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Exercise for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

What is Polycystic ovarian syndrome?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a complex and common hormonal condition that affects around 8-13% of females at reproductive age. People with PCOS have typically been diagnosed with at least 2 of the following:

  1. Polycystic ovaries shown on ultrasound

  2. Irregular period

  3. Hyperandrogenism

PCOS typically affects 2 types of hormones in the human body. Insulin and androgens (ie testosterone) - both of these affect important female processes.

Signs, symptoms and risks of PCOS

  • Irregular periods

  • Difficulty becoming pregnant and challenges during pregnancy

  • Acne and abnormal hair growth

  • Weight gain and difficulty losing weight

  • Increased incidence of depression and anxiety

  • Mood changes and poor body image

  • Increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and sleep apnea.

Management of PCOS with exercise

As mentioned above, the abnormalities in hormones such as insulin resistance can place affected females at greater risk of developing co-morbid metabolic conditions and health problems. Evidence has shown that managing PCOS through regular exercise and diet are highly effective at reducing symptoms of PCOS and improving health.

  • Improved insulin sensitivity

  • Improved hormone profile - improved period and ovulation markers.

  • Weight control and management

  • Improved mood, confidence and body image

  • Improved quality of life

How do I know what exercise to do?

Generally as exercise physiologists, we recommend everyone to aim for around 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week, OR 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity.

Additionally, 2-3 days of resistance or strength based training.

Find something that is enjoyable, different activities are enjoyable for different people and it is extremely important to find something that makes you feel good.

Although high intensity / vigorous intensity training has many benefits to insulin sensitivity, there are days we understand your symptoms and emotions may be exacerbated. A walk or even some gentle stretches / yoga or pilates is highly beneficial and can not only improve your physical health, but help those anxious, panicking and negative emotions in your mind.

If you seek any further guidance and or need some direction on how to step into a new healthy routine, speaking to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist or a Accredited Dietician is a good way to begin improving your lifestyle.

If you would like to book an appointment with our Accredited Exercise Physiologist to discuss how we can help keep you moving, give us a call on (08) 8562 1700.

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