The Holistic Health Coach’s Complete Guide to PCOS


Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) impacts one in ten women of reproductive age. In the US alone, that equals about five million women. As your health teaching enterprise grows, it’s possible that you’ll encounter a minimum of one shopper who has PCOS. 

As a health coach, it’s essential that you’re ready to help your purchasers in attaining their health and wellness targets, as well as to supporting them by health obstacles and empowering them to retain a common sense of well-being all through their lifetimes. 

For a few of your purchasers, PCOS may be a situation they contemplate an impediment to attaining their health targets, or they may merely need to study to handle it extra successfully. It may also be true that they’ve PCOS, however it isn’t of main concern to them.

In these totally different circumstances, how can health coaches be of help? What data can health coaches provide to their purchasers with PCOS to assist them really feel nicely and fulfilled? 

In this health coach’s information to PCOS, we give you a very powerful details about PCOS, and we evaluation the analysis behind how fitness, nutrition, weight, and stress can affect PCOS threat and signs. Finally, we provide concrete instruments and proposals for coaches to help their purchasers with PCOS.  


Key Information about PCOS_V2

What Is PCOS?

PCOS is a health situation that outcomes from an imbalance in hormones that help the power to have common menstrual cycles and get pregnant. 

In women with out PCOS, hormones ship alerts to the ovaries to launch an egg every month in the course of the ovulation interval of the menstrual cycle. 

In women with PCOS, lower-than-normal estrogen and progesterone ranges and higher-than-normal androgen ranges trigger the egg to both not develop because it ought to or not be launched into the fallopian tubes. The lack of ovulation adjustments ranges of estrogen, progesterone, follicular stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH). 

As a results of the results on egg improvement and launch into the uterus, a girl might have missed or irregular intervals. This can lead to infertility and the event of small fluid-filled sacs within the ovaries known as cysts. 

Common PCOS Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of PCOS embody: 

  • Irregular menstrual cycles, together with missed or irregular intervals. 
  • Excess hair on the face, together with on the chin, cheeks, and higher lip. This known as hirsutism and impacts up to 70% of women with PCOS. 
  • Chronic pimples on the face however might additionally prolong to the neck, chest, and higher again. 
  • Thinning hair or hair loss.
  • Weight achieve.
  • Difficulty shedding weight.
  • Darkening of the pores and skin, particularly the place the pores and skin creases. 
  • Skin tags, that are small extra pores and skin flaps.

While these are a few of the commonest signs, understand that each lady might expertise PCOS otherwise and in numerous severities. It can be doable for women not to expertise any signs in any respect. 

Causes of PCOS

The actual explanation for PCOS will not be recognized. There can be nothing {that a} lady can do to definitively forestall the event of PCOS. Some components that specialists know affect the event of the situation embody: 

  • Genetics: When a girl has a household historical past of PCOS, it’s extra possible that she, too, will develop PCOS. However, the precise gene linked to PCOS has not been recognized. 
  • High levels of androgens: While women naturally have low ranges of androgens, in high concentrations, they’re the hormones that management the looks of male traits, like male-pattern baldness and hair development on the face. Women with PCOS have larger androgen ranges than women with out PCOS. 
  • High levels of insulin: Many women with PCOS have higher-than-normal insulin ranges because of the cells’ incapability to reply usually to the hormone. 
  • High levels of the amino acid homocysteine: This is correlated with low ranges of vitamin B12 and elevated threat of coronary heart illness in women with PCOS. 
  • Environment: While analysis is still in the early stages, it’s clear that our our bodies are uncovered to endocrine disrupting chemical substances by the meals we eat, magnificence and cleansing merchandise we use, floor our food is grown in, and water we drink. Unfortunately, customers have little management over these components on a person degree, however authorities and private-sector rules can cut back our publicity. 
  • Other conditions: Women with coronary heart points, diabetes, weight problems, and autoimmune illnesses are extra possible to develop PCOS, particularly if there have been illness administration points. 

The end result of those components causes oxidative stress, which leads to free radicals within the body. Free radicals trigger cell harm and might worsen these components, leading to a vicious cycle of oxidative stress and free radical manufacturing and, finally, illness development. The vicious cycle will be slowed or stopped by way of life adjustments, like eating regimen and exercise, and a few medicines. 

