PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects 1 in 10 women and up to 70% of women are undiagnosed. As well as being the most common endocrine disorder which can affect women from puberty into post-menopause it is also the most common cause of female fertility issues.
PCOS can present with a variety of symptoms including: hormonal changes or imbalances; fertility issues; difficulties managing weight; fatigue; digestive disturbances; insulin resistance; Type 2 diabetes; metabolic syndrome; skin issues; hirsutism; psychological issues and disturbed menstrual cycle.
It is a genetic condition which can take anything from 1 to 17 years to be diagnosed. However, given the range and lack of specificity of possible symptoms and the fact that each individual may present with a different range and degree of symptoms, it's not surprising that it can be difficult to diagnose. A diagnosis should include an ultrasound scan, hormone tests and a discussion about individual symptoms.
In PCOS the ovaries do not function properly and that leads to increased levels of testosterone. It can cause an irregular cycle creating fertility issues. Along with the increased testosterone comes an increase in insulin resistance which in turn leads to weight gain and increased production of oestrogen which only worsens the symptoms.
Managing insulin levels is key to managing weight and managing weight is key to managing PCOS symptoms - something which is particularly difficult because the insulin resistance and fluctuating hormone levels create food cravings - especially for carbs and sweet things. However, the good news is that even a 5% reduction in weight can: decrease insulin levels; reduce testosterone levels; reduce hirsutism; reduce acne; improve the menstrual cycle and trigger ovulation.
A specialist nutritionist can help or consider following insulin focused diets such as Low-GI diets, the Blood Sugar Diet - Dr Michael Mosley; 5:2 fasting - Dr Michael Mosley. Any eating regime which helps to stabilize glucose and insulin levels will help and make it easier to lose weight.
Not everyone with PCOS has weight management issues, but following a healthy diet which stabilizes insulin levels is still important.
Reproductive Reflexology can provide a targeted approach to supporting hormone balance alongside a healthy lifestyle (diet and exercise) for sufferers of PCOS, particularly for those who wish to conceive. The low progesterone levels that can be associated with PCOS may mean that maintaining a pregnancy can be difficult and Reproductive Reflexology has different protocols to support hormone levels at different points in the cycle.
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A chronic neck and shoulder problem has forced me to slow down and fundamentally re-think my lifestyle. And my first thought was, "Why had it taken a physical condition to force me to slow down and start paying attention to myself?". And then I remembered, I haven't been doing my Reflexology swops as regularly as I used to.
It's often the case that the body sends little signals of discomfort and distress and we're so busy that we just ignore it, maybe put it to one side thinking we'll deal with it later. But life happens! I don't know about you, but my experience of life is that it rarely gets calmer or quieter for long - maybe a pause for the odd holiday and then it's back to the rush that is life. It's so easy to find new things to be busy with - whether it's work pressures or home or family, there always seems to be something that squeezes out the time that we have available for ourselves.
And when we get into that cycle of always having something to do, our bodies might start to speak a little louder with stronger signals of discomfort and distress. Until it brings us to crisis point - just because we've ignored the softer signals.
Since my "crisis" (thankfully uncomfortable but fixable) I've had to recognise how little time I spend just being ME. Time when I do nothing and allow my mind to listen and more importantly hear what my body is saying. I used to be quite good at that, but it has slipped over the past few years. Just because I don't get very stressed about things, I've assumed that I'm relaxed and tuned into myself, but patently that isn't true.
It's time to relax. And as I've spend more time dedicated to relaxation I've begun to notice the more nuanced signals from my body about hungry, thirsty for water (rather than the copious amounts of tea that I normally consume), getting tired and the feelings that normally get pushed down and ignored (nervous, fearful, disappointed, etc). And I've also noticed that I opt for self-care more than I used to - a cancellation now becomes an opportunity for a foot treatment or a walk.
Relaxation allows us to tune into ourselves: it allows our mind and body to communicate effectively and develop an equal relationship, instead of the mind being do dominant and ignoring what the body's saying. It allows us to notice when and what self-care is required and also to build resiliance so that we can set and maintain our boundaries - the ability to say "no" or "not now" can really help to save energy, reduce stress and help us to feel good about ourselves.
So now, as well as taking time out to relax - and by that I mean taking time out to sit and be still - I'm getting more Reflexology swaps booked in, because Reflexology helps me to relax and tune into my body and the improved sleep and energy boost are always welcome too!
If you'd like help to relax and want someone else to do the work, try a Reflexology and Indian Head Massage treatment, You can book online here: BOOK A TREATMENT .
I'm aghast at how quickly the year has been going past and how little I seem to have achieved of my goals so far - goals which, I'm prepared to admit, may be a tad unrealistic (for tad, read completely). But I've been inspired by a couple of things I've read lately, so I'm intending to make some changes.
There are a few reasons why my goals seem to carry forward from year to year, maybe you can relate to some of my behaviours:
So, I've been thinking about it a lot recently. I've had a huge spring clean this year, trying to make life simpler and create more me time and I've been successful. I've had many more days out (although the clear out still has a long way to go). And I've decided that my approach to goal setting is going to change:
As February approaches are you beginning to feel that the New Year, New You is rapidly sliding back to the old year, old you? Are those best intentions and resolutions for the New Year beginning to fade into the past. Are you feeling frustrated and a bit disappointed in yourself at how easily you are sidetracked from those dearly held improvements that you'd like to change? I certainly am.
And I've worked out some tips to help. Although I've put it at the bottom of the list, one of my most important tips is to be good to myself which is why, this year, I've put self care at the top of my list. I'm rewarding myself with Reflexology and Indian Head Massage treatments because when you're expending a lot of energy in pursuing goals, it's important to get some back. So, here are some tips to help you get back on track:
To book an appointment email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Doris on 07724 197627.