PCOS Self-Care: A Practical Guide to Balancing Your Hormones

Overview of PCOS and Self-Care

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can often be a frustrating condition to manage, especially for those of us who have tried (and tried, and tried) to stick to stringent diet and exercise regimens that never seem to work. 


If this sounds like your journey so far, don’t lose heart—you’re not alone. 


And the points we’re going to talk about in this blog aren’t going to leave you feeling deprived.


Instead, we’re going to focus on self-care. 


Before you roll your eyes and say that “self-care” has been thrown around a lot—hear us out. 


PCOS self-care involves intentionally observing different areas of your health, like the way you eat, move, supplement, and manage stress, and gently adopting new habits to support your health better and manage your PCOS symptoms for good.

Step 1: Optimize Your Diet and Nutrition

The Role of Diet in PCOS Management

If you’ve ever been told to “just lose weight” to manage PCOS at the doctor’s office, you’re not alone. 

A lot of PCOS Cysters have been told repeatedly to lose weight to improve their symptoms. 

As you may very well know, this can be quite frustrating!

It’s worth noting, though, that managing your diet when you have PCOS isn’t just about losing any extra weight.

Some Cysters have “lean PCOS,” where they may be well within the normal weight range for their body type or even be underweight. 

But they still have PCOS symptoms.

Managing your diet with PCOS involves making healthful, sustainable changes—not restrictions. 

Instead of focusing on things to cut, focus on things you can add that your body will thank you for. 

By eating a more balanced, PCOS-friendly diet, not only will you be able to manage your PCOS symptoms better, but you’ll also heal your relationship with food over time.

The Importance of a Balanced Diet

Eating a balanced diet with the right amounts of food can help your body process insulin better, keep your energy levels up, and help you stay fuller for longer. 


Knowing what to eat can significantly impact your PCOS management journey. 


For example, eating a high-carbohydrate meal will cause your body to make more insulin to keep sugar levels down.


Like a chain reaction, the overabundance of insulin in your body causes your ovaries to produce androgens (masculine hormones like testosterone), in turn, worsening your PCOS symptoms. 


You don’t have to cut out carbohydrates, though. 


You just need to know when to eat them and the kinds you should eat.


Keeping your macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbs) in the right ratios will help your body restore hormone balance, support insulin sensitivity, lower inflammation, and keep stress hormones in check.

Recommended Foods for PCOS

Let’s take a look at the top food groups to eat for PCOS.

Lean Proteins

Lean proteins don’t cause your blood sugar levels to rise and trigger excess insulin production. 


Additionally, protein is highly satiating, helping to keep hunger and cravings at bay for a much longer time.

High-Fiber Foods

Foods high in fiber can also help fight insulin resistance because they slow down digestion and help combat the effect of blood sugar, making them a great option when you have PCOS. 


Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are good examples of high-fiber foods for PCOS.

Healthy Fats

Saturated and trans fats can lead to high cholesterol levels and increased blood pressure, so healthier unsaturated fats are a better option. 


This includes vegetable oils from olive oil, coconut milk, and natural fats from avocado and nuts.

Vitamins and Minerals

Women with PCOS can typically have several nutrient deficiencies that can cause fatigue, increase inflammation, exacerbate insulin resistance, and impede ovulation. 


Several studies have also shown that women with PCOS are most commonly deficient in minerals like zinc, selenium, magnesium, and chromium.

Step 2: Take Supplements for Hormone Balance

The Role of Supplements in Managing PCOS

Proper supplementation is key to managing your PCOS symptoms for good and finally feeling like yourself again. 

For example, taking an androgen-blocking supplement can help you address a lot of the annoying symptoms of PCOS—like acne, hirsutism (excess hair growth), and hair loss.

Vitamins and minerals that help the body balance androgen levels can also reduce the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a more potent androgen. 

This can help improve PCOS symptoms significantly. 

Minerals like zinc, magnesium, chromium, and selenium can also combat the negative effects of inflammatory and oxidative stress associated with PCOS.

