Can a Balanced Diet Help Relieve Symptoms of PCOS?

Many gynaecologists believe that certain diet and lifestyle changes can help reduce the symptoms of PCOS.

Having trouble with irregular periods? Have you had a sudden burst of pimples and put on a lot of weight without any apparent reason? If the answer to all this is yes, then you are probably suffering from PCOS.

Don’t panic! It only sounds complicated, but it’s not!

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a growing hormonal disorder mostly found among women of reproductive age. There is no one test to diagnose this syndrome but usually the first sign is having irregular periods or in some cases, no periods at all.

In PCOS, women cannot ovulate due to formation of small cysts in their ovaries.
In PCOS, women cannot ovulate due to formation of small cysts in their ovaries. (Photo: iStock)

In PCOS, there are cyst formations in the ovaries due to overproduction of certain hormones. Yes, the resulting imbalance of hormones is what causes most of the distress.

In PCOS, women cannot ovulate due to formation of small cysts in their ovaries. This results in the imbalance of estrogen, progesterone and other hormones that causes irregular menstruation cycles.

Dr Deepti Khare, Gynaecologist

Though the exact cause of this disorder is unknown, many experts link it to insulin resistance that cause the excessive weight gain, disrupt ovulation, and increase sugar cravings, among other things.

What Is Insulin Resistance?

The carbohydrates that get digested in our body release glucose into the bloodstream. Insulin helps the cells to absorb glucose and produce energy that can be used by our bodies.

But when our bodies develop resistance, the cells stop absorbing the glucose. This forces the glucose to accumulate in the blood stream which ends in high blood sugar levels.

When our bodies develop insulin resistance, the cells stop absorbing the glucose. This forces the glucose to accumulate in the blood stream which ends in high blood sugar levels.
When our bodies develop insulin resistance, the cells stop absorbing the glucose. This forces the glucose to accumulate in the blood stream which ends in high blood sugar levels. (Photo: iStock)

So, basically you need to work on decreasing the insulin resistance of your body.

Though cases of PCOS have been on the rise in the past few years, many gynaecologists believe that certain diet and lifestyle changes along with some medication can help reduce the symptoms.

Stress and sedentary lifestyle are the two main causes of PCOS in women these days. A balanced diet and proper exercise help a lot in dealing with the symptoms of PCOS.

Dr Deepti Khare, Gynaecologist

Seems doable?

Diet and PCOS: The Connection

When your body becomes insulin resistant, then it starts producing more insulin to maintain normal sugar levels. High level of insulin makes it harder to lose weight resulting in a higher Body Mass Index (BMI).

So, it is very important to know what to eat and what to avoid!

It is very important to know what to eat and  what to avoid!
It is very important to know what to eat and what to avoid! (Photo: iStock)

Since insulin resistance builds up in the body, it is extremely important that women understand the constituents of their diet well and have a balanced meal.

Dr Shikha Sharma, Nutritionist

Let us help make you a perfect diet plan then…

What to Eat?

Remember, you must prevent excess sugar from entering your blood stream. So, you must eat food that doesn’t convert to sugar easily.

Experts advise a high fibre-lean protein diet which will help control the amount of insulin in the body by slowing down digestion.

PCOS diet must include a lot of green vegetables and fresh fruits. A high fibre-lean protein diet will help control the amount of insulin in the body.
PCOS diet must include a lot of green vegetables and fresh fruits. A high fibre-lean protein diet will help control the amount of insulin in the body. (Photo: iStock)

So, your diet must include a lot of:

• Green vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach

• Beans & lentils

• Almonds, berries

• Tomatoes

• Pumpkin

• Olive Oil

• Chicken

• Fish (like Salmon, Sardines)

Have a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Include more body cleansing items like turmeric, lime, garlic, onions, coriander in your meal preparations. They will detox the body and help you get rid of extra sugar.

What to Avoid?

Sugars and carbohydrates are a strict NO!

Yes, prepare yourself to bid farewell to all your favourite chocolates, candies, cakes, pies! Sorry, but they are of no help now!

Sugars and carbohydrates are a strict NO! 
Sugars and carbohydrates are a strict NO!  (Photo: iStock)

Strictly stay away from:

• White bread (Bye-bye Pizza!)

