Being diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) can be a very scary experience. It can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you will never live a happy life again.
The struggle in understanding your condition, learning how to manage it, and understand all the possible symptoms that accompany PCOS is difficult to understand. Managing PCOS while living a busy lifestyle can also become quite daunting.
One of the most popular approaches for managing symptoms then might be inflammation control through fasting or intermittent fasting to decrease insulin resistance and improve hormone balance.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a set of symptoms that affects women of all races and ethnicities who are of reproductive age. PCOS is caused by a sex-hormone imbalance, which includes an excess of male hormones and a lack of female hormones.
A woman who has this condition may not produce enough female hormones and can have a hard time getting pregnant. PCOS is often misdiagnosed as the symptoms of infertility or menstrual irregularities.
Symptoms of PCOS include:
Irregular periods or no periods:
Fertility issues due to few eggs being released each month often lead to miscarriage and difficulty becoming pregnant (infertility). Infertility is very common in women with PCOS and can be caused by a number of issues related to your overall health such as excess body fat, high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol levels, and insulin resistance.
Acne or oily skin and hair:
Weight gain (excess weight can complicate PCOS symptoms and make it more difficult to manage your condition) Hair loss on the head or face.
This can be thinning hair, patchy hair loss, or bald spots. Hair loss may be gradual or sudden. It is common to experience thinning of hair at the crown of your head after menopause. While some women with this condition have no issues with graying, thinning, or balding when they are younger.
Weight gain and excess body fat can cause you to feel self-conscious about how you look. No matter how much weight you lose, it will always be an issue that plagues your mind. It is difficult to diet and lose weight with this condition if you have insulin resistance, which is one of the key issues with PCOS symptoms.
What exactly is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is the practice of only eating for small periods of time during each 24-hour day. Many individuals start by limiting their food to a 12-hour period and fasting for the remaining 12 hours. Other individuals may fast for shorter or longer times and still find it effective.
The practice of intermittent fasting has been shown to decrease insulin resistance and improve insulin levels, which is a key factor in PCOS symptoms.
Intermittent fasting allows you to eat when you are hungry and not worry about overeating or overindulging.
It allows for greater flexibility in your eating schedule which can be very helpful for women who struggle with managing their weight, faces excessive body fat despite their best efforts, and have difficulty getting pregnant because of their diet.
You are able to eat when you are hungry without worrying about gaining weight on top of the weight you already carry around.
What are the advantages of intermittent fasting?
Eating boosts insulin synthesis, which, as previously stated, can be conducted excessively by the body in response to PCOS-related insulin resistance. By avoiding eating you decrease insulin naturally, which is an added benefit of intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting can help you to break free from cravings. If you tend to crave food often because of PCOS, intermittent fasting can break that cycle and allow you to feel more in control over your diet.
It allows increased energy by giving your body time off while ketosis works on breaking down stored fat instead of constantly producing glucose. This will also help your liver function better, which is essential when dealing with PCOS symptoms.
Other health benefits include:
1. It helps to manage and reduce weight and body fat:
It helps to lower the risk of insulin resistance, which is one of the key risks of developing PCOS. Insulin resistance is essential for improving your overall health, as well as increasing fertility. Insulin resistance can be managed by intermittent fasting and positively impacting your overall health.
It may help in reducing the risk of developing diabetes in women who already have PCOS. You can also reduce belly fat, as belly fat has been shown to have a link with insulin resistance in women with PCOS.
A reduction in abdominal fat through intermittent fasting may mean an improved prognosis for fertility long-term if you have PCOS symptoms.
2. It boosts the health of your skin:
You may even begin noticing fewer symptoms of PCOS such as headaches and fatigue in addition to an improvement in your general health.
A reduction in inflammation, stress and much more is just another benefit of intermittent fasting. As long as you are eating when you are hungry, and stopping when you are full, this can be a healthier approach to dieting than what you may have been used to in the past.
3. It helps to maintain optimal hormone balance:
Hormone balance is essential for overall health, especially when you have PCOS. Since this condition is characterized by high levels of testosterone in the body, hormone imbalance can be more dramatic in women who have PCOS.
Intermittent fasting allows your body time to detoxify and free up energy that can be used to balance cortisol levels and other hormones such as estradiol and progesterone, which are important for fertility.
4. It is sustainable:
You can go about your day without worrying about snacking or overeating because you were too busy to eat enough during the day. It allows you to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full, helping to prevent overeating. By fasting intermittently, your body will be in the best state to regulate its insulin levels throughout the day.
You will not have a rapidly changing and roller-coaster effect on your blood sugar levels, which means less frustration over regulating your blood glucose and more time for relaxation and the normal functioning of hormones.
5. It helps to balance out calorie intake:
Intermittent fasting can give you an opportunity to eat three meals with enough calories and protein that is balanced so that your body won’t be inclined towards storing excess fat. This is particularly helpful because your body may be prone to storing excess fat as a result of insulin resistance.
You’ll feel more satisfied with your meals because you are able to control portion size and eat when you are hungry instead of being stressed over trying to fit in an extra meal or snack during the day.
6. It helps eliminate toxins:
By allowing your body time off from the production of glucose, it gives the liver and kidneys an opportunity to detoxify.
This will also help to eliminate toxins, which may be one of the reasons why your hormones are out of balance in the first place. With fewer toxins in your body, you can greatly improve menstrual irregularity as well as balance other symptoms.
For your clarity: Check out these 5 Pros and Cons of Intermittent Fasting Methods – Article from HealthLine.
Intermittent fasting is a great way to manage your PCOS symptoms without adding any more stress or confusion to your life. It has been shown to improve fertility, insulin resistance, and other symptoms which can lead to a better quality of life.
It may not be a viable option for everyone, but it can be very beneficial in helping you eventually manage the challenges that come with PCOS. If you are experiencing PCOS symptoms, you can contact a nutrition specialist in your region or discover one that offers online services.