Recommended Supplements For PCOS

Some scientifically proven effective PCOS supplements are:

Inositol (But Just Not Any Inositol)

Inositol is structurally similar to B vitamins and can improve irregular cycles, increase insulin sensitivity, improve egg quality, and promote ovulation. 


An ideal 40:1 ratio of Myo-Inositol and D-Chiro Inositol is the most compatible with the body and has been proven to mimic the naturally occurring inositols in our systems.

Zinc

Zinc has been proven to help restore clear skin by promoting wound healing of existing acne scars and preventing further acne formation. 


It also helps with lipid balance and insulin resistance and can reduce the intensity of menstrual pain.

Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto reduces 5-alpha reductase activity, the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. 


It also promotes estrogen balance in women with PCOS and can be helpful for those with estrogen dominance.


Overall, saw palmetto can help abate PCOS symptoms like acne, hirsutism, hair loss, and irregular periods.

Green Tea

Green tea modulates gonadotropin levels (luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone) in the blood, reduces insulin resistance, promotes ovarian health, and helps with weight loss. 


Studies have also shown that green tea can aid in the reduction of immature eggs in the ovaries (called “cysts” in PCOS women) and increase the appearance of corpus luteum.

Chromium

Chromium helps with protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism. 


It has also been proven effective in stabilizing blood sugar and insulin levels, making it beneficial for when you have PCOS. 


Studies have also shown the beneficial effects of Chromium on body mass index (BMI), total cholesterol, serum triglycerides, and the concentration of free testosterone.

Magnesium

Magnesium is another essential supplement because it improves glucose levels and reduces androgens. 


It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and has been proven effective in decreasing BMI and serum concentrations of testosterone, dehydroepiandrogens (DHEA), and luteinizing hormone.

Omega 3 (EPA and DHA)

Omega-3 fats are divided into three types: Alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). 


EPA and DHA are particularly essential among women with PCOS and can be found in egg yolks and fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna, and halibut). 


Omega-3 fats have been proven to improve insulin and triglyceride levels, lower blood pressure and inflammation, as well as improve hair and skin quality. 


They are also anti-inflammatory and an overall healthy fat source. 

Nourished Natural Health's Bestsellers

Nourished Natural Health has a line of hormone-balancing and body-loving supplements that can naturally support your body while recovering from PCOS:

Androgen Blocker

Nourished Androgen Blocker is our best-selling blend containing the ideal ratio of androgen-blocking nutrients, so you don’t have to take multiple supplements in one go. 


Our Androgen Blocker has been proven to naturally reduce androgen levels, improve acne, slow DHT conversion, and promote regular ovulation.

Cycle Regulate + Ovulate

Our Nourished Cycle Regulate + Ovulate - 40:1 Myo+D-Chiro Inositol contains the perfect 40:1 ratio of Myo-Inositol and D-Chiro Inositol and has been proven most effective in PCOS insulin and weight management. 


It was carefully designed to reduce cravings, increase metabolism, and support healthy weight loss.

Period + PMS Repair

The Period Regulate + PMS Repair blend is specifically designed to support hormone balance by promoting healthy cycles and reducing PMS symptoms. 


Formerly known as Period Repair + Regulate, this blend also supports energy levels & healthy skin.

PCOS Blood Sugar Balance

Created using scientifically proven natural ingredients, PCOS Blood Sugar Balance is a supplement blend designed to naturally support healthy weight and insulin levels. 


PCOS symptoms like irregular periods and weight gain can be due to excess testosterone, which can also result from high levels of insulin.


Formulated with scientifically validated natural ingredients, PCOS Blood Sugar Balance is a supplement blend crafted to promote healthy weight and insulin levels naturally. 


PCOS symptoms like irregular periods and weight gain due to excess testosterone may also be alleviated by normalized insulin levels.

Step 3: Exercise Regularly

The Benefits of Regular Exercise for PCOS

Balance is key when it comes to movement and PCOS. 