• Rice

• Sugary juices

• Desserts (Basically, anything with sugar in it!)

• Potatoes

• Pasta noodles made from wheat flour (Try lentil flour (masoor aata) pasta, instead!)

You are also advised to cut down on foods like red meat, French fries (yes, you read that right!) since they cause inflammation in the body.

You have to be extra careful even while grocery shopping.

Why? Because packaged foods have a lot of sugars and carbohydrates that we usually don’t see because we rarely read the labels!

Read the labels of packaged food items while shopping. Make sure the salt content is low, avoid items with simple sugars, make sure that Trans fat is zero and the amount of preservatives present is minimal. Fresh food is always better than preserved food.

Dr Shikha Sharma, Nutritionist

Other Lifestyle Changes…

Along with a perfect diet, some exercise will also help you feel better.

No, you don’t have to run to the gym! Simple physical activities like brisk walking, jogging, swimming will help control your BMI.

Simple physical activities like brisk walking, jogging, swimming will help control your BMI.
Simple physical activities like brisk walking, jogging, swimming will help control your BMI. (Photo: iStock)

Any type of physical activity helps improve insulin sensitivity, reduces your BMI and increases your frequency of ovulation.

Dr Deepti Khare, Gynaecologist

Do you feel better now? You can deal with PCOS with the right diet and exercise. Try to gather more information which will only help you feel more confident in dealing with PCOS.

Remember, when in doubt, always consult your gynaecologist.






Cancer symptoms that you are most likely to ignore

TNN| Kalpana Sharma | January 12, 2017
Lesser known cancer symptoms

1/8Lesser known cancer symptoms
Cancer is spreading like an epidemic. According to National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, an estimated of 2.5 million people are living with cancer in India. Reports suggest that over 7,00,000 cancer cases are registered every year. They can be prevented and treated if detected at an early stage, thereby bringing down the number of cancer deaths in India.
Dr Mandeep S Malhotra, Head- Dept of Head, Neck & Breast Oncoplasty, Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj explains, “It is not necessary that the rarest of disease will present with the rarest of symptoms. More often, cancer symptoms are so common that people tend to ignore.” Here are some specific cancer symptoms which are commonly not addressed
(Picture Courtesy: Shutterstock)
by Kalpana Sharma
Unexplained weight loss

2/8Unexplained weight loss
Dr Meenu Walia, Director, Medical Oncology at Max Super Specialty Hospital, Patparganj says, “When you lose weight of 10 pounds or more without trying, may be the first sign of cancer. This is most common among cancers of the pancreas, stomach, oesophagus (swallowing tube), or lung. Tumors that press on the intestines make you feel full with small amount of food or some secretions can suppress your appetite.”
(Picture Courtesy: Pixabay)

If you experience chronic or intermittent constipation, it’s better to get a diagnosis done. With colon cancer, for example, if it is diagnosed in the earliest stages, survival rates are well over 90 per cent. “If the cancer is more advanced and has spread beyond the colon, survival rates drop dramatically,” adds Dr Walia.
(Picture Courtesy: Shutterstock)
Unexplained lump

4/8Unexplained lump
Along with any lump in the breasts, lumps in armpits or breast tail should be examined. Nipple discharge specially blood stained or any dimpling over breast skin should not be ignored. Also pay attention to lumps that develop elsewhere and change shapes and sizes.
Unexplained abdominal pain and bloating

5/8Unexplained abdominal pain and bloating
There can sometimes be an abnormal build-up of fluid in the abdomen or pelvis called Ascites. It can cause bloating, weight gain and even lead to a rapidly expanding waistline. Ascites is usually caused by liver disease, but cancer is the culprit about 10 per cent of the time. Sometimes, the fluid is so large in amount that it can make you look several months pregnant.
(Picture Courtesy: Pixabay)
Persistent change in bowel habits

6/8Persistent change in bowel habits
Immediate medical attention is a must to avoid complications like bowel perforation that can be fatal. Obstructions are painful because the bowel above the blocked area stretches as it fills with food and digestive juices. The pain is intense and may occur in waves as the bowels try to push their contents through the

Glucose Tablets Likely Better For Easing Low Blood Sugar Symptoms

Glucose Tablets Likely Better For Easing Low Blood Sugar Symptoms

When people with diabetes experience a dangerous drop in blood sugar, glucose tablets might be a better option than a sugary food or drink, a study suggests.

