The past year has been tough for everyone! This pandemic has effected all of us in one way or another. Some have lost loved ones, some have suffered side effects of catching covid and others have gone through anxiety, depressions, loss of income and so much more. It is a proven fact that stress can have terrible effects on PCOS. So what can you to control PCOS?
Women with PCOS are already at a higher risk of suffering from anxiety and depression then women without PCOS. But it also has effects on our hormones due to increased cortisol levels (stress hormone). Stress also increases inflammation, can result in uncontrolled blood sugar and have an effect on insulin resistance, as well as have an impact on our fertility, and a lot more. But can we do? Meditation is a simple and inexpensive solution that has been proven to improve PCOS and mental health in general.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation in simple words is exercise for your mind. It is about being able to sit still and focussing on relaxation, being present in your body and being self aware. Meditation is to the mind what physical exercise is to the body. The intention is to train your attention to achieve clarity and calm your emotions and mind.
10 Health Benefits Of Meditation to control PCOS
- Reduces cortisol levels
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released by the pituitary. Cortisol is responsible for inflammation, weight gain, increased insulin resistance, memory loss, insomnia and so much more.This study published in Hormones and Behaviour proved that meditation can reduces cortisol levels by up to 30%. Reducing cortisol will help control PCOS Symptoms.
- Improves sleep patterns. Women with PCOS are 60% more likely to suffer from some form of sleep disorder and insomnia. Studies show that meditation can help improve insomnia, as well as sleep quality. This is essential in controlling the root causes of PCOS. In the long term, these improvements may be comparable to effects seen from sleep medication .
- Reduces Anxiety
One of the most common complaints I see with PCOS is anxiety and depression. Research has in fact shown that insulin resistance as well as high levels of androgens (male hormones), which are characteristic in PCOS are linked with anxiety and depression. Mindfulness meditation improves anxiety by quieting the brain by getting the mind to focus on something else and quiet down the chatter.
- Improved insulin levels Whenever we eat carbohydrates or protein our body uses insulin to break it down and use it for energy. In women with PCOS insulin does not work effectively and our body is not able to use sugar in the blood stream for energy. Research shows that meditation actually helps the body regulate blood sugar by using insulin more efficiently. Transcendental Meditation can be a key part of your prevention plan.
- Boosts the Immune System
Our immune system is one of the most interesting systems in our body. For a long time we thought that when our body is attacked by a foreign pathogen like a virus or bacteria the response to protect us is purely physical. Now we know that there is a mind-body connection. A study showed that meditation not only improves mental health but also leads to better activity in our immune cells. The cells that fight off pathogens actually become more adapted to fight off disease. This is proven as we see that markers of inflammation such as the C-reactive protein decreased as levels of anxiety improved.
- Lowers blood pressure similarly to insulin levels transcendental meditation has been demonstrated to improve blood pressure significantly. The results with meditation are similar to that of blood pressure medication.
- Improved Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Women with PCOS tend to suffer from IBS. A study showed that practicing meditation consistently for 8 weeks reduced the severity in IBS by 26.4% .
- Improves pain Joint pain is another characteristic affecting the physical and mental health of women with PCOS. Meditation together with medical care has been shown to reduce chronic pain as well as inflammation.
- Improves Attention. Evidence suggests that practicing meditation over a long period of time can improve attention and memory. All of which is impaired due to hormonal dysfunction in women with PCOS.
Where do I even start with meditation?
This does not need to stress you out, you do not need to make huge changes that seem impossible. In fact, you can start with just 5 minutes a day. This is a simple and cheap way to control PCOS.
Start by downloading meditation APP
Here are a few I have tried myself
Go for a walk
A simple 10 minute stroll can become the best time to practice meditation. Focus on the intention of the walk and letting go of everything that happened before the walk and whilst walking focus on each breath you take!
Yoga, which by the way is one of the best restorative exercises you can do to stabilise your hormones will also teach breathing techniques, which help you to reduce anxiety and stress, and bring you into the state for meditation.
What If I Can’t Meditate?
I often do meditations in my sessions with my clients and many times they tell me that they There find it hard to meditate or be mindful. I myself used to be one of these people – I used to find it difficult to be still with myself and do nothing.
- Remember this process does take time. Practice makes perfect. Eventually, it will become easier. For now try and focus on calming your mind for just 5 minutes a day.
Meditation can have a huge impact on your PCOS symptoms, mental health and overall health. Start small and don’t make it complicated!