Key Facts about PCOS

Here are some necessary facts to bear in mind concerning the organic affect of PCOS:

  • PCOS is the commonest explanation for infertility in women.
  • Women with PCOS are sometimes insulin resistant; their our bodies make insulin, however their cells have difficulties studying insulin to optimize glucose uptake. 
  • Women with PCOS are extra possible to develop different health issues, together with: 
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Gestational diabetes
    • Heart illness
    • High blood pressure
    • High LDL “bad” ldl cholesterol and low LDL “good” ldl cholesterol
    • Sleep apnea
    • Stroke
    • Depression and nervousness

As you evaluation the listing above, bear in mind one factor—an elevated threat will not be the identical factor as a analysis. 

In different phrases, in case your shopper has PCOS, by no means does it imply that they’ll additionally develop sort 2 diabetes, coronary heart illness, high blood pressure, and so forth. There are a number of components that decide their particular person threat for every of those circumstances, and it’s fully doable for a girl with PCOS to successfully handle the situation with out ever creating one other.

One of a very powerful components to lowering dangers of different health circumstances and enhancing wellness is by managing PCOS by a healthy way of life and following by with physician-prescribed remedy. 

What Might a PCOS Diagnosis Mean for Your Client?

There are two issues which are true of each PCOS analysis. 

  1. Even although there are a selection of indicators and signs that women will need to have to have a PCOS analysis, nobody experiences PCOS in the identical manner. 
  2. PCOS might have vastly totally different meanings for various women. When for one lady, it might need a minimal affect on her life; for an additional, it might elevate severe fears about fertility and the power to have kids. 

As health coaches, it’s essential that you just hold each of those in thoughts whenever you work with a shopper who has PCOS. 

PCOS might have an effect on your shopper’s well-being in lots of interconnected methods. We’ve summarized a few of the potential impacts PCOS might have in your shopper’s health and common well-being in three totally different areas: bodily impacts, social impacts, and emotional and psychological impacts. 

Physical Impact

The bodily affect of any situation refers to how a person experiences the organic results on how the body seems and feels. 

Most signs are reported as bodily impacts on the body. 

In phrases of PCOS, this may increasingly imply: 

  • Irregular menstrual cycles, together with heavy or very painful periods.  
  • Infertility.
  • Excess facial and body hair. 
  • Chronic pimples on the face however might additionally prolong to the neck, chest, and higher again. 
  • Thinning hair or hair loss.
  • Weight points, together with weight achieve or problem shedding weight not associated to eating regimen or exercise.
  • Skin points, together with darkening of the pores and skin, particularly the place the pores and skin creases, and pores and skin tags, that are small extra pores and skin flaps.

It is frequent for the bodily impacts of a situation to be the basis explanation for the results on different areas of a person’s life. In different phrases, signs that trigger ache or a unfavourable self-image might have unfavourable impacts on psychological health and even on a person’s willingness or capacity to socialize. 

Emotional and Mental Impact

The emotional and psychological affect of PCOS might come about in two primary methods. 

First, as a direct affect of hormonal adjustments caused by PCOS. For instance, the identical hormones that trigger heavy or painful intervals (dysmenorrhea) may additionally trigger changes in mood

Second, the expertise of the signs of PCOS might have an effect on how a girl sees herself, feels in her body, and carries out day-to-day actions. Here are a number of examples: 

  • A girl with PCOS eats healthy and exercises frequently, however she is gaining undesired weight. This will be irritating and affect motivation.
  • Your shopper has excessive ache round her interval. She might want to cancel her classes together with her health coach, eat irregularly, and have hassle sleeping. The ache causes main nervousness. 
  • A girl and her accomplice have been attempting to conceive for nearly a 12 months. She feels depressed that her PCOS is probably going the reason for her infertility. 
  • PCOS has precipitated the expansion of thick, darkish facial hair on a girl’s chin and cheeks. She waxes and shaves, however it causes ingrown hairs. The undesirable facial hair deeply impacts her self-image. 

These are only a few of the psychological and emotional impacts PCOS can have on women. The examples above should not uncommon circumstances. According to research, women with PCOS are extra anxious and depressed than the overall inhabitants, and women with PCOS who reported infertility usually report depression. 

One study discovered that of women with PCOS who reported depression, 66% have been attributable to unfavourable body picture. Thus, emotional help and bodily help ought to be intently linked when working with women with PCOS.

Lastly, PCOS might have an effect on a girl’s feminine identity and group identity. If fertility is linked to a girl’s core identification, and PCOS has had an affect on her fertility, she might face some trauma linked to identification adjustment. PCOS may additionally be at odds together with her core identification, or it might have taken an necessary place in her identification. 

