Although there is not a cure for this syndrome, there are good options for managing the symptoms and preventing long term complications. Because insulin is involved in many of the derangements associated with PCOS, keeping insulin levels stable can provide relief from symptoms such as cravings and weight gain, can improve fertility, and protect the pancreas, delaying or preventing the onset of diabetes.
Treatment involves nutrition and lifestyle strategies, and medication, if warranted.
It is important to eat in a balanced and consistent way that prevents extreme highs and lows of blood glucose. Eating patterns that keep energy levels and blood sugar stable can help protect the pancreas from working too hard, and keep insulin resistance to a minimum.
The importance of regular activity cannot be overstated. Consistent exercise improves insulin sensitivity, helps with weight management, raises energy levels, and improves mood.
Exercise and nutrition are key to treatment, however, medications may also be needed to control symptoms. Examples of helpful medications include insulin sensitizers such as Metformin, oral contraceptives to regulate hormones, blood pressure medications, and lipid lowering medications. Although lifestyle changes may not always preclude the need for these medications, a healthy diet and exercise can keep the amounts of needed medications to a minimum.
Managing PCOS can be challenging, but developing a plan to improve eating patterns and increase activity levels can go a long way in addressing symptoms and improving long term health.
Jennie Wade, MS, MEd, RD, LD