Period abnormalities and infertility are not the only thing to be concerned about if you have PCOS
. Complications such as heart disease
, endometrial cancer
are common as well. However, there are many things you can do to minimize the risk of PCOS complications. Here is a full action plan on how to stay healthy with PCOS.
Time Required: Ongoing
- Honestly evaluate your lifestyle. Keep a food diary and exercise journal for a full week. Check your BMI. It can be helpful to bring this information to your doctor for his suggestions as well.
- See your doctor for regular checkups. Have your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels checked routinely.
- If your blood tests show insulin resistance, make sure to address with lifestyle changes and medication if necessary. Frequent monitoring of your blood sugar may be required.
- Make the necessary lifestyle changes. It can be helpful to make these one at a time. For example, try introducing exercise a few times a week until it becomes routine. Then, work on your diet. Eliminate high-calorie or full fat foods and aim for high fiber, nutritionally dense foods instead.
- Regulating your period is essential,as well. The birth control pill, or other medications are often helpful. Sometimes a medication called metformin can help, especially if you also have insulin resistance.
- Emotional support is key to helping you stay on track. Enlist the help of family members, friends or even women in online forums or support groups.
- Get help when necessary. Personal trainers, nutritionists, or bariatric physicians (those specially trained for weight loss) can be immensely helpful especially as you are just getting started. Psychological support or therapy can be useful, especially if you are having a difficult time.
- If your physician is not amenable to routine screening or you are uncomfortable with his/her recommendations, don't hesitate to get a second opinion from a specialist in PCOS or endocrinology.
- Basic screening may be appropriate in certain situations. You can easily purchase a blood pressure monitor or blood glucose monitor from the pharmacy. Your doctor will advise you on the best way to check yourself.
- If you are screening yourself at home and begin getting abnormal readings, or are experiencing new symptoms, don’t hesitate to call your doctor for a follow up appointment.
- Research PCOS. Know the questions you should ask your doctor, and what treatments are out there. Understand your risk and what can be done to reduce those risks.
What You Need
- A doctor who treats women with PCOS and who you're comfortable talking with
- A food diary
- Exercise journal and other equipment to help you exercise
- A plan to help you get started
- If self-monitoring, a home blood pressure cuff
- A glucose monitoring kit
- A calendar to track your menstrual cycle