Drinking Hot Water For PCOS: Does It Help?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a chronic condition that affects the hormonal levels of women. PCOS results in a hormonal imbalance that leads to symptoms such as weight gain, obesity, irregular menstruation, difficulty to conceive, unwanted hair growth, acne, hair loss, anxiety and depression. It also increases the risk for conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, there currently is no cure for PCOS. However, the symptoms can be managed, and your doctor can help you find the best treatment plan for your specific situation.
Many women are looking for natural ways to cure PCOS, and drinking hot water is one of the solutions that is sometimes mentioned. But does it really help for PCOS? Let’s find out.
PCOS is a chronic condition that essentially affects your hormones and metabolism. It is characterized by increased levels of androgen (“male” hormones), irregular menstruation, and in some cases the presence of “polycystic” ovaries. But actually, these are not “cysts”, but follicles in your ovaries. All these symptoms might help your doctor understand if you have PCOS or not.
Symptoms of PCOS
The symptoms of PCOS can vary a lot between women. Some women are struggling with weight gain and acne, but have regular menstruation. Some women have a normal weight, but are struggling with irregular menstruation and infertility. And up to 50% of women might not have any symptom at all, or not have any of the classic symptoms of POCS.
PCOS can have the following symptoms:
- Hirsutism (excess male-pattern hair growth)
- Weight gain or obesity
- Irregular periods, or no periods at all
- Hair Loss
- Mood swings
- Fatigue (Tiredness)
- Anxiety and Depression
Also, there are several conditions that are linked to PCOS, such as type 2 diabetes, heart problems and problems with high blood pressure and sleep apnea
Causes and Risk Factors
It is not clear yet what causes PCOS. Many believe that both the environment and and the genetics (familial) traits play a role. Most experts agree that PCOS runs in the family, which means that if your mother is affected by it, you are more likely to be affected by it as well. They also believe that some factors might trigger the condition, such as diet, medications, stress and other lifestyle factors.
Diagnosis of PCOS
PCOS is diagnosed by looking at the Rotterdam Criteria, a set of criteria where two out of three need to be fulfilled for it to be diagnosed as PCOS. These criteria include:
- Irregular menstruation or no menstruation at all
- Elevated levels of androgens (such as testosterone)
- Polycystic Ovaries on the ultrasound scan
Your doctor will perform a series of tests to determine if you have PCOS or if you have other medical conditions that mimic the syndrome. These tests can include:
- Asking about your medical history
- Examining your Body
- Blood tests to measure androgen levels and other hormones
- A transvaginal ultrasound to check for polycystic ovaries
Your doctor may also look for other conditions such as thyroid dysfunctions, tumors of the adrenal gland, Cushing syndrome, as they could lead to similar symptoms as PCOS and have to be ruled out for the diagnosis.
Treatment Options for PCOS
Once you have received a diagnosis of PCOS, your doctor will discuss possible treatment options with you. They include lifestyle modifications (such as an improved diet and weight loss), medications (such as the birth control pill, anti-diabetic and anti-androgen medication) and other therapies. Even though there currently is no cure for PCOS, these treatment options can help you with managing the symptoms. Together with your doctor, you can find what works best for you.
Your doctor will also discuss how you can best manage your long-term health risk. As PCOS is associated with several conditions such as infertility, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and endometrial cancer, it’s a good idea to have a good schedule in place on how to best monitor for them with preventive medical appointments.
Can Hot Water Help Treat PCOS Symptoms?
Water is very important for a large number of bodily functions. Therefore, it is crucial to consume enough water on a daily basis. Some people might mention the benefits of hot water on PCOS, such as a positive effect on the digestive system, a boost for your metabolism for weight loss, stress relief, benefits for your skin and hair. While the fact that drinking plenty water is definitely good for your overall health, there is no scientific evidence that drinking hot water can help treat PCOS symptoms. It can support the healthy function of your body, but does not do wonders for your PCOS symptoms.
If you are concerned that you might not be drinking enough water during the day, discuss it with your dietitian on how to best keep track of your water intake and how to encourage yourself to drink more water every day.
Getting diagnosed with PCOS can be a lot, and may leave you with a lot of open questions. It’s a good idea to discuss all these questions and concerns with your doctor, and put a treatment plan into place that works for you and your specific situation.