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Tips & Advice

4 Tips to Help Manage Your PCOS Symptoms While Traveling

As a hormonal disorder involving abnormally high levels of androgen, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is common among women of reproductive age. A population-based study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that among 177,527 women aged 16 to 40 years, 2,491 were diagnosed with PCOS. Moreover, the mean age for incident PCOS cases was 26.9 years, with the prevalence increasing over time in younger age groups and thereby likely affecting adult travelers.

PCOS also commonly manifests as a wide range of symptoms, including weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, excess facial and body hair, and acne. Such symptoms can be much more challenging to deal with when you’re traveling and away from home. Fortunately, the following tips ensure that travelers can enjoy a break from routine while still staying on top of their PCOS treatment and management.

1. Relax and manage stress levels

While you typically go on a vacation to relax and unwind, travel aspects such as planning, flight delays, and last-minute changes can quickly increase stress levels. However, travelers with PCOS must be careful not to let stressors take their toll on them because prolonged stress may cause cortisol dysfunction, which is otherwise linked to widespread inflammation and exacerbated PCOS symptoms.

Thus, wellness retreats are highly recommended to help PCOS patients maximize relaxation during their trip. These retreats provide activities like yoga, meditation, and massage to help lower stress levels and ensure holistic health and wellness. Mexico is currently among the most popular wellness destinations, with retreat resorts found in small, biodiverse towns like Todos Santos and tranquil beaches along the Caribbean coast.

2. Eat healthy

Individuals with PCOS are likely to gain weight, as the hormonal imbalance increases insulin resistance and causes the body to store excess blood sugar as fat. This PCOS-related weight gain can be compounded when you break away from your daily routine and indulge in food while traveling. Luckily, following a PCOS diet for weight loss doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice local gastronomy at your chosen destination.

You can still savor local dishes as long as they contain fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein from chicken, fish, lean meat, and legumes. Aside from limiting added sugars in carbonated drinks and baked goods, weight management medications like GLP-1s can help reduce cravings to make healthy eating and weight loss more attainable with PCOS.

3. Find time to exercise

It is also crucial for individuals with PCOS to exercise regularly, as physical activity can help regulate insulin levels, a hormone that may contribute to or worsen symptoms like inflammation or irregular periods. Although you may need help to stick to a fitness routine while traveling, there are many ways to stay active on the go.

For starters, it’s worth considering packing lightweight exercise equipment like resistance bands so you can workout at your accommodation at the beginning or end of each day. With adequate planning and research, you can also set aside time to hit a gym near the hotel or engage in outdoor physical activities like cycling or hiking.

4. Don’t forget about skincare

As previously mentioned, if you have PCOS you can also struggle with skin conditions like rashes, dark patches, and acne. These can be aggravated during travels as you acclimatize to a different timezone, sleep schedule, and weather patterns.

Nonetheless, it’s possible to address these skin issues effectively by taking note of appropriate skincare products for PCOS patients. When it comes to acne treatment, dermatologists recommend a mild facial cleanser, moisturizer, and topical ingredients like retinoids to reduce inflammation and prevent clogged pores. Remember to pack your skincare in travel-sized bottles to maintain your routine throughout your trip.

Overall, those with PCOS do not have to give up their love for traveling, as there are many effective ways to manage symptoms and balance healthy and adventurous travel.

Happy Travels!

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