Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, often known as PCOS, is a very common hormonal condition in women. It affects around 1 in 10 women of reproductive age around the world. It happens when a woman’s ovaries or adrenal glands produce more male hormones than normal. It also often involves an imbalance in the hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. 

This imbalance can lead to a variety of symptoms 

Irregular/heavy or no menstrual periods
Excess hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, or thighs
Weight gain/loss
Acne or oily skin

Research suggests that women with PCOS are at higher risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Women with a family history of PCOS are more likely to develop it. To diagnose PCOS, your health care provider may do a physical exam, pelvic exam, blood tests, and an ultrasound.

There is no cure for PCOS, but lifestyle, good nutrition and medications may help control the symptoms. Treatments for infertility caused by PCOS may include medicines, surgery, and procedures such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Now, let’s chat nutrition! An eating routine rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals will aid in helping to manage PCOS. Due to the hormonal imbalance, women may develop insulin resistance. This means that the body finds it more difficult to use insulin to break down and move glucose. Research has shown that women with PCOS are more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions such as heart disease.

Here are some general tips that may help manage PCOS symptoms, but do seek advice from your Registered Dietitian for a personalized PCOS care plan. An RD will assess your health status, address your PCOS root cause through a variety of tests and provide recommendations to help you better manage your PCOS.

Eat regularly! Eating regularly may help regulate insulin levels. Honoring your hunger or fullness levels is very important. Becoming more aware of your satiety cues can reduce your risk of overeating or binge eating. Practice listening to your body more.

Get protein in. Protein options may include seafood like salmon, tuna, shrimp, cod, and poultry such as chicken, turkey breast. If you are looking for plant-based options, try beans, tofu, and tempeh too!

Add fiber-rich foods. Go for whole grains like oats, brown rice, sorghum, barley. Add them to salads, soups and stew too! Go for fruits and veggies, legumes and seeds.

Don’t miss out on antioxidants. Antioxidants work to decrease inflammation in the body. Be sure to include fruits and vegetables regularly in your eating routine. They are filled with tons of antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory.

Add gut supporting foods. The condition of your gut impacts your hormones. Fermented foods, particularly plain, natural yogurt, can benefit the microbiota by enhancing its function and reducing the abundance of disease-causing bacteria in the intestines. Prebiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and can be found in fruits, veggies and whole grains.

Include healthy fats! Healthy fats support hormone production, aids in vitamin absorption, and helps improve heart health and brain function. Try nuts, seeds, avocados and oily fish like salmon and sardines and vegetable oils.

Eat a balance of nutrients! Eating a balance of nutrients may help keep your body well nourished. Studies show consuming foods high in Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Iodine, Selenium, and Magnesium will greatly aid in improving insulin resistance, and decrease the severity of symptoms associated with PCOS. Before beginning any supplement regime, speak to your doctor and dietitian.

Also, consider move your body more and focusing on ways to manage your stress levels. Self-care is important too!

Have you tried any of the above?

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician and dietitian with any questions you may have regarding PCOS.