People with diabetes can develop hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, if they skip a meal, exercise harder than usual or take too much insulin or other diabetes medications.

Low blood sugar can cause fatigue, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, sweating, mental confusion or even coma or seizures if not treated quickly.

For a new study, researchers pooled data from four papers in the medical literature that compared the effect of dietary sugars and glucose tablets on relieving low blood sugar symptoms, including three randomized trials, which are generally the most reliable kind of medical study.

As reported in the Emergency Medicine Journal, the adults and children in the studies had type 1 or type 2 diabetes. All of them were awake throughout their episodes of low blood sugar.

Altogether, 515 low blood sugar episodes were treated with dietary sugar and 232 were treated with glucose tablets.

Across the four studies, different forms of dietary sugars were used, including Skittles candies, orange juice, Mentos candies, jelly beans, cornstarch, milk and glucose gels.

In general, the individual substances were about as effective as the glucose tablets for getting blood sugar levels to rise.

When results from all four studies were combined, neither dietary sugars nor glucose tablets reliably returned blood sugar levels to normal within 10 to 15 minutes, according to the research team.

“Regardless of the oral (method) used to treat hypoglycemia, time is required for absorption before the measured blood returns to the normal range and the patient’s symptoms improve,” the authors wrote.

However, people who used glucose tablets seemed to feel better faster. Patients who used sugary foods were 11 percent less likely to feel relief from their symptoms within 15 minutes.

Glucose tablets are available in drugstores and online. Prices on range from about $5 for a pack of 10 tablets, to about $9 for a bottle of 50.

“Although the results lean toward glucose tablets, everybody reacts differently to low blood sugar,” said Susan Renda, a certified diabetes educator at Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Diabetes Center who was not involved with the study.

“We can’t say that this study controls for individual differences in low blood sugar, like measuring a patient’s glucose level or checking to see how they feel,” she told Reuters Health.

“We don’t want to discourage people from using dietary sugars,” said study co-author Dr Jestin Carlson, an emergency physician at Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania.

“Glucose tablets seem to work better, but if you’re using dietary sugar, that’s OK too,” he told Reuters Health by phone.

What’s most important is to treat low blood sugar right away, according to Renda. She said, “Whether it’s Skittles or glucose tablets, people should carry something with them at all times for whenever they feel a drop in blood sugar.”

As of 2014, approximately 29 million Americans – about 9 percent of the US population – had been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Early Menopausal Symptoms May Predict Heart Disease

Early Menopausal Symptoms May Predict Heart Disease

Women who experience menopausal symptoms — hot flashes and night sweats — much earlier are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) as compared to those with later onset of such symptoms, says research.

Up to 80 per cent of women experience menopausal symptoms at some point during the menopause transition, said Professor Rebecca Thurston from the University of Pittsburgh at Pennsylvania, in the US.

Previously it was thought that these symptoms that persist for several years around the final menstrual period simply affect the quality of life.

However, new research indicates that early onset of menopausal symptoms is associated with dysfunction of the endothelium — lining of blood vessels.

“Our research also suggests that for women in their midlife, menopausal symptoms might mark adverse changes in blood vessels during the period placing them at increased risk for heart disease,” Thurston added.
For the study, Thurston and her team investigated associations between menopausal symptoms and risk for CVD complications among 254 postmenopausal women with signs and symptoms of ischemic heart disease.

Endothelial dysfunction was measured by assessing flow-mediated dilation (FMD) — a non-invasive ultrasound measure of how well the vessel dilates in response to pressure on the wall of the blood vessel.

The researchers found those who had hot flashes before age 42 were more likely to have lower FMD, suggesting adverse endothelial changes, as well as higher mortality from heart disease.

“The research could, one day, help us predict those midlife women who might be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease so that we proactively target them for early prevention strategies,” Thurston said, in the paper published in the journal Menopause.


Glaucoma: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

Glaucoma is a disease of the eye in which fluid pressure within the eye rises – if left untreated the patient may lose vision, and even become blind. The disease generally affects both eyes, although one may have more severe signs and symptoms than the other.

