PCOD Management: Lifestyle Changes for Better Health

Updated on April 12, 2024

Living with Polycystic Ovary Disorder (PCOD) can be challenging, but incorporating lifestyle changes can significantly improve symptoms and overall quality of life. PCOD is a common hormonal disorder that affects women during their reproductive years, causing symptoms like irregular periods, weight gain, acne, and unwanted hair growth. PCOD can also cause anxiety and stress. However, by making simple yet impactful lifestyle modifications, individuals with PCOD can better manage their condition and promote better health outcomes.

Importance of Lifestyle Changes in PCOD

Hormonal Imbalance in PCOD leads to various symptoms like acne, unwanted hair growth, irregular periods, and weight gain. Increased body weight is associated with problems in body’s metabolism, insulin function, as well as emotional distress. Treatment for PCOD aims to achieve a healthy body weight. A healthy lifestyle is the most effective way to manage the symptoms of PCOD. Lifestyle changes are recommended for the initial management of PCOD. They can improve the physical, emotional, and overall health and well-being. Lifestyle changes in PCOD women have been proven to improve hormonal balance, reduce body weight, and improve the risk factors for diabetes and heart diseases. A healthy lifestyle is also likely to improve fertility and regulate the menstrual cycle.

Key Lifestyle Changes 

As mentioned, making significant lifestyle changes can play a pivotal role in alleviating symptoms, regulating hormone levels, and promoting overall well-being in individuals with PCOD. From dietary adjustments to exercise routines and stress management techniques, these lifestyle changes offer a comprehensive approach to managing PCOD and empowering individuals to take control of their health. Some of the key lifestyle changes are:

Physical activity

Regular exercise not only helps in weight management but also improves hormonal balance and reduces symptoms of PCOD.  Aim to exercise for atleast 30 minutes per daily. You can divide this into shorter sessions, such as 10 to 15 minutes, spread throughout the day to make it more manageable. Exercise has demonstrated consistent improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, body mass index, and insulin levels. Incorporating various forms of exercise into your routine is essential for managing PCOD effectively. Some easy yet beneficial exercises include walking, yoga, and aerobic exercises.

Healthy diet

Simple dietary changes can help manage your PCOD symptoms. Some foods can improve PCOD symptoms while some of them can worsen PCOD. A healthy diet along with exercise can help women with PCOD maintain a healthy body weight. A balanced diet for PCOD should include complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, healthy fats, and adequate hydration to stabilize blood sugar levels and support overall health. Foods rich in legumes, leafy greens, berries, fatty fish, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables are beneficial for individuals with PCOD, while processed foods, saturated fats, sugary snacks, refined carbohydrates, and high-fat dairy products should be limited or avoided. Some eating habits like eating small frequent meals instead of large meals reduce insulin sensitivity and androgen levels in PCOD. Healthy eating can manage your blood sugar levels and improve insulin function. It also helps in reducing weight and improving various symptoms of PCOD. Changing your dietary habits can also improve fertility.

Stress Management

Women with PCOD must be able to cope with symptoms and ensure that stress and anxiety do not affect them emotionally. Stress management is essential for women with PCOD to reduce symptoms, improve hormonal balance, and enhance overall quality of life. Mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and regular exercise reduce overall stress. Mindfulness meditation reduces the level of androgen hormones and reduces psychological distress in women with PCOD. For improving your mental health and getting to the practise of following a healthy lifestyle, counselling can also be helpful.

Adequate Sleep

Women with PCOD often face sleep disturbances which further disrupts the hormonal balance. It can also be linked to excess body weight. Therefore, women with PCOD should aim for adequate sleep in their daily routine. Practice sleep hygiene by making your sleep area comfortable and relaxing. Avoid using electronic devices before sleep and avoid large meals, alcohol, and caffeine before going to bed.8

Avoiding Smoking and Alcohol

In women with PCOD, cigerette smoking is found to be associated with increased androgen, low-density lipoprotiens and insulin levels, and it also lower the chances of conception in them. Alcohol consumption too may impact their fertilty. Hence, its wise to quit smoking and alcohol (or consume alcohol in moderation), especially if you have PCOD.

If you are suffering from PCOD, incorporating these lifestyle changes can significantly enhance your path to improved health.

Living with PCOD

In conclusion, adopting a balanced diet tailored to manage PCOD symptoms is crucial for promoting overall health and well-being. By focusing on nutrient-dense foods, lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates along with thorough testing and regular PCOD checkups, individuals with PCOD can better regulate hormones, improve insulin sensitivity, and maintain a healthy weight. Through informed dietary choices and prioritizing nutrition, individuals with PCOD can take proactive steps towards managing their condition and improving their quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What types of physical activities are recommended for managing PCOD symptoms?

Ans. Recommended physical activities for managing PCOD symptoms include a variety of exercises such as walking, cycling, yoga, and aerobic exercises. These activities help in weight management, improve hormonal balance, and reduce symptoms associated with PCOD.

  1. Can dietary changes alone help alleviate PCOD symptoms?

Ans. While dietary changes can certainly help alleviate PCOD symptoms, incorporating exercise into your routine is also necessary for effective management. Regular physical activity improves your fitness, heart health, body mass index, and insulin levels, all of which are beneficial for individuals with PCOD.

  1. Can stress worsen PCOD symptoms?

Ans. Yes, stress can worsen PCOD symptoms. Stress can disrupt the hormonal balance and worsen the symptoms of irregular periods, weight gain, and acne. Additionally, it can also affect eating habits and lifestyle behaviour. Practice mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and yoga to alleviate stress in PCOD.


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