PCOS and PMS: Exercise Helps Both!

The Endocrine society guidelines on PCOS, or polycystic ovarian condition. We often focus on the aspects of PCOS that control menstrual cycles, unwanted hair and fertility. But we get as many questions regarding the controls of moods and PMS and the hormonal changes PCOS women have.

Up to 10% of US woman have PCOS and many who have not had appropriate testing are not even aware of their diagnosis, and with out a diagnosis, you may not be treating the whole scope of the disease correctly. You are are most likely to have PCOS if you have abnormal menstrual cycles, ovaries with small cysts and male hormone abnormalities.

In diagnosing and treating women with PCOS, the endocrine society also points out that there are long term skin consequences of PCOS. Patients with PCOS have abnormal hair growth, acne, alopecia or hair loss, acanthosis nigricans which is a skin pigment disorders, and skin tags during physical examination, according to the new guidelines. So when asking about the effects of exercise on your skin you have to remember that the effects also have to do with what sorts of hormone levels you have.

In addition to abnormal menstrual periods, and infertility, struggles with weight, diabetes and blood pressure problems all plague women with PCOS. Appropriate evaluation, and then appropriate exercise can help you have the best overall health as well as the best skin.

At Women’s Health Practice we advocate an ongoing assessment for our patients for the hormone concerns, as we have discussed in other blogs, from the teen years, through menopause the degree and consequences of PCOS change and can affect treatment decisions, and your long term health.

Guidelines recommend that birth control pills for many, diabetic therapies for those that test diabetic, and ovulation medication for those trying to get pregnant, but all the cases are best first managed with diet and exercise as part of therapy. So the correct answer to the question the title proposes is that exercise is critical for all those with PCOS.

Small amounts of weight loss significantly can reduce risk and promote control of PCOS, as well as have a favorable impact on fertility. And the better you control your weight, the better the outcome is for being able to control your weight in the future as control of PCOS makes weight loss easier!

So come in to the gyno to be evaluated, and cleared for gearing up to an advanced exercise program, and yes, attacking the core, with situps or other exercises is going to be part of it!


Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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