Women's Health, PCOS

National Women’s Health Week: How Women with PCOS Can Ramp It Up!

The calendar year is full of “national day of this” and “national week of that,” but the week of May 13 – 19, 2018, is an important one because it’s National Women’s Health Week (NWHW) and it’s a perfect time to refocus on your health.

If you created resolutions that have long since fallen by the wayside, now’s a perfect time to get back on track. A lot of people tend to feel more like being active, outdoors, and eating lighter foods at this time of year too, so it’s an easy time to reboot.  We’ve got more daylight, which tends to help improve mood as well.

The website for NWHW has a great tool you can click on by age groups, breaking ideal health behaviors down by decades, that lists the health behaviors you should be focusing on now. The broad advice (sorry, I’m in a punny mood this week) is the same, and here’s my distillation of it, with a little personalization for PCOS.

PCOS Health Tips
  • Quit smoking if you smoke; don’t start if you don’t!
  • Get around eight hours of sleep per night. I think nine is better for women with PCOS; we need more restoration and repair time.
  • Drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day (so if you weigh 180 pounds, you should be getting 90 ounces of water daily).
  • Limit coffee to one cup per day (hint of the day: did you know that there’s a secret menu where you can get a “short” at Starbucks?!).
  • Get a check-up at least annually. Make sure to address all of your thyroid and other endocrine and gynecological concerns.
  • Don’t abuse prescription drugs or street drugs; get help stopping if you can’t do it on your own. This one’s particularly important for women with
  • PCOS, because we’re already dealing with such imbalances that you just don’t know what somebody else’s medication or a street drug is going to do make things worse.
  • Make efforts to find a healthy weight for you – that’s entirely personal, and may have nothing to do with standard weight charts. Start exploring the “Health at Every Size” movement.
  • Speaking of movement, we need some, but maybe not as much, or as intensely, as other women. Studies show health improvements when women with PCOS, but we know that too much exercise can be counter-productive! Practically speaking, you might want to exercise only every other day (a little gentle walking doesn’t count, so pop that in on your “off” days), to give your body time to recover from the stress of exercising.
  • Wear sunscreen daily.
  • Wear your seatbelt every single time you get in a moving vehicle.
  • Learn to manage your stress.
  • If you’re experiencing domestic violence, child abuse, sexual harassment, or discrimination, ask someone you trust for help.
  • Get support. If you haven’t already joined my private Facebook group, PCOS Psychology, go there right now and join. It’s the best and most focused place on the Internet to get help with the depression, anxiety, and mood swings associated with PCOS.

PCOS requires lifetime management, so every week is a healthcare focus week for us. Using the tools that are available to you as reminders, and for support, will help make this easier. You don’t have to do everything all at once, and you don’t have to do it all the time, but the more you do, the healthier and happier you’ll feel!

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