POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME
Being diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can be quite daunting. The good news, however, is that dietary intervention has been proven to be a massive and very successful part of the treatment regimen.
Diet is something that will take some determination but, luckily, it is not costly compared to the treatment of other disease conditions. Also, it is one of the very few disease conditions where you as the patient has some power that you can take into your own hands to improve symptoms (weight gain, bold hair pattern, unusual hair growth on face/ breast/ stomach / back, ovulation irregularity, amenorrhea, infertility).
Contrary to popular belief a restrictive diet with load of low fat and fat free products will not be successful in terms of symptom alleviation or weight loss in these patients.
Whether you are a normal weight, overweight or obese you should follow a good quality diet low in sugar and refined starches. Healthy fats should be part of your diet and regular physical activity is extremely important. The combination of dietary changes, medical intervention (in some patients) and physical activity will result in a normal menstrual cycle and will increase your chances of falling pregnant.
The media provides us with multiple solutions- the ‘keto diet’ OR ‘low carb diet’/ ‘no dairy’ / ‘no gluten’/ ‘banting’. Please be cautious to jump on the band wagon. PCOS needs a very specific and delicate treatment regime and should NOT be confused with a standard ‘healthy’/ weight loss / fad diet.
- Irregular or absent periods
- Excessive hair particularly on the face, chest or stomach
- Thinning of scalp hair or male pattern hair growth/ baldness
- Difficulty in maintaining a healthy body weight
- Fertility problems
Long term side effects associated with PCOS:
- High levels of fats in the blood- cholesterol
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- Overweight (in particular, having lots of fat around your middle)
Supplementation in PCOS - in accordance with your
dietician and doctor
In one study, 4 grams of inositol and 400 mcg of folic acid taken daily for 3 months induced ovulation in 62% of treated women – It is important that this recommendation has been given by your Doctor/Dietician. Do NOT supplement on your OWN under ANY circumstances.
A pro-inflammatory state in PCOS woman is due also by the elevated expression of advanced glycation end products. These compounds mediate the production or ROS & pro-inflammatory cytokines. Irani et al., 2014 demonstrated that in a woman with PCOS supplementation of vitamin D increased RAGE, which bonded serum AGE thereby reducing the inflammatory response. Thus, vitamin D exerts an anti-inflammatory action in PCOS.
Lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) together with the correct medication and supplementation will help improve PCOS symptoms and are very important to help prevent developing heart disease and diabetes in the future.