POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME (PCOS)
This service is only being offered in the Northern Suburbs.
PCOS is a complex endocrine condition characterised by high androgen levels, which is responsible for hair growth on the face, stomach or back, irregular or no menstrual cycle and insulin resistance.
Whether you are 16 or 36 when diagnosed, seek help from a Fertility Trained Dietician. This can help you manage your symptoms (acne, resistance to weight loss, depression, anxiety, liver conditions, unwanted hair growth and an irregular cycle) and help increase your chances to conceive naturally.
Although the contraceptive pill can alleviate symptoms, it does NOT resolve the underlying cause-which is insulin resistance.
Most PCOS patients are overweight, but a smaller percentage of women are actually a normal weight or even underweight. Regardless of your BMI, diet is a pivotal part of your treatment plan if you have PCOS.
What causes it?
Genetics and insulin resistance seems to be the most researched conclusion.
Carb-containing food is converted into glucose. A rise in glucose levels results in insulin secretion to help carry glucose into your cells to be used as energy. This is a normal metabolic process that then results in the normalisation of blood glucose levels again.
HOWEVER, this process is hindered if you are insulin resistant (in up to 80% of under-, normal, and overweight PCOS patients). Insulin levels increase and remain high to try and compensate for the increased glucose in the bloodstream that cannot enter the cells because the insulin pathway is not working effectively. High insulin levels result in fat being stored (especially in the stomach area), and androgen levels increase, which results in hair growth on the face, stomach, and back. Higher body fat and increased androgen levels further hinder insulin from working properly, making it a vicious cycle.
Why PCOS Patients struggle with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Emerging evidence suggests a relationship between the gut microbiome and PCOS. Women with PCOS may have a less biodiverse gut microbiome. High androgen levels, including total testosterone and hirsutism (excess hair growth), were linked with lower biodiversity in the gut microbiome.
How does PCOS affect fertility?
Metabolic imbalances result in hormone imbalance. This affects the ability to ovulate every month/ every 26-30 days
Increased BMI is associated with poor quality eggs and ovulation dysfunction with or without PCOS.
How can I manage my PCOS to fall pregnant naturally?
- If you are overweight, lose 5-10 % of your weight
- See a Fertility Trained Dietician calculate your carbohydrate intake according to your specific requirements
- A Low GI diet is very important with carbs spread evenly throughout the day- your Dietician can help with this
- Include healthy fats in your diet
Your Fertility Trained Dietician may request a blood test to check your vitamin D levels and supplement accordingly
- Inositol supplements in the correct ratio and dose may be effective
- In some patients, carb counting may be helpful