What is PCOS?
PCOS stands for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, a polygenic disorder resulting from the interaction of predisposing and protective genetic variants influenced by environmental factors like physical inactivity.
Sounds too technical? Simply put, PCOS is a lifestyle disease exacerbated by your food and lifestyle choices.
How do you know if you have PCOS? According to Rotterdam criteria, you have PCOS if you meet 2 out of 3 conditions.
Oligo or Anovulation – A condition that causes irregular periods i.e., less than 8 periods in a year
Elevated Circulating Androgen Concentrations – A condition that causes Hirsutism, Acne, and Alopecia
Polycystic ovaries – Cysts on one or both ovaries as revealed through an ultrasound
One of the symptoms of PCOS is irregular periods
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
Irregular menstrual periods
Excess growth of hair on the face, chest, stomach, or thighs
Acne or oily skin
Patches of thickened skin
PCOS can also put you at risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and heart disease. PCOS can increase insulin resistance and that in turn can exacerbate your PCOS symptoms. Double whammy, right?
What is insulin resistance and why is it such a bad thing?
For that, you need to understand how insulin works and why is it so important. When you consume food, the blood sugar levels in your body increase. The pancreas secretes insulin as a response to this which is then released into your bloodstream. This reaches your cells(mostly muscle, liver, and fat cells) where it then binds with certain receptors to send a signal to the cell to allow more glucose to enter. This way the glucose from your food enters the cells and your blood sugar level come back to normal. Once that happens, the pancreas stops releasing insulin into the bloodstream. This response of your pancreas to a rise in blood sugar levels is called insulin sensitivity.
Insulin Resistance is when your cells don’t respond to the insulin in the bloodstream and do not allow glucose to enter which means the blood sugar levels stay high. Pancreas then releases more and more insulin to help bring down the blood sugar. Over time your body stops responding to insulin which can then lead to diabetes.
I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 17 as I entered my first year of college. I was immediately put on Oral Contraceptive Pills(OCPs) to regulate my period which made my breasts tender and painful before periods and made me feel bloated most of the time. Also as a college student, I did not have the discipline to take a pill every day without fail. I stopped them after 2 months and my periods became irregular again.
I wasn’t overweight but had a lot of abdominal fat throughout college. At the age of 21, I started running which brought my periods back to normal for a few months but my nutrition and running were not consistent to help me fight the symptoms of PCOS. My acne was at its worst and I had a lot of marks on my skin.
I never included strength training until the age of 25 when I became serious about Yoga which started to regulate my periods. With the help of a dermatologist, my acne cleared up. But within 6 months, I realized I had bald patches on my head and the doctor diagnosed me with Female pattern baldness which was heartbreaking. I remember crying for 2 hours straight because I could not see myself losing hair at the age of 26. After another year of expensive treatment and my hair fall started reducing and I could see my hair density increase.
As COVID lockdowns hit, I realized all these were temporary solutions as my acne and hair fall came back in full swing because of a lack of exercise and nutritious well-balanced food. My periods were 105 days late and were extremely painful. I had gained 10kgs within 6-8 months and had depressive episodes quite often.
I finally reversed my PCOS.
In March 2022, I weighed 65kgs, had 34% body fat, and my face was filled with acne and acne marks. I decided to lose weight by getting back to running and practicing yoga every single day. This is when I started my journey of training as a Nutrition Coach and Yoga Trainer which gave me the push to lose 12kgs of weight in 15 months and 10% fat loss. My acne went away without any treatment. But the most important thing for me was that my periods became regular again. I now have a 34-day cycle from January 2022 which hadn’t happened for over a decade.
Yoga has played a huge role in helping me reverse PCOS
What worked for me?
A combination of well-balanced meals filled with protein and vegetables and a consistent workout routine with a good mix of walking, running, and yoga.
I have helped more than a dozen women like me get their regular period cycle back after battling PCOS for years. Want to know how?
You can book an exploratory call with me HERE.