6 Starter Tips for PCOS
Many of you (and many of my clients and followers) have PCOS. If you don't know what PCOS is, it is polycystic ovarian syndrome. Basically, in order to qualify for a PCOS diagnosis, you need to meet two of the qualifying factors - which include (1) irregular periods, (2) high androgens (3) ovarian cysts. Many women have all three, but some only have two of the three qualifying factors.
Women who have PCOS are typically struggling with high levels of stress, a slow metabolism, low progesterone, low magnesium and unsupported blood sugar. Although I do suggest that women who have PCOS work closely with their doctor and a functional nutritionist, it's absolutely possible to get started on your own through lifestyle changes, supplement additions, and nutritional approaches. Below, you will find my top six tips for all women with PCOS.
Get Your Thyroid Levels Checked - PCOS is closely related to metabolic syndrome, which greatly impacts the metabolism. Many women who have PCOS are also either fully hypothyroid, or they are sub-clinical hypothyroid. It's important to check the TSH (2.0 is an ideal level), T4, T3, and also check to see if you have antibodies.
Get Progesterone Levels Checked - PCOS is also characterized by low levels of progesterone, and getting a blood serum read shortly after ovulation (or suspected ovulation) is an invaluable resource to see if you have adequate progesterone. If levels are lower than 5 ng. post ovulation, it would be very important to work with a practitioner to make sure that you are working towards an optimal range.
Eat Carbs and Protein Together to Stabilize Blood Sugar - by eating carbs and protein together (of course, you can add fat, but most animal protein contains fat), you can work towards stable blood sugar. Having adequate levels of progesterone and thyroid hormone (see #1 and #2) will play a huge role in blood sugar stability, but eating enough protein with your carbs will also make a huge impact.
Get to Sleep By 10 - by getting to sleep by 10, you prevent another spike in cortisol that happens around 10 pm. If getting to sleep early is hard for you, check out my video about sleep tips + enjoy the herbal teas I mention, try blue light blocking glasses, and even try reading a book before bed.
Swap HIIT for Pilates or Weights - HIIT (high intensity interval training) is an intensive workout that can trigger inflammation in women who are struggling with their health, especially PCOS, IBS and Hashimoto's. I have some weighted workouts on the membership, and if you want more of an idea of a workout split, check out the "Push/Pull" method that I discuss under functional movement/self care.
Try Magnesium Baths/and or a Magnesium Supplement - magnesium is the main mineral that women with PCOS are notoriously deficient in. In fact, a magnesium deficiency can be one of the drivers behind the development of PCOS, as this mineral controls over 300+ enzymatic reactions, which are the foundation for healthy hormones.