In this post, we take a closer look at the effects of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and how a well regulated Yoga for PCOS program can help manage PCOS and its symptoms more effectively.
Understanding PCOS: A brief history
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, commonly known as PCOS, was first identified through research conducted in 1935 – and yet, almost a century on, a certain amount of mystery still surrounds it. For many years, the medical community made no significant attempts to gain a deeper understanding of the condition, or even how to properly diagnose it.
Fast forward to 2020, and it’s become a fairly common affliction for women of reproductive age, with a variety of factors, including genetics, believed to contribute to the development of the condition. There is also a long list of symptoms associated with PCOS, such as irregular menstrual cycles, hirsutism (excess body hair), acne, infertility, and pelvic pain. And this is without even factoring in the psychological impact that these symptoms can have.
As a result, it can be hard to accurately determine what percentage of the female population is affected by PCOS, with the global number ranging from 2% to 26%, depending on what criteria are used to define the condition. However, even amidst all this relative uncertainty, we do at least know that hormonal imbalance is one of the primary driving causes of PCOS symptoms.
What causes PCOS
Androgens, a hormone responsible for the development of male traits, are generally produced in small amounts in women. The elevation of these androgen levels leads to the disruption of the menstrual cycle, as well as the other symptoms we discussed earlier. Though it is still unclear what causes this spike in androgen levels in the first place, with environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors all potentially playing a role.
Some scientists believe that higher levels of insulin resistance can also be a contributing factor to the production of androgens – putting women who are overweight, or have a family history of type-2 diabetes, at risk of developing the symptoms of PCOS.
Yoga for PCOS: Managing the Symptoms
There is still no absolute cure for PCOS, and we’re still in the process of finding out exactly how it’s caused, there are certainly ways the condition can be managed. A routine which incorporates the right physical activity can go a long way towards helping to manage PCOS, by alleviating the biological and physiological symptoms of the condition. Specific research has shown that a well-curated Yoga for PCOS program in particular, can be an effective form of intervention.
Improving blood circulation
Women with the condition often face problems with menstrual health. Specific postures in a yoga for PCOS routine, that focus on the lower half of the body, can help to open up the pelvic area, enabling better blood circulation in the abdominal region, leading to better regulation of menstrual cycles, while also balancing the androgen levels in the body.
Better hormone regulation
Research has shown that yoga for PCOS can also contribute to improving the resistance values of glucose, lipids, and insulin in adolescent girls. Restoring hormonal balance in the body is key to helping manage PCOS, so these exercises form an important part of any Yoga for PCOS routine.
Enhancing mental wellness
Combining these yoga postures with guided meditations can help provide relief from the psychological impact of the condition. Guided meditation techniques such as visualization have proven to be effective tools to help deal with stress and anxiety – fairly common occurrences in women with PCOS.
Ultimately, the medical community, much like the rest of us, still has much to learn about this condition. But as it continues to work towards finding a more definitive solution, yoga combined with meditation, can provide an effective and non-invasive treatment to control its symptoms, help women manage PCOS better, and live happy, healthy, and anxiety-free lives