Polycystic ovary syndrome, PCOS, is a condition that affects a significant number of women all over the world. About 7% of women all over the world have been diagnosed with PCOS. The condition is known to result in hormonal as well as physiological balances. Infertility has also been associated with PCOS. PCOS is a condition that involves the presence of cysts in the ovary. These cysts impair the normal functioning of the female reproductive system. Women with PCOS are thus known to have a hormonal imbalance, typically increase in androgens with an associated decrease in progesterone.
Symptoms of PCOS
Because of the imbalance of hormones as well as the reproductive system, certain symptoms are associated with PCOS. These symptoms include weight gain, infertility, irregular menstrual cycle, and pimples. Dandruff, irritability, baldness in a pattern like males and muscle and bone enlargement are also known symptoms of PCOS. Persons with PCOS are also known to be at a higher risk of uterine cancer, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, depression and anxiety disorder.
Causes of PCOS
Several factors have been implicated as regards PCOS. The most important of these factors is stress. Stress has been associated with PCOS because of the harmful effects of stress on the normal functioning of the body. Other contributing factors to the development of PCOS include anxiety, depression, perennial tension, strain, and negative lifestyle practices.
Diagnosis and management of PCOS
There is no definitive test for PCOS. Thus, the diagnosis of the condition involves a series of tests which include a pelvic exam. The doctor may also request an ultrasound as well as blood tests to make a definitive diagnosis of PCOS. The blood tests that may be requested include glucose tolerance tests.
After the diagnosis is made, management options are then advised. These management methods are aimed at different symptoms of PCOS. Doctors typically advise lifestyle changes which could include more physical activity and weight loss exercises. Since PCOS is associated with hormonal imbalance, medications for correcting hormonal imbalance could also be prescribed. Birth control pills may be recommended for the management of symptoms such as excessive hair growth.
Yoga as a measure for managing PCOS
Yoga is known for numerous benefits and has served medicinal purposes for centuries. The benefits of yoga are associated with its ability to connect the body, soul, and spirit and result in optimal health. Yoga helps to balance the elements needed for the optimal functioning of the body. It has thus been established as one of those lifestyle changes that could be adopted in managing PCOS. This section of the article is dedicated to highlighting persons with PCOS should get their yoga accessories and yoga equipment ready. We start off with some facts about yoga before proceeding to the reasons why yoga is effective for managing PCOS. Some of the yoga poses that is most adapted for managing PCOS will also be highlighted.
In women with PCOS, the energy systems for powering the associated imbalanced processes may be absent. Yoga helps to stir up these energy systems and correct the imbalances of the different systems. Yoga is also known are a measure that improves cardiovascular functions. Improved cardiovascular functions are typically associated with enhanced bodily processes and optimal functioning of organs.
Established benefits of yoga in managing PCOS
Yoga has been associated with several benefits. Research has established the importance of yoga in managing PCOS because of the benefits which include the following.
Reduced anxiety and stress
Anxiety and stress are major culprits in the development and progression of PCOS. Yoga is known to be a highly effective measure for relieving stress and anxiety. The stress and anxiety relieving features of yoga are related to the ability of the technique to influence the autonomic nervous system, especially the sympathetic nervous system.
Studies have also demonstrated the effectiveness of yoga in managing stress and improving symptoms of PCOS which majorly include stress and anxiety. The stress and anxiety relieving features of yoga alleviate symptoms of PCOS as well as improve quality of life.
Hormonal imbalance and irregular menstrual cycles are also largely associated with PCOS. Yoga has been established as effective for managing these symptoms too. Studies that have been carried out on girls with irregular menstrual cycle have shown that yoga is effective in correcting infrequent menstrual cycles.
The hormones that can be managed effectively by yoga include an anti-Mullerian hormone, luteinizing hormone, and testosterone.
Improved metabolic activities
Yoga has also been associated with improved metabolic functions, highlighting the effectiveness of the technique for managing PCOS. PCOS is associated with insulin, lipid and glucose resistance. According to studies on the subject, yoga is effective to form managing cholesterol levels as well. Thus, yoga balances the metabolic functions of the body. As a technique that manages insulin, lipid and glucose resistance, yoga is thus effective for reducing the risk factors of conditions that could be associated with PCOS such as weight gain and diabetes type 2.
The basic yoga accessories and equipment which one would need as they start their yoga journey towards managing PCOS include comfortable shoes and a yoga mat. Here are some of the yoga poses that have proven to be effective for managing PCOS.
This pose focuses on reducing stress and is known for its soothing and de-stressing effects. Nadisodhan Pranayama brings comfort and peace.
Meditation as a yoga technique is also known for its soothing and calming effects. Meditation also helps to elevate moods and is known to be effective form managing depression that may be associated with PCOS.
Bhramri Pranayama helps with tension, stress, and anxiety. This yoga pose also helps with the mood swings and irritability that may be associated with PCOS.
The butterfly poses
The butterfly poses otherwise known as Bhadrasana is known to promote relaxation, especially around the pelvic area. It is thus an effective pose for managing stress especially the stress associated with menstrual cycles.
Other yoga poses that are effective for managing PCOS include the cobra pose, the boat pose, and the sun salutation pose. To practice yoga and reap the benefits regarding PCOS, the use of proper yoga accessories is necessary, just as one would need proper Pilates accessories for Pilates.