By Beth Rush
There’s something incredibly satisfying about travelling. It offers a break from routine and a chance to explore new horizons. But for those suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a new adventure often comes with anxiety in managing their condition while away from home.
While balancing the thrill of discovery with the need for routine can be challenging, it’s not impossible. With some planning and strategies, you can wander freely without compromising your health. Here’s how to make every journey a seamless experience, even with PCOS in tow.
1. Plan Ahead for Healthy Eating
Diet plays a pivotal role in managing PCOS symptoms. A balanced diet, rich in whole foods and low in processed items, can significantly alleviate PCOS symptoms.
Around 70% of women with PCOS can benefit from a low glycemic index diet because it includes foods that slowly release energy, keeping one full and maintaining energy levels.
The best way to identify healthier options for your PCOS management plan is to research the local dishes of your destination before you set out on your journey. For example, visiting a region known for its seafood will likely lead you to find many PCOS-friendly dishes that are also delicious.
Merging your PCOS diet with the local cuisine can be both an enlightening and delightful experience. Opting for a food tour at the start of your trip can offer a deep dive into PCOS-friendly local dishes. This lets you indulge in the local gastronomy and ensures your choices align with your health objectives.
2. Stay Active
For those with PCOS, staying physically active is critical in maintaining good overall health, influencing everything from cardiovascular function to mental health.
Regular exercise can help regulate insulin levels, a hormone closely linked with PCOS. Elevated insulin levels can exacerbate PCOS symptoms. Being physically active can help you keep insulin in check and alleviate some PCOS-related symptoms.
Before travelling, research the destination for walking trails, local gyms, or yoga studios. This way, you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine seamlessly.
Many hotels offer fitness centers. Make the most of these facilities to ensure you get your daily dose of exercise. You can also engage in local activities that require physical exertion, such as dance classes, water sports or hiking.
Despite the challenges associated with traveling with PCOS, staying active can significantly help manage it. When you integrate physical activity into your travel itinerary, you enjoy seeing the sights and sounds of a new place while maintaining your health.
3. Prioritize Rest & Relaxation
People with PCOS should not ignore the importance of rest and relaxation when travelling. Elevated cortisol levels, commonly known as the stress hormone, have been linked to PCOS. Chronic stress can exacerbate PCOS symptoms, making management more challenging.
It’s common to experience various stressors while travelling, from acclimating to new time zones to facing unfamiliar territory. Relaxation activities can help reduce cortisol levels, thus slowing down PCOS progression.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day — especially if you’re exploring outdoor locations — and plan to allow for breaks. An afternoon nap or a quiet evening in your hotel room are great options.
If your travel destination has beaches, forests or gardens, spend some time there. Nature has a calming effect and can help in reducing stress.
4. Manage Your Supplements & Medication
For those with PCOS, travelling can be exciting, but it requires a bit more preparation, particularly when managing treatment plans.
Always pack more medication and supplements than you think you’ll need. Unexpected delays, lost luggage, or other unforeseen circumstances can extend your trip. Having an extra supply ensures you will get all the doses.
Some medications require specific storage conditions, like a cool environment. Research the storage requirements of your medications and invest in appropriate storage solutions, such as insulated medication.
When we’re out of our routine, forgetting to take our medications is easy. Use your phone or watch to set daily reminders, ensuring you never miss a dose.
Before travelling, you should also research pharmacies at your destination. If you run out or lose your medication, you’ll know where to go. Additionally, some countries might restrict certain medications, so being informed is essential.
Discuss with your health care provider. They can guide you on adjusting your medication if needed, especially if you’re crossing time zones.
5. Skincare on the Go
One of PCOS’s most visible manifestations is skin-related issues. When travelling, the challenges of maintaining a consistent skincare routine can intensify. However, it’s possible to manage these skin concerns effectively with the right approach.
A person with PCOS may experience breakouts, hyperpigmentation, and other skin problems. The hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS can cause the skin to produce more oil, which causes acne and other skin problems. Opt for skincare that is all-natural and non-toxic.
Organic products are gentler on the skin and contain fewer harmful chemicals, which can exacerbate PCOS-related skin conditions. In addition, many natural products contain anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe irritated skin.
Bring travel-sized versions of your favourite skincare products. This ensures you won’t disrupt your routine.
Striking the Right Balance of Healthy & Adventurous Travel
Travelling offers a unique blend of experiences, from tasting local delicacies to exploring unfamiliar terrains. For those managing PCOS, the journey might come with its challenges, but it’s entirely possible to strike a balance.
The essence of travel isn’t just about reaching a destination— it’s about cherishing every moment of the journey. As you pack your bags and set out on your next adventure, remember to enjoy every bit of it, keeping your health in check.