Women with PCOS are also three times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than those without.
PCOS can affect your body in the following manner:
- Excess testosterone: We all produce some testosterone, but too much can prevent ovulation and change your menstrual cycle.
- Insulin resistance: Your body must produce much more insulin than normal to keep blood sugar levels stable. Excess insulin floating around also increases testosterone produce and can lead to reduced fertility, irregular or absent periods, excess hair on your body and face (hirsutism), less hair on your head (alopecia), changes in your skin such as acne.
Studies have found links between PCOS and other health problems like:
- Diabetes: More than half of women with PCOS will have diabetes or pre-diabetes (glucose intolerance) before the age of 40.
- High blood pressure: Women with PCOS are at greater risk of having high blood pressure compared with women of the same age without PCOS. High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.
- Unhealthy cholesterol: Women with PCOS often have higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. High cholesterol raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Sleep apnea: Occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep.Many women with PCOS have overweight or obesity, which can cause sleep apnea. Sleep apnea raises your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Depression and anxiety: Depression and anxiety are common among women with PCOS. Study by researchers at Cardiff University found women with PCOS are most likely to suffer from Mental health problems.
- Endometrial cancer: Problems with ovulation, obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes (all common in women with PCOS) increase the risk of developing cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus or womb).
- Heart attack: Risk of heart attack is four to seven times higher in women with PCOS.
- Women should choose good quality carbohydrates with a low glycemic index and limit saturated fat. Eat foods and meals that have plenty of fiber, which raise your blood sugar level slowly.
- Calcium and vitamin D supplementation decrease inflammation and biomarkers of oxidative stress among vitamin D deficient women with PCOS.
- Anti-inflammatory foods such as berries, fatty fish, leafy greens, and extra virgin olive oil, may reduce inflammation-related symptoms.
- Moderate exercises like brisk walking , jogging, cycling or swimming can help with PCOS as it decreases insulin resistance. And if you’re about to start IVF, regular light exercise can boost your reproductive success.
- Low intensity exercises like Yoga, Pilates too helps to increase metabolic rate thus helping weight management and improving body composition.
- Women with PCOS can benefit from Mindfulness practice as they tend to experience anxiety, depression and sleep disturbances.
- Stress reduction techniques.
Last but not the least..
PCOS is not one size fits all. The key is living a healthier lifestyle with a better diet, regular exercise and stress management.