If you suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) you are likely aware of the side effects that come with the condition such as insulin resistance, weight gain, and difficulty losing weight. Many people who suffer from PCOS find themselves battling an undiagnosed food addiction as well.
PCOS can affect your daily life in ways you could never have imagined. Many people go years without being formally diagnosed with the disorder. Most people consider PCOS to be a reproductive health disorder while in reality, it is an overall health issue that affects a patient’s reproductive health. One of the most common indicators of PCOS is having cysts located on the ovaries that cause fertility issues.
While there are a number of medications that may be prescribed to help with the symptoms of PCOS, using a holistic approach to treat the food addictions that come with PCOS is more likely to have a positive long-term effect on your health.
Why Are Sugar Cravings Common in PCOS?
PCOS causes a condition called insulin resistance disorder. This disorder makes it difficult for your body to process foods high in sugar or carbohydrates. While your body creates and stores insulin, it becomes confused when using it to break down the foods you consume. This can lead to severe fluctuations in your blood sugar levels throughout the day.
When your body detects a low glucose level, it will send a signal to your brain that triggers sugar cravings to help increase your blood glucose levels. PCOS and sugar cravings seem to go hand in hand and should be treated holistically to help you overcome them fully.
How to Manage Weight Gain With PCOS
Many people who suffer from PCOS also struggle with losing weight and keeping it off. Many people think that the weight is what causes PCOS, while most doctors agree that PCOS causes the weight gain. Regardless of which comes first, it is important to understand that PCOS and weight gain each have a common cause. In addition to the sugar cravings caused by the fluctuating blood glucose levels, eating disorders are a common side effect of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Many eating disorders are a result of attempting to lose weight and keep the weight off. PCOS makes both tasks difficult because of the insulin resistance caused by the disorder. When your body does not properly create, store and use insulin, it is unable to effectively turn the foods you eat into energy that is necessary to sustain life. It is important to learn healthy ways to maintain or lose weight.
Are Binge Eating Disorders More Common in PCOS Patients?
A binge eating disorder is classified by going periods of time without eating or eating very little followed by periods of excessive food consumption. Patients with PCOS are more likely to fall victim to a binge eating disorder due to the desire to lose weight and keep it off. They may cut certain foods out of their diet or limit the amount of food they eat throughout a day. While in the short term this may work, in the long term that deprivation can lead to a cycle of binge eating.
Creating a PCOS Diet Plan That Works
If you are suffering from weight gain caused by PCOS, you have probably tried every diet you can think of. Dieting with PCOS is different than traditional dieting because you have to work around the insulin resistance and not fall victim to binge eating caused by food deprivation.
It is important to consult a professional dietician that has experience with creating a PCOS diet plan and the potential risks associated with the condition. In most cases, smaller, more frequent meals will help control cravings throughout the day by maintaining a steady blood glucose level. It is important when dealing with PCOS to never attempt to completely remove certain foods from your diet overnight. If you are trying to cut out carbohydrates, you should do this slowly and gradually to avoid causing a shock in your system that can lead to binge eating later.
Why is Treating PCOS Holistically Important?
While there are many medications that may help control the symptoms of PCOS, it is important to treat the whole patient – not just the symptoms that are present. Many doctors have found that holistic health is more beneficial than just treating the symptoms of a disorder. With PCOS, a holistic approach has been shown to have more overall health benefits for the patient. PCOS is caused by a hormonal imbalance that can change the way you think, feel, and even the way you eat.
Holistic health focuses on treating your mind, body, and spirit all at once, rather than the individual symptoms you are experiencing. By using holistic treatment for PCOS such as healthy meal plans that include a variety of necessary foods to avoid food cravings, meditation and relaxation exercises, and even counseling to focus on your mental health, doctors are able to help patients overcome PCOS without falling into a cycle of depression, anxiety, or even food addiction.
When struggling with the weight gain and food cravings caused by PCOS, finding the right treatment approach for you is the most important step you can take. While diet and exercise are important to your overall health, focusing on your overall health will lead to a more stable foundation for your treatment plan.
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