Monthly periods are a regular occurrence for most women and are generally regarded as a sign of health. However, having irregular periods is cause for concern. In addition to the risk of PCOS, stress, and reproductive health, irregular periods can have a significant impact on vital body functions. In fact, according to doctors, your periods can have an impact on your heart health and should be checked out right away. But should you be concerned? We’ll explain.
What makes irregular periods a big risk?
While missing out or having irregular monthly flow can happen due to quite a few many causes, PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is one of the prime causes which lead to irregular menstruation.
PCOS, which affects 1 in every 8 women of reproductive age, is becoming an epidemic in its own right, with more and more cases being reported in recent years. Hormonal imbalances, which are largely caused by lifestyle issues, can have a negative impact on overall health, including weight gain, hormonal disruption, irregular period flow, reproductive issues, and the risk of metabolic differences.
However, despite the fact that PCOS is such a common disease, many women are still blatantly unaware or misinformed about their symptoms and have a poor understanding of what they are suffering from. This, in turn, has a serious impact not only on their reproductive health but also on delayed diagnosis and poor overall health. Ignoring the risk factors, in particular, can be harmful to the heart.
PCOS, irregular periods and heart health: What’s the connection?
One of the most common symptoms of PCOS reported by most women is irregular periods. Period problems are caused by hormonal imbalances, which further offset metabolic differences, such as insulin resistance. Excess levels of male hormones in the body, combined with insulin resistance (a feature of diabetes), can raise cholesterol and lipid profiles. This, in turn, is how women with PCOS or menstrual problems may put themselves at risk of developing heart diseases or having an increased risk of cardiac ailments.
One of the primary reasons why PCOS increases the risk of heart problems is because of the symptoms and side effects it causes. Insulin resistance, for example, not only causes diabetes but also raises other metabolic red flags in the body. From a cardiovascular standpoint, insulin resistance, high-stress levels (another common factor with PCOS), elevated lipid levels, and other metabolic abnormalities double the risk of heart problems. This is one of the reasons why doctors stress the importance of early PCOS diagnosis and management.
Women with PCOS may experience weight issues and find it difficult to lose weight, putting themselves at risk of inflammation and higher BMI levels. Inflammation and obesity are precursors to vascular problems and, once again, a major risk factor for heart disease. Sedentary lifestyles with little to no physical activity can also increase the risk. As a result, it is critical to be aware of, manage, and treat PCOS from the start.
How can you manage PCOS and lower your risk of heart problems?
With PCOS, while there’s no available medical cure, the best way possible to effectively manage and curb one’s PCOS symptoms lies in critical lifestyle modifications. Here are some of the ways how women with PCOS can reduce their risk, and lead a healthy life:
-Work towards weight reduction and maintaining good BMI levels suitable for your age and height.
-Follow a good diet, and minimize intake of added sugar and processed foods.
-Have an antioxidant, protein-rich diet. Lessen your dependence on junk, preserved, packaged or other foods which may have chemical traces.
-Some women also benefit from going gluten-free or dairy-free
-Make sure you work out or engage in physical activity, 4-5 times a week. Moderate intensity exercises are best suited.
-Work to reduce your stress levels
-Try following yoga and meditation to seek therapeutic relief.
-Follow heart-healthy practices.
-Ensure you get undisturbed, regular sleep.