5 tips and foods to manage PCOS in Teens and Adults

Just like hormonal changes, PCOS in teens and adults ( a type of hormonal imbalance) are part of normal puberty and quite common these days. Actually acne and irregular periods are part of pubertal development. So when does it become PCOS?

Lots of girls who are misdiagnosed with PCOS are actually just in normal puberty, and later go on to have completely normal hormones. On the other hand, many girls or women still go undiagnosed, even with clear signs, as there’s so much confusion as to what is normal. With PCOS, it’s better to intervene earlier because this can make a huge difference in their overall health for life. In this article, you will understand about PCOS, its causes, symptoms, signs and tips to manage PCOS in Teens and Adults.

What Is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)?

PCOS, which stands for polycystic ovary syndrome, is a common health problem that can affect teen girls and young women. It can cause irregular menstrual periods, make periods heavier, or even make periods stop. It can also cause a girl to have excess facial hair and acne.

What Causes Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

Doctors can’t say for sure what causes it, but PCOS seems to be related to an imbalance in a girl’s or woman hormones . For most women, it’s probably a combination of factors, including the genes you inherit from your family. For example, women with PCOS are more likely to have a mother or sister with PCOS.

PCOS is usually caused when in addition to estrogen (the main female hormone), women also make small amounts of testosterone (the main male hormone). In PCOS, girls and women make a little extra testosterone than normal. Research also suggests that the body might make too much insulin, signaling the ovaries to release extra male hormones. The higher amounts of these male hormones can interfere with egg development and release. Due to the presence of extra male hormones (testosterone), sometimes cysts (little sacs filled with liquid) develop, instead of the eggs maturing. This results in the cysts build up in the ovaries instead of an egg being released during ovulation as in a normal period. Eventually, these Polycystic ovaries can become enlarged. Girls/women with PCOS might not be ovulating or releasing an egg each month. (How to manage period pains?)

What are the Signs and Symptoms of  Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

The signs and symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are as mentioned below:

  • Irregular menstrual periods, which means having your period more than once a month or every few months
  • Missed periods
  • Very heavy or very light periods
  • Unwanted hair growth on your face, chest, back, hands, upper arms and legs, or around your nipples (a condition called hirsutism)
  • Acne or clogged pores
  • Thinner hair on your head (alopecia)
  • Patches of dark, thickened skin on your neck, armpits, or between your breasts (called acanthosis nigricans), which is a sign of insulin resistance
  • Weight gain or obesity (Foods to manage obesity)

Teens and women with PCOS also are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol.

Girls who show signs of puberty early, such as developing underarm or pubic hair before age 8, may be at greater risk for PCOS later on.

What Problems Can Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Cause?

Girls/women with PCOS are more likely to:

  • Face infertility or have difficulty conceiving. However, this is treatable when a woman decides she wants to become pregnant.
  • Have excessive hair growth on places such as the face, chest, or belly
  • Get acne or have their acne get worse
  • Gain weight or difficulty maintaining a normal weight
  • Develop diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure
  • Have obstructive sleep apnea (Which foods help to manage sleep issues?)

How Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Diagnosed?

If your doctor thinks you might have PCOS, he or she may refer you to a gynecologist or an endocrinologist for a diagnosis. To make the diagnosis, the doctor might  perform any or some of the following actions:

  • Ask about your concerns and symptoms, your past health, your family’s health, any medicines you’re taking, any allergies you have, and other issues. 
  • Ask you lots of questions specifically about your period and its regularity. 
  • Do a physical exam, which includes checking your weight, and looking for physical signs such as acne, hair growth, and darkened skin. 
  • Do a gynecologic exam to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.
  • Order blood tests to diagnose PCOS and or to see if the symptoms are caused by other conditions, such as thyroid or other ovarian or gland problems.
  • Order a pelvic ultrasound (a safe, painless test that uses sound waves to make images of the pelvis) to check your ovaries for cysts or other problems. 

How THeSE 5 TIPS AND FOODS CAN HELP TO TREAT PCOS in Teens or adults?

There’s no cure for PCOS, but there are several ways to treat and manage it.

1. Diet and Exercise

If a girl/woman is overweight or obese, a doctor will recommend lifestyle changes. Weight loss can be very effective in easing many of the health conditions associated with PCOS, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Your doctor or a registered dietitian can look at your food intake and your exercise and activity to create a weight-loss program for you. Exercise is very important to improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin and prevent progression to diabetes.

2. Medicines

Sometimes doctors prescribe medicines to treat PCOS.

  • Birth control pills to help control androgen levels in the body and regulate menstrual cycle. They may also help control acne and excessive hair growth in some girls, but they don’t work for everyone.
  • Antiandrogens also are sometimes used to treat PCOS in teens. These medicines counter the effects of excess androgens and help clear up skin and hair growth problems.
  • A diabetes medicine called metformin can lower insulin levels. In some girls with PCOS, it can help control ovulation and androgen levels which can make menstrual cycles more regular.

