Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects more than ¼ of people with periods and most people who have it haven’t been diagnosed(!). It’s tied to hormonal imbalances and its symptoms include irregular periods, ovarian cysts, higher levels of androgens (male hormones), baldness, excessive facial hair growth, fertility challenges, and more. Not ideal.
Here at Brazen, we’re all about helping people achieve healthy symptom-free cycles. So, naturally, we wanted to know if PCOS could be stopped, reversed, or at very least improved.
As with most of our HOW-CAN-WE-MAKE-THIS-BETTER questions, we turned to our founder, Kirsten. Here’s her advice:
Kirsten’s Advice for PCOS (in written form):
Can you reverse polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)? I wish I had a great magic answer for this, but the truth is that PCOS is really fucking complicated. We need more than a short video and blog post to cover all the things you need to do to reverse your PCOS, but to start, we’ll share 3 key things you can do to improve it.
3 Ways to Improve PCOS:
- Do Moderate Exercise Everyday
- You need to move your body every single day. Does this mean that you should do something intense like CrossFit or intense training every day? No. Actually, I think that’d be a terrible idea. Typically women with PCOS have inefficient digestion, meaning their bodies have issues with the process of breaking food down and turning it into energy. If you’re training really, really hard but aren’t digesting foods efficiently, your body will end trying to consume more energy than you can keep up with giving it.
- When that happens, you go into weight-gaining mode because your body is like “Oh shit, we are going to run out of gas pretty soon so we better start conserving.”
- Clinically, what I’ve seen over the last 20 years, is that women with PCOS do the best with very moderate exercise. We’re talking like 30 or 40 minutes of walking 5-7 days a week and some very moderate yoga.
- I’m kind of an introvert and don’t like to go to yoga classes. Here’s my hack: I do yoga at home while I watch TV. I put on my junkiest crap TV and do yoga while I watch it. On the one hand, it makes my guilty pleasure shows feel less guilty because I’m doing something good for my body while I watch them, and on the other hand I end up doing longer sessions. I tend to do yoga more slowly if I do it in front of the TV, but if you’re dealing with polycystic ovarian syndrome, slow yoga sessions are ideal.
- Manage your carbs.
- Here’s the big picture: your insulin levels impact how your body manages your hormone levels, which impacts your cycle regularity, liver function. Since PCOS is caused by hormonal imbalances, improving PCOS requires you to effectively manage your blood sugar, and cutting down on carbs is a big piece of that.
- You do not need to go keto, but you do need to become intimately aware with how many carbs are in pretty much everything that you eat.
- Typically if you can stay under 50 or 60 grams of carbs each day, that will make an enormous difference in how well you’re able to manage your insulin levels and how you feel.
- Get more sleep.
- I cannot stress how critical sleep is. A lot of people (especially in the entrepreneurial world) say, “I don’t care. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” That’s just not a healthy mindset. The research is so clear that you have to sleep – elite athletes need 10 hours of sleep to perform optimally!
- If you’re dealing with a chronic condition like PCOS or endometriosis or even just really bad periods or exhaustion, you need to be sleeping as much as humanly possible. Get to bed at the same time each night and make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to sleep at least 8 hours – if you can up that to 10, that’s even better.
- Throughout the day, if you’re tired, nap. As somebody who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when I was much younger, I was really tired in my twenties, and so I got really good at hacking napping. I napped on the couches at Nordstrom, in my car, and at parks. Nap anywhere you can comfortably and safely lie down and close your eyes – even if you can only make time for a 15 minute nap after lunch, any extra rest you can get will make a big difference.
- So, that’s it; moving your body, sleeping more, and reducing carbs. Those 3 things may sound super simple but they’re incredibly effective at improving PCOS. If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS or think you might have it, give it a try, see how you feel after a month, and let us know how it works for you.
- If you have any questions, if there’s any way that we can possibly help you, please contact us through the chat bot. You will get me or my co-founder, Rob. We’re both here to help.If you have any questions, if there’s any way that we can possibly help you, please contact us through the chat bot. You will get me or my co-founder, Rob. We’re both here to help.