Social Impact 

When a girl with PCOS has each bodily signs and impacts on her psychological health, her relationships are sometimes negatively impacted as nicely. 

If a girl has a unfavourable body picture, she is extra possible to really feel anxious when spending time together with her associates and going out in public. 

If a girl is depressed about her infertility, her relationship together with her accomplice might undergo, as she feels nervousness and guilt. 

What Health Coaches Can Do to Support a Client with PCOS

Once your shopper is recognized with a health situation and could also be present process remedy as directed by their doctor, health coaches will be essential in supporting their purchasers affected by PCOS by life adjustments and adopting way of life adjustments that may enhance their high quality of life and total health and well-being. 

Remember that there’s necessary data for you to bear in mind relating to what you may and might’t do as a health coach. Plainly, health coaches can not make suggestions that go in opposition to doctor remedy, diagnose, or deal with circumstances; you may, nonetheless, help purchasers in implementing way of life recommendation confirmed to help their situation as permitted by your shopper’s main care crew. 

More particularly, health and wellness coaches may help to facilitate key discussions with purchasers pertaining to 5 totally different areas: fitness, nutrition, weight loss, stress administration, and common health.

Remember, solely focus your teaching on PCOS administration in case your shopper has expressed this want. If your shopper mentions that she has PCOS in passing, however that’s not of concern to her and it’s not the first purpose she has come to you for help, it shouldn’t be the main focus of your wellness teaching plan. 

If you will have, collectively along with your shopper, recognized PCOS administration as a aim, you may work together with her in every of the areas by which health and wellness coaches are specialists. Below, we focus on every of those areas as they pertain to PCOS to help you with the data and proof to be of help in your purchasers. 


Download Guide: Key Recommendations Health Coach's Can Make to Clients with PCOS

Fitness and Exercise

Exercise is among the most useful way of life choices for women with PCOS. It may help to handle signs considerably and even enhance irritation and assist to handle hormone ranges. 

What the Research Says

  • Exercise is among the best methods to assist handle interval ache and dysmenorrhea, and analysis exhibits that it’s much more efficient than taking analgesics. 
  • The most well-studied benefits of exercise on women with PCOS embody improved ovulation, decreased insulin resistance, and weight loss. These advantages have been unbiased of the kind, frequency, or size of exercise. 
  • Regular exercise can reduce inflammation and improve autonomic function (coronary heart price and insulin ranges) in women with PCOS. 
  • However, women with PCOS are more likely to be sedentary than women with out PCOS and are unaware of the advantages of normal exercise for managing their signs. 
  • Exercise must be sustained consistently for women to profit from its results on PCOS signs. In different phrases, exercise will solely profit them so long as they stick with it. In the weeks after changing into sedentary, the signs will return to regular. 
  • Women who’re sedentary and have PCOS are more likely to become obese, which might complicate PCOS symptoms
  • Women who’ve PCOS and are overweight have extra problem shedding weight by exercise than non-obese women with PCOS. Research means that there are hormonal differences that affect weight loss in women with PCOS of larger BMIs.  

Key Exercise Recommendations for Clients Who Have PCOS

  • Build a practical exercise routine along with your shopper. The goal is to construct up to finishing up 150 minutes of reasonable cardio exercise per week, 75 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise per week, or a mix of the 2. They also needs to purpose to perform moderate-to-vigorous muscle training a minimum of 2 days per week. 
  • Go by a few of the primary analysis findings of the advantages of exercise for PCOS signs. Match your shopper’s targets with the analysis as a manner to inspire them to exercise frequently. 
  • If your shopper’s aim is weight loss, let her know that due to her PCOS, she might have extra hassle shedding weight by exercise. However, that isn’t to say that exercise isn’t benefiting her body in different methods, and be open to adjusting targets as crucial to exhibit your shopper’s development. It may additionally be useful to assemble non-weight loss targets. 


What a person chooses to eat has a major affect on metabolic hormones, a few of that are altered in women with PCOS. A larger understanding of the function of their eating regimen on their PCOS signs and development and the adoption of food decisions that assist to regulate hormones which are out of steadiness in women with PCOS are an necessary a part of the holistic remedy of PCOS. 