You can under- or over-exercise, leading to potentially worse PCOS symptoms. 


If you have a pretty sedentary lifestyle, like having a desk job and not much activity otherwise—the extra glucose in your body isn’t being properly utilized by your muscles.


This can be bad news, as it may increase the production of insulin levels to address the extra glucose. 


This can lead to worsened insulin resistance and inflammation in the long run. 


Getting some movement going during your regular schedule can work wonders for your insulin resistance and inflammation levels, as well as your stress hormones.

Types of Exercises Suitable for PCOS

Much like endurance-based cardio like cycling and jogging, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for 20 to 25 minutes has been proven beneficial for improving aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health. 

It’s a good option for PCOS women, especially since HIIT movements increase the muscle’s sensitivity to insulin.

Outside of HIIT, all types of movement are welcome for you to enjoy. There’s really no “best” exercise for PCOS, as it’s really about sustainability and finding what you enjoy. 

Gentle, mindfulness-based movements like yoga and pilates may also be beneficial, especially if you’re dealing with high stress levels.  

How to Craft a Personalized Exercise Routine

If you’re keen on trying out different types of exercise, a combination of strength training and HIIT may be your best bet. 

For example, you can do 20-minute HIIT or strength training sessions per week and supplement it with a 30-minute cycle or walk on other days.

Again, it depends on your preferences, fitness level, schedule, and PCOS root cause. 

For Adrenal PCOS, for instance, HIIT may not be a good idea right off the bat as it can stress your body. 

If you don’t know your root cause yet, take our free assessment here.

Tips for Staying Motivated

Experts recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of intense activity plus strength training. 


Sometimes, this can be as simple as going on 15-minute walks to work or simple lunges and squats at home. 


The goal is to get your body moving and use excess glucose, so don’t be held up with an all-or-nothing mentality.


Start slow and build from there. 


There are many easy-to-follow guided workouts online, so you’re bound to find one that fits your preferences. 


It doesn’t have to be complicated or super intense as long as you’re consistent and sufficiently moving.

Step 4: Manage and Reduce Stress

The Relationship Between Stress And PCOS

During caveman times, cortisol and adrenaline served as hormones that provided short bursts of energy, enabling the body to respond quickly to imminent dangers. 


The adrenal glands released glucose into the bloodstream, fueling muscles for a rapid escape from or confrontation with predators (literally, like lions and pumas).


This system was effective for handling sporadic survival threats requiring swift action. 


However, in the contemporary world, stress is more commonly associated with prolonged periods of sitting at a desk under the pressure of a demanding boss or being stuck in traffic while running late.


Unlike the brief, intense stressors of the past, modern stress tends to be a bit more persistent. 


Okay, a lot more. 


Consequently, our bodies continue to release glucose into the bloodstream, anticipating the need for physical exertion. 


The problem arises when this energy goes unused, leading to a buildup of glucose and eventual insulin resistance.


Chronically elevated cortisol levels also compromise immune system function, diverting resources away from combating infections and slowing down recovery.


Moreover, prolonged exposure to high cortisol levels and inflammation prompts the ovaries to produce excess testosterone. 


Adrenal glands increase the production of adrenal androgens in response to stress hormones. 


Imbalances in thyroid hormones also further contribute to heightened testosterone production and can impact ovulation.


Excess testosterone makes its way into the oil glands under the skin, particularly around the chin and jawline, stimulating increased sebum (skin oil) production. 


This surplus oil clogs hair follicles, leading to infections and the development of acne. 


In essence, the complex interplay of hormonal responses to stress can have far-reaching effects on various bodily functions, extending from insulin sensitivity to skin health.

Stress Reduction Techniques

Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation techniques have been proven effective in reducing levels of stress, anxiety, and depression among women with PCOS. 


They have also proven to help support consistency with regard to adopting diet and exercise adjustments.

Yoga and Relaxation Exercises

In a recent study, it was found that regularly practicing yoga and relaxation techniques might be a game-changer for women with PCOS. 


