Health Tips For Lean Women With PCOS
A PCOS diagnosis is commonly associated with being overweight, however, that is not always the case. Studies show between 20–50% of women with PCOS are normal weight or thin, and the pathophysiology of the disorder in these women may differ from that in obese women.
It has been suggested that PCOS develops in nonobese women because of a hypothalamic-pituitary defect that results in increased release of LH, and that insulin plays no role in the disorder
Although research suggests lean women who have PCOS can also suffer from insulin resistance, elevated androgens findings demonstrate that women with PCOS who are normal weight or thin respond to a reduction in insulin release. This is consistent with the observation that although these women are not obese, they nonetheless tend to have an increased waist to hip ratio and are insulin resistant and hyperinsulinemic compared to their normal counterparts.
It is often assumed that in order to treat PCOS you have to lose weight, however, that is not the case either. While losing weight can help it is not getting to the root cause of the disorder, and that is a hormone imbalance.
Therefore, if you are overweight losing weight will not reverse your PCOS, and it will certainly not help if you begin following low-calorie diets or restrictive ones, these factors do not help the balance of your hormones either.
What Can You Do If Your Are Lean And Have PCOS?
So, if you are lean and have PCOS, you do not want to lose anymore weight, this is what you need to do to balance your hormones.
Take a look at your diet and lifestyle.
Calories. Firstly, you have to make sure you are eating enough food/calories. Stop dieting and restricting. Restrictive diets are the worst for our hormones. Our bodies are clever they know when there is a severe resriction of energy. Once the body detects this energy restriction reproductive hormonesare affected, your menstrual cycle, sex drive, but also your bones and heart.
Our body undertakes these responses in order to save energy. When your body is in a starving state it shuts down reproduction as there are not enough calories for one person let alone two. Your body is more focused on saving energy for survival.
Fats. When I talk about fats, I mean the 'healthy fats', monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. One of the six key roles of fats in the body is to help manufacture and balance hormones. High-fat diets increase the number of estrogens in the blood, and when women adopt low-fat diets, their estrogen levels drop.
Furthermore, studies show a low-fat diet can cause problems with fertility and ovulation.
Do not be afraid to eat fat. The fat you eat is not that fat that you wear.
Sugar. Sugar is known to increase blood sugar levels and in turn, lead to spikes in insulin. Insulin is released by the pancreas when we eat, however, carbs specifically sugar stimulates more of a release. If you suffer from insulin resistance (insulin resistance is when the cells in the body have trouble absorbing glucose in the blood and in turn there is a buildup of sugar in the blood), your ovaries begin to produce a lot of androgens.
Even if you are not insulin resistance it is often better to reduce your sugar intake.
Avoid extreme low carbohydrates diets. Our hormones need carbohydrates.
Reducing your carb intake too low or eliminating carbohydrates from your diet is not good for your thyroid. It is vital for women especially that we eat carbohydrates for our fertility/menstrual health.
Your hypothalamus loves carbs/glucose; it is one of the key regulators of your hormones and it signals to your brain and ovaries that you are being fed. The hypothalamus produces the Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone; a low Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone is the cause of irregular menstrual cycles.
Many women with PCOS are also insulin resistant. A popular path to go on in order to manage insulin resistance is to eliminate carbohydrates entirely. While you may think you are treating it, you have not healed it by getting to the root cause.
You do not have to eliminate carbs, simply opt for better carb options, complex carbs such as quinoa and buckwheat. These types of carbs have a low Glycemic Index and in turn, will not increase your blood sugar levels or your insulin.
Caffeine. Caffeine is not the best for your adrenals. Drinking coffee stimulates the release of both cortisol and adrenaline. Your body switches to the 'fight or flight' mode. The burst of adrenaline is great for performance. However, the problem is that over the use of caffeine can cause you to burn out, which results in adrenal fatigue. Every time you drink caffeine you force your adrenal glands to secrete even when they do not really have much-left give. Eventually, your body crashes and over time, you begin to feel even more tired and fatigued.
When it comes to reversing you PCOS, it is all about making healthy eating choices to ensure good nutrition. It is important to be mindful of what you are eating. Think about how particular food affects your body.
Exercise regularly. We need to stop assuming exercise is just when we want to lose weight. Exercise is so much more than that. It is about getting your body to move and for you to step away from the stressors of daily life.
While exercise is important for weight loss, it can also help with other PCOS symptoms such as stress, anxiety, fertility and insulin resistance. Exercise does not have to involve an intense gym session, it can be yoga, walking, swimming, dancing. Overexercising can have a negative effect on your hormones.
Research indicates that resistance training is a great form of exercise for women with PCOS.
However, like I said, it does not have to be intense or every day. If you can exercise 3-4 times a week that is just fine.
You only have 30 minutes? That is perfect! Any time that you do have to allocate to exercise is all that matters.
Stress Management. I know this is easier said that done but stress wrecks havoc on your hormones. Stress causes inflammation in the body and is turn a cause of PCOS and hormone imbalances. Managing your stress is so crucial for reversing PCOS. High cortisol affects any progress you make with regards to balancing your hormones. Chronically high levels of cortisol cause problems with regards to sex hormones and endocrine glands such as thyroid hormones work in the body.
Find ways to manage your stress, for example, read a book, listen to a podcast, go for a walk, watch tv, listen to music, draw, call a friend. What ever help you to de stress and relax do that.
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