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Exercise and PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal condition affecting up to 18% of women. PCOS can manifest in a range of symptoms including irregular periods or complete loss of your period, infertility, excessive facial hair growth, scalp hair loss and acne. PCOS has also been reported to be associated with obesity, insulin resistance, type II diabetes, hypertension, endometrial carcinoma and cardiovascular disease. Approximately 50-60% of women with the syndrome are overweight compared to 30% of women in the general population. Self-esteem, anxiety, depression and other psychological illness additionally arise after a diagnosis of PCOS. 

Treatment of PCOS is complex, however it can be achieved through lifestyle modifications. It has been reported in the literature that weight loss improves a significant number of the factors associated with PCOS. Weight loss restores ovulation and pregnancy rates, decreases insulin levels, lowers testosterones levels while raising sex hormone binding globulin levels, and improves psychological considerations. All good news! 


What type of exercise should I do? Your physiotherapist can guide you with exercise selection and progressions but generally becoming more active will lead you to a healthier balanced lifestyle. 


Cardiovascular training

Benefits: Reduces insulin resistance, stabilises mood and boosts fertility. 

Moderate exercise like brisk walking, jogging, cycling or swimming are all different forms of cardiovascular exercise that can benefit your symptoms. This type of exercises increases your bodies sensitivity to insulin, which reduces the risk of type II diabetes and associated cardiovascular disease. The training guidelines for cardiovascular exercise is 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise. This additionally benefits the body by managing weight, symptoms of depression and anxiety and improving your menstruation cycle. 


Strength training 

Benefits: Reduces insulin resistance, increases metabolic rate, increases in muscle mass.

Strength training improves the function of insulin in your body and additionally boosts your metabolism but building more muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the greater ability your body has to burn calories at rest, achieving a healthy lifestyle and reducing your risk of developing chronic diseases. 


Abdominal and pelvic floor strength

Benefits: Improves general health and well-being, injury prevention and preparation for any future pregnancies and the prevention of pelvic floor problems which can occur later in life

Learning how to engage the abdominal and pelvic muscles is essential for health and well being as a women. Incontinence, poor pelvic stability, prolapse, pelvic and sexual pain and bladder issues are all preventable! All you need is your physiotherapist to teach you the proper techniques to ensure your correctly engaging them. Training your abdominal and pelvic floor strength will help support future pregnancies, correct any issues that may have already happened from previous pregnancies, and help support your body when you begin to go through menopause later in life. 


Other factors such as stress, sleep, medications and other medical conditions you may have in addition to PCOS can all affect your ability to lose weight. Therefore, a multi-modal treatment approach must be taken when looking at PCOS. 

The biggest goal and bottom line is: not one treatment fits all! Working with your physiotherapist will help you identify your own specific goals and how you can achieve this. To make an appointment with one of the expert physiotherapists here at Coast Sport, click the link below!

Book an appointment online!