Not only did it help ease anxiety and depression symptoms, but those who committed to a one-hour yoga session three times a week for three months also slashed their testosterone levels by a significant 29 percent.

Breathing Techniques

Breathing techniques, like box breathing, are an effective relaxation method designed to restore breathing to its usual pace after a stressful encounter.


Box breathing, in particular, includes a rhythmic sequence of inhaling, holding, exhaling, and holding the breath again, each for 4 seconds.

Incorporating Stress Management Into Daily Life

You can start incorporating stress management techniques in your daily schedule to stay on top of cortisol levels.


 Things like coloring an adult coloring book, drinking herbal tea, burning a scented candle, journaling, or taking a long bath can do wonders for your mood and stress levels.

Step 5: Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

The Importance of Quality Sleep for Hormone Balance

Inadequate sleep affects all root causes of PCOS. 


It messes with your cells' responsiveness to insulin, cranks up cortisol production, and adds to inflammation.


Surprisingly, even just a single night of lousy sleep has been proven to spike insulin resistance. 


On top of that, when we're sleep-deprived, our bodies start craving sugar and other refined carbs as a shortcut to a quick energy fix.

Tips for Improving Sleep With PCOS

Here’s how you can start cleaning up your sleep with PCOS:

Establish a Sleep Schedule

Our bodies depend on signals to wind down. 


Establish a bedtime routine that you genuinely enjoy, and that acts as a cue for your brain to kick in with melatonin production. 


Whether it's a relaxing bath, diving into a good book, sipping herbal tea, or a brief meditation – find what suits you.


Try to steer clear of screens at least an hour before hitting the hay, as they emit blue light. 


If you absolutely must work on your computer or phone, consider using a blue light blocker like "F.lux" for your computer, "Night Shift" for your iPhone, or a bedtime app for other devices. 

Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment

Our brain relies on the signal of darkness to kick in melatonin production (that's our sleepy hormone) and keep our circadian rhythm in check. 


Light in the bedroom can throw off this process, fooling our brain into thinking it's still daytime and slowing down melatonin release.


Try turning off the lights in your bedroom at night and see if there are any light sources you can minimize. 


This might include blocking bright street lights with thicker curtains, covering a radio clock, or addressing other electronic lights.

Avoid Sleep Disruptors

The noise around us can really mess with our sleep, and sometimes, we don't even notice it. 


An audible partner's snoring or loud street traffic? 


If there are sounds you can't control in your sleep space, think about grabbing a pair of earplugs or using a white noise machine.


Also, to get into snooze mode, our body temperature needs to dip a bit. 


Double-check that your blanket is the right thickness for your bed, and have a fan or air conditioner handy for those warmer nights.

Step 6: Manage Your Hormones

Medications for PCOS

Your healthcare provider may suggest various approaches to regulate your periods and manage symptoms. 


To induce regular bleeds, combination birth control pills containing both estrogen and progestin are often recommended. 


These pills work by reducing androgen production and regulating estrogen levels and may temporarily address issues like irregular bleeding, excess hair growth, and acne.


Another option for menstrual regulation is progestin therapy. 


Taking progestin for 10 to 14 days every 1 to 2 months can help regulate your periods and provide protection against endometrial cancer. 


However, it doesn't improve androgen levels and does not act as a contraceptive.

Natural Hormone-Balancing Strategies

Aside from the steps outlined above, adopting regular practices that support your hormones and overall well-being can help you take better control of your PCOS symptoms.

Herbal Supplements and Their Benefits

Supplementing with high-quality, science-backed supplements may help you heal your PCOS root cause and manage symptoms effectively. 


Plus, you don’t have to deal with the nasty side effects that can potentially come with medications.

Lifestyle Changes

Incorporating all these changes requires you to adopt them in such a way that’s sustainable and not just for a limited time. 


Enriching your lifestyle with PCOS-friendly practices can be the key to a happier, healthier, and symptom-free you.

