What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition characterized by having at least two out of the three following symptoms:
- elevated androgens
- an irregular hormone cycles
- an ultrasound indicating cysts on the ovaries
One of the most confusing things about the PCOS diagnosis is in the name. A woman may not even have cysts on her ovaries when diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Elevated male sex hormones, like testosterone, and an irregular cycle can meet the technical diagnostic criteria. Different women with PCOS can face different, prominent symptoms.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Mood changes
- Pelvic pain
- Chronic fatigue
The symptoms listed above do not necessarily mean a person has a PCOS diagnosis. Talk to your doctor or gynaecologist, if you suspect any issues with your hormones and would like to have your hormones tested. We at First Step IVF, the best clinic for IVF in Delhi, do a proper analysis and suggest the best possible method to improve your health and to beat PCOS. If you have recently been diagnosed, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can change in your diet to help manage your symptoms. There are a handful of dietary changes that can impact hormones, as well as options your doctor or gynaecologist can discuss with you.
Let’s discuss, from a nutrition standpoint, what you can do to help your hormones today.
A Quick View: Hormones Influencing PCOS
In short, there is still much research to be done in the realm of PCOS. A few terms you might come across in your research are: Androgens, Insulin, and Progesterone. These are the particular hormones that get skewed in individuals with PCOS, resulting in the symptoms mentioned above. Let’s first review what those terms mean:
A few PCOS terms:
- Androgens: Androgens are commonly known as male sex hormones but are also present in females in smaller amounts. When androgens, like testosterone, DHT, and DHEA, are elevated, this can lead to symptoms including acne, hirsutism, and thinning hair.
- Insulin: Insulin allows the body to absorb glucose (blood sugar) for energy. PCOS is commonly correlated with insulin resistance, which can increase risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Balancing blood sugar is one of the more “controllable” dietary interventions for PCOS, which we’ll talk more about below.
- Progesterone: Progesterone is a hormone that peaks after ovulation and lowers before menstruation. If Progesterone is off, and this peak does not occur, a woman’s cycle can get disrupted leading to irregular periods.
We CAN’T totally control all the hormones in our body. Genetics and other factors play a role in our hormonal predispositions. That said, what we CAN do is improve the symptoms of PCOS by tailoring nutrition to balance blood sugar and insulin and manage these particular hormones through helping our body naturally excrete waste.
In PCOS, due to hormonal fluctuations, it is common to experience frequent cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods. Research indicates that focusing on high fiber, whole grain carbohydrates is more helpful for the management of cravings as opposed to strictly reducing carbs. Need another reason to go high fiber? Fiber is good for “regularity” which naturally helps us excrete excess waste products the body doesn’t need. Furthermore, due to a propensity for insulin resistance, women with PCOS are commonly recommended a diet similar to that for diabetics: Carb controlled (spacing out carbohydrates evenly throughout the day), and small, frequent meals to balance blood sugars.
PCOS Diet Tips:
- Eat equal amounts of protein and carbohydrates.
- Eat foods low on the glycaemic index.
- Eat a high-fiber diet.
- Eat often.
- Quit coffee
- Eat organic foods
Herbs and supplements:
- Cod liver oil
- Licorice root
It is always advisable to notice the symptoms on time and take timely steps to deal with it. Delaying on the treatment always creates lots of trouble. At First Step IVF, we always advice our patients to first start taking a healthy diet and to opt for a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is a solution to most of the health issues. If you are also dealing with PCOS, then you must get in touch with the experts at First Step IVF.