a great way to naturally fight against PCOS symptoms.
When you have balanced meals that include protein, carbs, fiber, and fat, it helps to regulate your glucose levels and keep insulin in check. Plus, eating healthier meals can also lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is a concern for those with PCOS. So, it’s definitely worth giving it a try!
2. Getting enough sleep
I remember waking up and being ready to schedule my first nap of the day. Many Cysters suffer from fatigue because of inflammation, which can occur when our bodies are pumping stress hormones (such as cortisol) almost all day long! It makes our body feel like we’re in a constant state of jet lag. Getting a good 7+ hours of sleep can reduce cortisol, decrease fatigue and stop you from reaching for inflammatory ‘pick me ups’ like sugary snacks and caffeinated drinks.
3. Opting for low-impact exercises
Kickboxing, running, spinning, and CrossFit… are not a friend of PCOS. Try something slower and less intense. Slow, weighted workouts can help keep cortisol levels and stress hormones low (which helps us lose inches around the waist and assist with general weight loss). Yes… that’s right – intense workouts might be preventing you from losing weight.
4. Limiting alcohol
Missing out on cocktails isn’t fun… but neither is waking up to worsened PCOS symptoms – like acne and bloating and moodiness. Alcohol has been shown to cause hormone imbalance such as increased estrogen levels. The sugar in alcoholic drinks can also impact your PCOS – remember, PCOS is often described as diabetes of the ovaries!
5. Reducing caffeine consumption
Sadly, coffee and caffeinated drinks can trigger stress hormone imbalance… as well as disrupt your sleep cycle. Everyone processes caffeine differently, but if you are leaning on caffeine as a crutch for energy throughout the day, then it’s important to consider other ways to support cortisol and energy levels, like quitting caffeine and creating a proper nighttime routine. Instead of coffee, reach for something like spearmint tea, which is shown to reduce PCOS symptoms, like hair growth and bloating.
6. Learning to manage stress
Did you know that increased cortisol levels can wreak havoc on our bodies? And if you have PCOS, it can take things to a whole new level. Increased cortisol does all kinds of awful things to our bodies, but in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, it can impact our day-to-day lives. Not only does cortisol increase inflammation, disrupt sleep, and cause headaches, but it can also mess with your hormones. Yikes!
But don’t worry, there are some ways to help reduce cortisol levels, like practicing yoga, mindfulness, and finding ways to reduce work stress. Trust me, your body and your brain will thank you for it!
7. Getting more fiber!
Fiber feeds the gut microbiome, which improves your metabolism, blood sugar, and insulin levels. It also helps to reduce inflammation and bloating. So if you love leafy greens and raisin bran, you’re on the right path! Remember, fiber is your gut’s best friend. Not only does it help keep things moving, but it also nourishes the good bacteria in your gut, which can regulate blood sugar levels better, boost metabolism, and reduce inflammation. Opting for gluten-free high-fiber foods like beans, veggies, and chia seeds is a great way to give your gut – and overall health – a little extra love.
8. Loading up on Omega-3s
Fish oils and Omega-3s reduce insulin sensitivity and may improve your PCOS! Omega 3 also reduces inflammation and blood pressure, which can help to prevent heart disease and improve your mood. You can take Omega 3 supplements, or increase your oily fish intake. Who knew that fish oils and Omega-3s could be such a powerhouse duo in fighting PCOS? And not only that, but they also have the added bonus of reducing inflammation, improving mood, and preventing heart disease.
Whether you’re a team supplement or team oily fish, incorporating Omega 3 into your diet could really make a splash in improving your overall health!
9. Taking supplements
Aside from a great multivitamin, there are some fabulous supplements for women with PCOS, specifically. You can read about my top favorites, here. A strong Multivitamin, Fish oil, CoQ10, Curcumin, and Ovasitol all target different PCOS symptoms and can help to reduce them. Not only are Omega-3s deliciously good for you, but taking supplements can also give your PCOS-fighting journey a little extra boost. Supplements like inositol, cinnamon, and berberine have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, regulate menstrual cycles, and decrease androgen levels.
So if you’re looking to amp up your PCOS natural remedies, don’t forget to add some supplements to your toolkit.
10. Try gluten and dairy free for 30 days!
So, cutting out gluten and dairy might not be as scary as it sounds – in fact, it could even be kinda fun! Gluten and dairy are both thought to be inflammatory – they act as endocrine disruptors, which can wreak havoc on your gut and hormones. Not only are gluten and dairy known to be inflammatory, but they can also throw your hormones out of whack, causing all sorts of PCOS-related mayhem.
By taking a break from these culprits for just 30 days, you may start to feel like a brand new person. I recommend cutting them out for 30 days to see if your PCOS symptoms improve. (trust me, it’s not as hard as you think!) And hey, who knows, you may even discover some delicious new foods along the way!
Take charge and manage your PCOS symptoms like the unstoppable forces of nature we are!
Need help with your slow, weighted workouts? Or maybe you’d like some recipes for going gluten and dairy free? We update our PCOS meal plans, recipes, and workout videos every month for you to choose from when you download The Cysterhood App!