There is a small space in the front of the eye called the “anterior chamber”. Clear liquid flows in-and-out of the anterior chamber, this fluid nourishes and bathes nearby tissues. If a patient has glaucoma, the fluid does not drain properly – it drains too slowly – out of the eye. This leads to fluid build-up, and pressure inside the eye rises. Unless this pressure is brought down and controlled, the optic nerve and other parts of the eye may become damaged, leading to loss of vision.

There are two main types of glaucoma, open angle and closed angle (angle closure) glaucoma. The fluid in the eye flows through an area between the iris and cornea, where it escapes via the trabecular meshwork – “angle” refers to this area. The trabecular meshwork is made of sponky tissue lined by trabeculocytes. Fluid drains into s set of tubes, known as Schlemm’s canal, from which they flow into the blood system.

Closed Angle Glaucoma (acute angle-closure glaucoma) can come on suddenly, and the patient commonly experiences pain and rapid vision loss. Fortunately, the symptoms of pain and discomfort make the sufferer seek medical help, resulting in prompt treatment which usually prevents any permanent damage from occurring.

Glaucoma illustration

Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (chronic glaucoma) – progresses very slowly. The patient may not feel any symptoms; even slight loss of vision may go unnoticed. In this type of glaucoma, many people don’t get medical help until some permanent damage has already occurred.

Low-tension glaucoma – this is another form that experts do not fully understand. Even though eye pressure is normal, optic nerve damage still occurs. Perhaps the optic nerve is over-sensitive or there is atherosclerosis in the blood vessel that supplies the optic nerve.

Pigmentary glaucoma – this type generally develops during early or middle adulthood. Pigment granules, which arise from the back of the iris, are dispersed within the eye. If these granules build up in the trabecular meshwork, they can undermine the flow of fluids in the eye, leading to a rise in eye pressure. Running and some other sports can unsettle the granules, which get into the travecular meshwork.

Glaucoma has been called the silent thief of sight

  • Primary glaucoma – this means we do not know what the cause was.
  • Secondary glaucoma – the condition has a known cause, such as a tumor, diabetes, an advanced cataract, or inflammation.

Symptoms of glaucoma

Glaucoma simulation - normal photo of 2 children

Glaucoma simulation - photo of 2 children from someone with glaucoma
How a person with advanced vision loss from glaucoma sees the same thing. Image credits: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

A symptom is something the sufferer experiences and describes, such as pain, while a sign is something others can identify, such as a rash or a swelling.

The signs and symptoms of primary open angle glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma are quite different.

Signs and symptoms of primary open-angle glaucoma

  • Peripheral vision is gradually lost. This nearly always affects both eyes.
  • In advanced stages, the patient has tunnel vision

Signs and symptoms of closed angle glaucoma

  • Eye pain, usually severe
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain is often accompanied by nausea, and sometimes vomiting
  • Lights appear to have extra halo-like glows around them
  • Red eyes
  • Sudden, unexpected vision problems, especially when lighting is poor

Glaucoma risk factors

A risk factor is something that raises the risk of developing a condition or disease. For example, obesity is a risk factor for diabetes type 2 – obese people have a higher risk of developing diabetes.

  • Old age – people over the age of 60 years have a higher risk of developing the disease. For African-Americans, the risk rises at a younger age.
  • Ethnic background – East Asians, because of their shallower anterior chamber depth, have a higher risk of developing glaucoma compared to Caucasians. The risk for those of Inuit origin is considerably greater still. People of African-American descent are three to four times more likely to develop the disease compared to American whites. Females are three times as likely to develop glaucoma as males.
  • Some illnesses and conditions – people with diabetes or hypothyroidism have a much higher chance of developing glaucoma.
  • Eye injuries or conditions – some eye injuries, especially severe ones, are linked to a higher glaucoma risk. Retinal detachment, eye inflammations and eye tumors can also cause glaucoma to occur.
  • Eye surgery – some patients who underwent eye surgery have a higher risk of glaucoma.
  • Myopia – people with myopia (nearsightedness) have a higher risk of glaucoma.
  • Corticosteroids – patients on long-term corticosteroids have a raised risk of developing several different conditions, including glaucoma. The risk is even greater with eyedrops containing corticosteroids.

[“source -cncb”]