However, understand that the dietary routine for the remedy of PCOS, as for many different continual sicknesses, will not be a precise science. The analysis ought to be thought of collectively along with your purchasers preferences and prospects. 

What the Research Says

  • In common, the role of diet for serving to to handle PCOS is two-fold: to assist handle insulin and blood glucose ranges and to help in healthy weight loss, when wanted. When a dietary routine is profitable in doing this, the chance for associated continual illnesses, like sort 2 diabetes, heart problems, and sure cancers, can be decreased. 
  • Researchers have summarized research to make suggestions on macronutrient consumption and food decisions for women with PCOS: 
    • Fat ought to be restricted to lower than 30% of whole energy, and saturated fats ought to be restricted. 
    • Carbohydrates ought to contribute about 45-55% of the eating regimen initially, and most of these energy ought to come from advanced carbohydrates. 
    • A eating regimen high in protein can enhance insulin sensitivity and satiety. Aim for about 20% of the energy to come from protein, and improve over time. 
    • Limit or keep away from purple meat, and select fish or plant-based proteins as an alternative. 
  • Some analysis means that women with PCOS ought to eat smaller, frequent meals all through the day to assist handle insulin ranges. 
  • Other analysis suggests the advantages of intermittent fasting for insulin ranges. 
  • Plant-based diets are efficient for serving to to handle insulin resistance, one of many hallmark results of PCOS, and so they may help to promote healthy weight loss whereas additionally preventing nutrient deficiencies.  
  • The inhabitants of micro organism within the intestine can have an effect on hormone steadiness. Probiotics and prebiotics may help to help intestine health and hormone health. 
  • Dietary changes instructed for stopping and managing sort 2 diabetes are very related to people who ought to be really useful to women with PCOS. This consists of the adoption of a eating regimen wealthy in dietary fiber, low in refined carbohydrates, wealthy in omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids, and low in trans and saturated fat. These diets also needs to be wealthy in meals with anti-inflammatory compounds like fiber, omega-3, and vitamin E. 
  • Vitamin D deficiency is frequent in women with PCOS, and it might play a job in exacerbating PCOS signs. 
  • Inositol (vitamin B7) deficiencies are additionally recognized to exacerbate signs of PCOS.  Inositol supplementation has been proven to be efficient in some women for managing PCOS
  • Women with PCOS have a tendency to have high levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which is correlated with the next threat for coronary heart illness. Homocysteine ranges will be regulated with vitamin B12 supplementation. 

Key Nutritional Recommendations for Clients with PCOS

  • Recommend your purchasers eat a wide range of colourful, entire meals that help hormone health and base their eating regimen on unadulterated meals
  • Focus on understanding your shopper’s cultural, social, and gastronomic priorities when you contemplate analysis. All way of life suggestions ought to be culturally acceptable to obtain long-term success. 
  • Note that there are a number of dietary methods that will profit your shopper with PCOS. Consider the analysis talked about and work along with your shopper to determine a dietary routine that shall be best. 
  • Remind your shopper how refined carbohydrates and saturated and trans fat worsen insulin resistance, so these ought to be restricted, when doable.  
  • Suggest nutritious, low-cost, and flavorful food and meal choices throughout the suggestions you present. 
  • Suggest meals which are high in anti-inflammatory compounds, like omega-3, vitamin E, and fiber. 
  • Explore whether or not a plant-based eating regimen composed primarily of healthy unsaturated fat and plant-based proteins and managed quantities of advanced carbohydrates is real looking in your shopper. A well-balanced plant-based eating regimen that’s complemented with supplementation might assist to cut back insulin resistance and hold your shopper nourished. 
  • Discuss the possibility of supplementation along with your shopper’s main care doctor to assist handle a few of the underlying components of PCOS pathogenesis. Make positive to learn this data about what you want to know earlier than recommending a complement. 

Weight Loss

Not your entire purchasers with PCOS might have the aim of shedding weight. In truth, women with PCOS might want to achieve muscle weight whereas being detached to body fats. Unless your affected person has been knowledgeable that their weight is affecting their PCOS signs, fitness and exercise ought to be prioritized over common weight loss, as weight loss is often the results of an efficient and directed nutrition and exercise routine. 