Medicines should always be combined with the recommended lifestyle changes.

3. Dietary changes to maintain hormone balance in body

Though all of the nutrients are beneficial for the overall health of the body when it comes to maintaining hormone levels, some of them are extremely important to include in the diet. Here is the list of the major nutrients that you should include in your diet. (Foods that help to manage hormones?)

  • Magnesium: whole grain, cereals, nuts, dairy products, bananas and chlorophyll rich vegetables
  • Zinc: Foods such as brown rice, whole wheat, nuts, pumpkin seeds, oats, millets, dried beans and lentils, leafy greens, yams and sesame seeds.
  • Calcium: Dried fig, milk and milk products, beans, pulses, seeds and nuts
  • Vitamin D: Exposure to sunlight and vitamin D rich foods like egg yolk.
  • Vitamin K: Green vegetables, cereals and meat.
  • Manganese: Cereals, brans, nuts and tea.
  • Phytoestrogens: Flax seeds, fennel seeds, licorice, alfalfa and aloe vera.

4. Lifestyle changes to maintain the hormonal levels

Along with the dietary changes in your routine, a few lifestyle changes could bring out the best of the best results. Following these tips and routines on a daily basis, would help to stay away from all kinds of health issues. 

  • Avoid alcohol consumption and smoking to the most extent. Also, avoiding junk food to the maximum will show great results.
  • Sleep well and make sure you get good and sound sleep every night.
  • Stress is undoubtedly your worst enemy and you should do every single effort to keep it away from you.

5. Ayurvedic Herbs and Remedies for PCOS:

PCOS or Artavakshaya is classified as Kapha Dosha imbalance. Kapha is the dynamic energy of growth and structure. Ayurveda prescribes specific herbs, therapies, yoga, exercise and diet to balance the Dosha.

Herbs that help to give relief from Acne and Hirsutism:

Manjistha: Manjishtha is extremely useful to balance hormones and help in PCOS. It is a herb known for its blood purifying properties and ability to restore uterine health. It is also well known for treating pimples, excessive facial growth, hair fall, improving moods, controlling heavy bleeding and aiding in the regulation of periods as well as treating PCOS in teens and adults.

Neem: Neem is extremely effective in treating acne. The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of neem are beneficial to any type of pimple, whether black or white heads. It reduces the negative effects of acne-causing bacteria. It also contains antioxidants and medicinal properties that aid in blood purification and promote regular menstruation. (Why do we need antioxidants?)

Turmeric: Turmeric (Haldi) has medicinal properties that aid in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions. It aids in hormone balance and menstrual cycle regulation in females. Curcumin ( a compound found in Turmeric) stimulates the production of bile in the gallbladder, which is then used by the liver to eliminate toxins and purify the blood, resulting in regular periods. (Immunity powder for kids) 

Amla: Amla has detoxifying qualities which helps to reduce cholesterol levels. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties which removes free radicals and helps to restore hormonal balance in the body.

Red Clover: Red clover is a rich source of phytoestrogens (estrogen rich foods from plants) and thus it acts as a natural source of estrogens which helps in purifying blood and treating acne.

Tulsi: Tulsi helps to relieve hyperandrogenism (excess male hormones) that comes with PCOS and thus helps to control hirsutism( unwanted hair growth) and anovulation ( a condition when an egg doesn’t release from your ovary during your menstrual cycle).

Licorice: Licorice or Mulethi is a sweet tasting root that helps to balance hormones. In addition, it helps to reduce high estrogen and high androgen levels and thus reduces the growth and spread of unwanted hair.

Herbs for Insulin Resistance:

Insulin resistance is the situation in which your body cells resist the action of insulin (sugar regulator) which results in too much sugar in your bloodstream.

Pumpkin Seeds: They are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids which helps to manage cholesterol and insulin levels and also treat weight gain, hirsutism and acne by dealing with androgens. (What are some other benefits of pumpkin seeds?)

Triphala: Triphala is a powerful Ayurvedic Rasayana which deeply cleanses our body and helps to flush out wastes and toxins. Moreover, it has powerful antioxidants to rejuvenate, inhibit inflammation, promote healthy cells and purify blood.(How Triphala helps to improve eyesight?)

Cinnamon: Scientific studies suggest that giving cinnamon to women for eight weeks significantly reduces insulin resistance.(What are some other benefits of Cinnamon?)

Green Tea: Green tea has antioxidant properties that helps to regulate hormones including insulin and also can help with weight loss.

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON INGREDIENTS FOR HORMONE BALANCE:

Manjistha: There is convincing scientific evidence that a Manjistha helps in making the skin complexion even, cure acne and lighten dark spots. Read here.

Neem: There is wide research on the role of Neem in reducing acne and hair fall. Read here.

Turmeric: There is scientific evidence that supports the claim that turmeric helps in reducing acne. Read here.

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