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The Connection Between Gut Health and PCOS

The Connection Between Gut Health and PCOS

If you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), we know how overwhelming it can feel. And while there are many factors at play in any health condition, gut health and PCOS are intimately related.

This relationship might not be immediately obvious, but understanding it can help you take charge of your overall wellness journey. Together, we’ll unpack this connection and discuss what it means for you and your health.

What Is PCOS?

PCOS is a common hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It's characterized by an imbalance in reproductive hormones, leading to issues in the ovaries. 

The condition can result in symptoms like:

  • Irregular periods
  • Increased body or facial hair
  • Difficulty managing weight

While there's no known cure for PCOS, it's important to manage the symptoms and maintain your overall health. One area of health that's often overlooked when considering PCOS is gut health. That's right — the health of your gut might impact your experience with PCOS, and it's worth paying attention to.

What Is Gut Health?

Your gut health plays a more significant role in your overall wellness than you may think. It's not just about digestion. The gut, or more specifically, the trillions of microorganisms that inhabit it, are closely linked to several bodily functions, from your metabolism to your mood and even your immune health.

These microorganisms, collectively called the gut microbiota, have a symbiotic relationship with your body. They help break down food components, support nutrient absorption, and contribute to maintaining a balanced immune system.

However, it's when this fine balance of the gut microbiota gets disrupted that issues can arise, leading to what's called gut dysbiosis. Studies are increasingly showing links between gut dysbiosis and various health concerns, from mood disorders to metabolic health, and yes, even hormonal balance.

What Is the Link Between Gut Health and Hormones?

Our gut microbiota plays a role that extends beyond digestion. These microscopic inhabitants of our gut, among their other diverse roles, influence how our bodies synthesize and react to hormones.

A balanced gut microbiome can support the metabolization of certain hormones, like testosterone, which is essential for reproductive health. This means that disruptions in gut bacteria can contribute to hormonal buildup in the body.

This is where the relevance of gut health for women with PCOS comes into the picture. The hormonal imbalances that are common with PCOS might be influenced by the health of your gut microbiota.

Gut Health and PCOS

Research increasingly shows a potential link between gut health and PCOS. It's been found that people with PCOS often have a different gut microbiota composition compared to those without the condition. Some studies have suggested that this altered gut environment might contribute to some PCOS symptoms.

Now, it's important to stress that these studies do not suggest that fixing your gut can cure or treat PCOS. However, they do show that gut health may just be one piece of the puzzle, and by supporting your gut health, you might be able to help soothe some of your symptoms.

Supporting Gut Health for Overall Wellness

So, how can you support your gut health and, by extension, your overall wellness? Here are a few ways.

Prioritize Probiotics

Nourish your gut with probiotics. These helpful bacteria, found in fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, are champions for gut health. If you struggle to incorporate these foods into your diet, a probiotic supplement like our Gut Feelings Probiotics® can be a convenient alternative.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is key for a thriving gut. Drinking enough water supports the mucosal lining of your intestines, helping your gut function smoothly. Staying hydrated can be as simple as carrying a water bottle with you and sipping throughout the day.

Eat Fiber-Rich Foods

Fiber can help keep your digestive system in top shape, encouraging regular bowel movements and nourishing your gut bacteria. If you’re looking to ease symptoms of bloat and digestive upset, you may want to incorporate plenty of fiber-rich foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes into your meals.

Limit Processed Foods

While tempting, processed foods can disrupt your gut's bacterial balance. Instead, you may want to opt for whole foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains are all excellent choices.

Move Your Body

Physical activity can help support your gut, enhancing its overall health. Whether it's a walk around the block or a yoga class, find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your routine.

Sleep Well for Gut Health

Sleep isn't just for recharging your brain — it's essential for your gut, too! Inadequate sleep can negatively affect your gut health, so aim for the generally recommended seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. 

Stress Less

High stress levels can throw your gut out of balance. Implementing stress management techniques such as meditation, deep-breathing exercises, or even just a relaxing bath can help. You can also take our #Mood Pills®, which help boost mood and support PMS symptoms like cramps, irritability, and fatigue.*

Diversify Your Diet

Variety is the spice of life, and it's also good for your gut. Different foods feed different types of gut bacteria, so aim for a diverse diet. Experiment with new foods and flavors — you might even discover a new favorite dish!

Say No to Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame might seem like a guilt-free way to enjoy sweet treats, but they can negatively impact your gut bacteria. Instead, you may want to opt for natural sweeteners or enjoy the natural sweetness of fruits. After all, your gut health is worth it!

Wrap It Up

The more we learn about gut health, the clearer it becomes that gut health is the foundation upon which the rest of our health is built. When something goes wrong in the gut, it’s bound to show up in other areas, too. While taking care of your gut won’t cure or treat PCOS, fostering a healthy gut environment can play a part in supporting overall wellness for those dealing with this condition.

Remember, the journey to wellness isn't about quick fixes — it's about consistently caring for your body and giving it the support it needs. As your trusted friends in wellness, Love Wellness is here to provide expert-backed solutions when you need a little extra love.

Sources:

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic

What You Should Know About Your Gut Health | Cleveland Clinic

Introduction to the human gut microbiota | PMC

Gut Microbiota Dysbiosis: Triggers, Consequences, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Options | PMC

Relationship between gut microbiota and host-metabolism: Emphasis on hormones related to reproductive function | PMC

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