Menopausal woman talking to a female doctor about menopause and PCOS

Managing Menopause and PCOS

Women who suffer from PCOS frequently have worse menopause symptoms as a result. Often, women may not even realize that they have this condition. However, there are some lifestyle changes that can be effective in helping to ease the symptoms that are associated with PCOS, as well as providing a higher quality of living to women dealing with this condition.

This article will discuss what PCOS is, why it can cause worsened menopause symptoms, and how it can be effectively managed.

What is PCOS?

PCOS is short for polycystic ovary syndrome. It is a relatively common condition among young to middle-aged women.

PCOS basically involves a problem with hormone production and regulation, especially with regard to a woman’s ovaries. There are three main distinguishing features of PCOS:

  1. Ovarian cysts
  2. Excessive levels of male hormones (androgens)
  3. Irregular/skipped periods

While there is no single known cause of PCOS, doctors have linked a number of factors to this condition, including:

Menopausal woman talking to a female doctor about menopause and PCOS

How Does PCOS Affect Menopausal Women?

Women with PCOS tend to reach menopause up to 2 years later than women without this condition. Even during menopause, PCOS symptoms can flare up. These symptoms could include:

  • Acne and/or skin problems
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Mood changes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Pelvic discomfort or pain
  • Infertility
  • Weight gain
  • Unwanted hair growth

There is felt to be no cure for PCOS. However, there are several ways that women suffering from this syndrome can manage their symptoms and live happier, healthier lives. I have seen women who embrace my approach turn around all the symptoms and even signs of PCOS, reversing insulin resistance, weight gain, and infertility.

How to Manage PCOS

Simple lifestyle changes can make all the difference when it comes to alleviating symptoms of PCOS. The following tips can help you to cope with PCOS:

  • Improve your diet. Remove unhealthy carbohydrates from your diet, and replace them with complex carbohydrates, such as those found in foods made with beans, lentils, whole grains, or rice. Try to eat 9-10 portions of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, at least some of them raw.
  • Implement a weight management plan. Losing between 5 to 10% of your total body weight can help you manage and even reverse PCOS symptoms more effectively. A balanced weight loss plan can also assist you to improve insulin resistance. It is recommended that you strive for a sustainable approach to weight loss, such as targeting a loss of 1-2 pounds (0.91 kg) per week and ensuring that you maintain the new, healthy habits that have been formed. I recommend a low glycaemic approach to weight loss, such as that found in “Dr Allie’s Lose Weight and Feel Great” Programme.
  • Look for ways to improve your sleep pattern. Since PCOS can negatively impact your sleep, you may need to think of ways to restore your energy through some quality sleep. Strive to go to bed at the same time each night. Avoid coffee, tea, or other caffeinated drinks after about 12:00 pm. Try to avoid looking at electronic devices less than 1 hour before bedtime. It has even been shown that poor sleep problems can worsen insulin resistance – and hence, PCOS symptoms and signs.
  • Exercise regularly. A consistent exercise regimen will not only help you manage your weight, but can also help to improve your quality of sleep, as well as release endorphins to promote increased happiness and a sense of well-being. Make it a point to perform some physical activity each day, ranging from light to strenuous. However, be sure not to overexercise, which could be counterproductive. Specifically, bursts of high-intensity exercise, some weights, and several bouts of walking every day can help with insulin resistance and improve sleep.

PCOS can be a difficult condition with which to live. However, with some simple lifestyle changes and basic knowledge about how PCOS can affect your body, you’ll be in a position to successfully cope with PCOS and even avoid the worsened menopause symptoms that might otherwise come as a result of this syndrome.

If you would like to learn more about how to cope with menopause in all aspects of life, download our new guide: 7 Simple Steps to Sail Through Menopause. And if you’re ready to reclaim your body and live life to the full, or would like to find out more about our weight management programme, reach out to Dr. Allie today for more information, or to make a booking.

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