PCOS: All You Need to Know About Symptoms and Causes


PCOD/PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Disorder/Syndrome is a hormonal disorder where ovaries produce abnormally high amounts of male sex hormones called androgens which are usually present in small amounts in ladies.

Symptoms of PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by the presence of multiple small cysts in the ovaries, as well as various hormonal imbalances.

The symptoms of PCOS can vary from person to person, but common signs and symptoms include:

  1. Irregular or absent menstrual periods
  2. Excessive hair growth is also known as hirsutism. Women with PCOS may experience increased hair growth resembling male-pattern hair growth.
  3. PCOS-related hormonal imbalances can lead to the development of acne.
  4. Weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
  5. Thinning hair or hair loss.
  6. Dark patches on skin, known as acanthosis nigricans, may appear in certain body parts like the neck.
  7. PCOS is also associated with mood swings.

Causes of PCOS

The potential causes of PCOS are:

  1. There are many lifestyle factors that increase the risk of PCOS. Poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, no physical activity, high stress levels and no proper sleep.
  2. Women with a family history are more likely to develop PCOS.
  3. Insulin resistance is associated with PCOS. Body becomes less responsive to insulin which doesn’t get utilised and hence start accumulating. 
  4. One of the major causes is the elevated levels of androgens which disrupts the functioning of ovaries.

Difference between PCOD and PCOS

PCOD is also known as Polycystic Ovary Disorder PCOS is also known as PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome
PCOD is the primary stage of the disorder PCOD if ignored will change into PCOS
PCOD is reversible with making changes to your dietary habits and including physical activity PCOS is a serious condition.
Ladies with PCOD dont have fertility issues. With a little medical help they can concieve. Ladies who have PCOS struggle with infertility.

Is it possible to lose weight with PCOS

Yes, it’s possible to lose weight if you are suffering from PCOS. It’s challenging but not impossible. One needs to calculate his daily calories and protein intake. You must also be aware of your ideal body weight. BMI range from 18.5 – 24.9 is considered ideal and healthy for females. Above 30, it’s considered obese.

2 Healthy Recipes for PCOS

Now, let me tell you few easy to make PCOS recipes to cure your PCOS.

  1. PCOS Smoothie – Smoothie is a quick and easy way to incorporate nutrients in your diet.
  2. PCOS Morning Tea – I am going to share a morning tea recipe in which you can consume empty tea and this can be done on a regular basis. However, if the tea doesn’t suit you for any reason, it’s best to discontinue it.

Note from Fitness with Nidhi

  1. Follow a balanced, nutritious meal plan which focuses on whole grains, protein, high fibre food and healthy fats.
  2. You will have to pay attention to your portion control to avoid overeating.
  3. Choose foods that are low in glycemic index to manage your sugar spike.
  4. Regular physical activity is a must. Any form of regular exercise can do wonders for you weather that’s doing cardio, strength, yoga, walking, jogging and cycling.
  5. Try to manage your stress. We understand in a fast world like ours and where families are mostly nuclear, there are many things that become really difficult to handle alone. Job hours, household chores, kids, all these things do take a toll on our health but we have to practice on how to de-stress ourselves.


What to eat when you are suffering from PCOS so that you can lose weight and maintain it by following a healthy lifestyle.

  1. More salads, fresh fruits and veggies – Add more fibre to your diet. Excess insulin can be managed by including high fibre food in your diet. Fibre helps in slowing the release of glucose in the bloodstream.
  2. Include healthy fats – Foods rich in omega- 3 (olive oil, avocado, nuts, fatty fish) are beneficial for people with PCOS as it helps in fighting inflammation.
  3. Include enough protein – Strong cravings for carbohydrates and sweets can be because of low protein in your diet. Without sufficient protein and with a high carbohydrate diet, the symptoms worsen. Opt for lean protein like chicken breast, egg whites, tofu. Protein keeps you full.
  4. Stay hydrated – Drinking enough water throughout the day and keeping yourself hydrated is must and to avoid sugary beverages.
  5. Moderate caffeine and alcohol – you need to limit your daily consumption of caffeine that may disrupt your sleep instead opt for herbal teas like cinnamon lemon tea, fennel ginger tea.

Foods to Avoid with PCOS

  • Avoid: Added sugar, extra salt, refined flour, and reduce dairy:
    Dairy should be avoided, if possible, by ladies suffering from PCOD. There is a hormone called IGF-1 (insulin like growth factor), which increases the androgen production in women. Refined carbohydrates like white flour, bread, pasta increase the production of insulin and can lead to diabetes. Minimise the consumption of packaged foods, fast food, sugary cereals, added sugars (check the labels) and processed meat.
  • Avoid Saturated, hydrogenated, and trans-fats: Saturated fats, found in red meat and dairy products, cause an increase in estrogen production, hinder the absorption of some nutrients and can cause weight gain.
  • Limit alcohol: Alcohol should be avoided by ladies suffering from PCOS. Excessive alcohol can lead to weight gain and worsen insulin resistance.
  • High Glycemic Index foods: Reducing the intake of high GI foods like white pasta, white bread, white sugar can rapidly increase blood sugar levels.
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Role of Sleep

Ladies, the reason why emphasis is laid on getting proper sleep is because most of the repair work takes place during those hours. Two hormones that are affected by sleep in the body, which regulate hunger namely- ghrelin and leptin. 

Ghrelin stimulates metabolism while leptin does the opposite. 

When the body doesn’t get enough sleep, the circadian rhythm (body clock) does not work properly which leads to increased ghrelin levels and decreased leptin levels in the body-which leads to increased hunger and sugar cravings.

Yoga Asanas for PCOS

Yoga has been very helpful in managing PCOS and some people have been able to reverse PCOS. It can help to boost immunity, boost fertility, manage stress levels, improve insulin sensitivity, manage weight and all together overall health. 

Here are a few breathing exercises and yoga asanas for PCOS management

  • Anulom vilom
  • Kapalbhati
  • Garland Pose
  • Boat pose
  • Bow pose
  • Cat- cow pose
what is PCOS, symptoms and risk associated with PCOS

Frequently Asked Questions

How is PCOS treated?

With proper medicine if need
Good eating habits
Healthy lifestyle
Stress management

How do I know if I am suffering from PCOS?

Irregular periods
Weight gain
Facial hair growth

What is the difference between PCOS and PCOD?

In PCOD the ovaries start releasing immature eggs that lead to hormonal imbalances and swollen ovaries earlier stage if not treated leads to pcos PCOS, endocrine issues cause the ovaries to produce excess androgens which makes eggs prone to becoming cysts.

Who can get PCOS ?

Anyone with bad eating habits and inactive lifestyle

Can IVF help a woman with PCOS get pregnant?


What tests can I get done for PCOS ?

Ultrasound and hormonal test

Is it important to take pills for PCOS?

It depends on the disease stage.

Are there any lifestyle changes that I can make to cure PCOS?

Avoid milk products
Refined flour
Oily and fried food

What is the expected weight loss if I have PCOS?

Its depends on person to person


PCOD is curable and can be reversed by incorporating daily exercise, practicing yoga breathing and stretching exercises and following a healthy diet. However, if it becomes a syndrome (PCOS), it’s irreversible.

Nidhi Gupta is an ACE certified personal trainer and nutritionist with over 10 years of experience helping people reach their fitness goals. She is passionate about helping people live healthier lives and loves sharing her knowledge and expertise with others. Get in touch with her to learn more about how she can help you on your fitness journey.