What the Research Says

  • Obesity will not be possible a explanation for PCOS, however it does exacerbate some of the symptoms.
  • Obesity in women with PCOS is commonly paired with glucose intolerance, which compounds the results. 
  • Even when a person has a standard BMI, they might nonetheless have abdominal obesity, which is linked to insulin resistance. 
  • The next body fats is related to larger ranges of androgenic hormones. Androgenic hormones are linked to signs like pimples, facial hair, and body hair. Weight loss, along with pharmacological remedy, helps to enhance the quality of life of women with PCOS. 
  • In women whose aim is to enhance fertility, women who misplaced weight through way of life modification may help to improve the outcome of pharmacological remedy. 
  • As little as a 5% weight loss might be useful for the insulin resistance and PCOS signs and health results. 

Key Weight Loss Recommendations for Clients with PCOS

  • When a person with PCOS is obese or overweight, it might exacerbate their PCOS signs. Weight loss might assist them handle these signs. 
  • Look at belly weight problems (through waist circumference) and body fats proportion, as BMI will not be all the time an correct indicator of body distribution. 
  • If weight loss is a aim that the shopper, the first doctor, and the health coach agree on, it ought to be achieved by adopting a healthy eating regimen and exercise. 
  • Clients ought to keep away from short-term fad diets adopted to obtain weight loss, as the results are short-lived. 
  • Work with purchasers to undertake sustainable way of life modifications. These will possible end in regular weight loss that’s straightforward to keep over a lifetime. 
  • Remind purchasers that each person ought to be checked out individually. While weight loss is one component that may assist them to handle signs, there isn’t a “goal weight” the place they’ll start to see enhancements. Remind them that the last word aim is to handle PCOS signs and enhance health, not the weight loss in itself. This implies that they might see enhancements in hormone ranges and PCOS signs earlier than reaching their aim weight. Make an effort to acknowledge these enhancements.

Stress Management

What the Research Says

Key Recommendations to Offer Clients to Help Manage PCOS-Related Stress

  • Be conscious of your shopper’s self-image, no matter BMI or weight achieve. All women with PCOS are extra liable to having a unfavourable body picture, and this has an affect on psychological health and sociability. 
  • Help your shopper construct a daily exercise routine, as this may help your shopper handle her nervousness. 
  • If your shopper is dealing with self-image points due to hair loss, you may counsel different hair choices, together with wigs, hairpieces, semi-permanent options which are secured to the scalp, and everlasting options like hair implants. 
  • Suggest your shopper join with different women who’re affected by PCOS on social media and on-line dialogue boards. If you will have a number of purchasers with PCOS, it’s your decision to work with a licensed psychological health specialist to kind a help group. 
  • Suggest yoga or meditation when purchasers are experiencing nervousness due to PCOS. 
  • If you discover a shopper has extreme signs of depression and nervousness, and they aren’t being successfully managed with way of life adjustments and a physician-supported remedy routine, you must suggest that your shopper see knowledgeable psychological health specialist. 

Other Recommendations 

Here are another suggestions you may make to your shopper for managing a few of the signs related to PCOS and avoiding PCOS development. Always guarantee that these are in-line along with your shopper’s main care doctor’s remedy plan. 

  • Acupressure: Research exhibits that acupressure has a moderate effect on lowering interval ache, which will be fairly intense in women with PCOS. 
  • Heat: Like acupressure, applying heat to the cramping space has a reasonable impact on assuaging menstrual ache. 
  • Supplements: Some herbal supplements, like panax ginseng, punica granatum, curcuma longa, cocus nucifera, paeonia lactiflora, and others, could also be thought of as a part of a holistic remedy of PCOS. Additionally, nonetheless, no one with PCOS ought to take natural dietary supplements with out consulting with their physician first, as some dietary supplements might counteract with or compound different remedies they might be taking.  

Main Takeaways

PCOS is frequent in women, and it may possibly have an effect on a number of areas of a girl’s health and well-being. Women with PCOS ought to be seeing a doctor specialist to monitor the signs and results of PCOS and to decide if pharmacological remedy is critical. However, way of life modifications are thought of essential for the long-term administration of PCOS and for enhancing the effectiveness of pharmacological remedy. 

Lifestyle modifications are sometimes far more troublesome for individuals to undertake than remembering to take a capsule. Health and wellness coaches are particularly educated to help their purchasers in making efficient way of life adjustments in a manner that works greatest for them. If your shopper would love your help with their PCOS, you may facilitate discussions with them about how their PCOS is affecting their body and thoughts, and the way way of life modifications, like common exercise, discovering emotional help, and adopting a plant-rich eating regimen might assist to enhance signs and total well-being. 


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