How Nourished Natural Health Supplements Support Hormone Balance

At Nourished Natural Health, our unwavering dedication lies in crafting products grounded in the most rigorous scientific research. 


Countless hours are invested in developing our products, followed by stringent testing protocols to uphold the highest quality standards before their release.


We understand your desire for a safe and effective product, which is why, at Nourished, all our offerings are meticulously designed and certified by nutritionists and naturopaths. 


They comprise 100% natural ingredients and are manufactured in fully FDA Facility and GMP-certified facilities in the USA. 


Furthermore, our commitment is reinforced by a 100% no-questions-asked money-back guarantee, ensuring your confidence and satisfaction in choosing Nourished products.

Step 7: Monitor and Track Progress

The Importance of Keeping a PCOS Journal

Keeping a PCOS journal is all about tracking your symptoms, what methods and supplements you’re currently trying, and which ones are working (or not). 


This way, you aren’t caught in a loop of trying out fad diets and routines that may not be the best fit for you! 


Keeping helpful notes (like this article) in your journal can also give you a database for easy reference when you need to recall things.

Free 3 min Quiz 

PCOS? Which Type Do You Have?

About The Author - Tamika Woods

Tamika Woods | PCOS Author | Nourished Natural Health
Tamika Woods, Clinical Nutritionist (B.HS; B.Ed), Bestselling Author

For a decade, Tamika battled chronic acne, irregular cycles, mood swings, hair loss, painful periods, severe digestive issues and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). You name it - she's been there!

Tam was finally able to clear her skin, regulate her cycle, be free of period pain and fall pregnant naturally with her daughter in 2020. It took Tam 10 years and tens of thousands of dollars in tertiary education to get the answers she needed to get better.

She didn’t want other women to suffer as long as she did which is why she has dedicated her life to helping women in the same position as she was.

Tam helps women interpret what their bodies are trying to communicate through frustrating symptoms, and then develop a step-by-step roadmap to find balance again. She's here to help you get on track!

Tamika Woods is the author of the Amazon best seller PCOS Repair Protocol. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science degree (Nutritional Medicine) as well as a Bachelor of Education, graduating with Honours in both.

She is a certified Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) Educator and a certified member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA).

Related Products

Sale Off
Nourished Period + PMS Repair
$29.00
Sale Off
Nourished Hormone Detox + Digestion - Nourished Natural Health
$29.00
Trusted by 100,000+ women. Get a free gift instantly.
Get evidence-based nutritionist & naturopath support direct to your inbox. Get my 50+ page PCOS repair guide instantly. No spam, ever!
Trusted by 100,000+ women. Get a free gift instantly.
Get evidence-based nutritionist & naturopath hormone support direct to your inbox. Get my 50+ page PCOS repair guide instantly. No spam, ever!

About The Author - Tamika Woods

Tamika Woods | PCOS Author | Nourished Natural Health
Tamika Woods, Clinical Nutritionist (B.HS; B.Ed), Bestselling Author

For a decade, Tamika battled chronic acne, irregular cycles, mood swings, hair loss, painful periods, severe digestive issues and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). You name it - she's been there!

Tam was finally able to clear her skin, regulate her cycle, be free of period pain and fall pregnant naturally with her daughter in 2020. It took Tam 10 years and tens of thousands of dollars in tertiary education to get the answers she needed to get better.

She didn’t want other women to suffer as long as she did which is why she has dedicated her life to helping women in the same position as she was.

Tam helps women interpret what their bodies are trying to communicate through frustrating symptoms, and then develop a step-by-step roadmap to find balance again. She's here to help you get on track!

Tamika Woods is the author of the Amazon best seller PCOS Repair Protocol. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science degree (Nutritional Medicine) as well as a Bachelor of Education, graduating with Honours in both.

She is a certified Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) Educator and a certified member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA).

Related Products

Sale Off
Nourished Period + PMS Repair
$29.00
Sale Off
Nourished Hormone Detox + Digestion - Nourished Natural Health
$29.00