PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a hormonal disorder that affects women of childbearing age. The symptoms of PCOS can be both physically and emotionally draining, and conventional treatments only offer relief for some women.
However, there’s one unlikely powerhouse that might help ease your PCOS symptoms: probiotics.
Here’s what you need to know about this gut-friendly bacteria and how it could help you find relief from your PCOS symptoms.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
There are a variety of symptoms associated with PCOS, and they can vary from woman to woman. Some of the most common symptoms include:
Irregular or absent periods: This is often one of the first signs that something is wrong, as many women with PCOS have irregular or completely absent periods. This is caused by an imbalance of hormones, which can prevent ovulation from occurring.
Weight gain: Many women with PCOS find it difficult to lose weight, or may even gain weight. This is often due to insulin resistance, which is common in women with PCOS.
Excessive hair growth: One of the more visible symptoms of PCOS is excessive hair growth on the face, chest, and back. This is caused by an excess of testosterone in the body.
Acne: Hormonal imbalances can also cause breakouts and acne.
Infertility: One of the most frustrating symptoms of PCOS is infertility. Because PCOS can prevent ovulation from occurring, it can make it difficult to conceive.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor so that you can be properly diagnosed and treated. PCOS is a very treatable condition, but it is important to catch it early so that you can minimize the effects it has on your health.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms (aka “good bacteria”) that are similar to the good bacteria that occur naturally in the human gut. They can be taken in the form of supplements or found in certain foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut.
Probiotics are thought to have many health benefits, including boosting immunity, improving digestive health, and reducing inflammation.
How Might Probiotics Help Ease PCOS Symptoms?
There’s still more research to be done on the link between probiotics and PCOS specifically. However, some studies have shown that probiotics may help with some aspects of the condition.
For example, one study found that women with PCOS who took a probiotic supplement for 12 weeks had lower levels of testosterone than women who didn’t take probiotics. Other research has shown that probiotic supplementation can help reduce insulin resistance, one of the hallmark symptoms of PCOS.
Another study found that women with PCOS who took a probiotic supplement for 8 weeks had improved insulin sensitivity, improved levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for inflammation, and improvements within their weight, compared to those who did not take a probiotic supplement.
Other Treatments for PCOS
In addition to probiotics, there are many other treatments that can help to reduce the symptoms of PCOS. These include dietary changes, birth control pills, and diabetes medication. If you are struggling with PCOS, be sure to speak with your doctor about the best treatment options for you.
You can also get probiotics from certain foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut. Remember that probiotics are just one part of a healthy lifestyle; eating a nutritious diet and getting regular exercise are also important for managing PCOS symptoms.
While more research is needed in this area, preliminary studies suggest that probiotics may help to improve the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). These gut-friendly bacteria have been linked to improved hormone levels and reduced insulin resistance in women with PCOS. However, more research is needed to confirm these effects.
If you are considering taking probiotics for PCOS, be sure to speak with your doctor first.
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