February 10, 2014

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

      Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that can affect a woman's hormone levels, menstrual periods, and ovulation. This is usually due to hormonal imbalance which is caused by insulin Resistance-related obesity. It affects approximately 5%-10% of all females and is one of the leading causes of infertility in them. Women with PCOS often experience the following symptoms:

  • Obesity and trouble losing weight
  • Excessive hair growth and skin problems (acne)
  • Infertility and/or irregular periods
      Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and obesity are common and complicated disorders that are influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Obesity is a prominent feature of PCOS; at least 50% of patients with PCOS are obese. Obesity appears to exert an additive, synergistic effect on the manifestations of PCOS, independently impacting insulin sensitivity, risk for diabetes, and adverse cardiovascular profile. There is evidence for the benefit of weight reduction in the management of PCOS in the obese patient. Weight loss remains a primary intervention in treatment of this disorder.

PCOS diet tips to lose weight

PCOS Diet TIP 1: Stop deprivation dieting

      The real definition of “diet” means nourishment or nutrition. This implies health and wellness—not starvation. Yet so many popular diets today are associated with pain and distress. On the contrary, healthy eating can and should be enjoyable.
       Visit your local health food store for ideas on how to incorporate delicious natural foods like lentils, vegetables, and local, organic ingredients into your daily meals. You can also find healthy PCOS recipes at the American Diabetes Association.

PCOS Diet Tip 2: Control your blood sugar

      Weight gain with PCOS can be linked to abnormalities in insulin and glucose metabolism. Insulin’s main job is to control your blood sugar. But insulin also signals your body to store fat. High levels of insulin increase the production of androgens, which can worsen PCOS symptoms.
      With insulin resistance (IR), your blood sugar levels rise in spite of high levels of insulin. Eventually type 2 diabetes may result. Yet positive changes in diet and exercise may postpone the development of diabetes. A PCOS diet reducing the amount of sugary carbs that you eat may offer the weight-loss benefits you seek.
      To make these healthy PCOS diet changes, cut out white breads, pasta, potatoes, cereals, and some fruits and snack foods. Replace those items with healthy PCOS diet options like the following:
  • Nutrient dense, high-fiber carbs 
  • Foods high in protein (lean meats, legumes)
  • Foods containing healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, fish)
      Ask your doctor or a registered dietitian for a list of foods to try and a list of foods to avoid. And try to eat mini-meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels even.

PCOS Diet Tip 3: Exercise daily

       Exercise is a perfect accompaniment to a PCOS diet, especially for women with PCOS and insulin resistance or type2 diabetes. Check in with your doctor first, and once you have the go-ahead, get moving. Regular exercise is wonderful and beneficial in the following way:
  • Regulates blood glucose levels
  • Offers a mood boost
  • Increases endorphins (the body’s natural opioids)
  • Gets us in top physical shape for pregnancy
  • Increases weight loss
       Also, being physically fit may help you carry a healthy baby to term and have an uncomplicated delivery.

PCOS Diet Tip 4: Evaluate your relationship with food

      To lose weight on a PCOS diet, reframe your thinking to eating to live, not living to eat. Choose foods that are filling and nutrient dense. Instead of party food, junk food, or comfort food that only adds more fat and pounds, eat food that will nourish your body. If you have an unhealthy relationship with food, like binge eating, purging, or starving yourself, help is available.

PCOS Diet TIP 5: Ask about metformin

       Metformin (Glucophage) is a drug that was developed for type 2 diabetes and is often prescribed “off label” for obesity and PCOS. Metformin may help women seeking a PCOS diet by offering the following benefits:
  • Helping with weight loss
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving cholesterol levels
  • Decreasing levels of androgens
  • Restoring normal periods
  • Improving sensitivity to fertility drugs

Good Foods

  • High fibre foods prove to be beneficial as they tend to be less processed and usually have a lower GI (glycemic index). This helps to prevent constipation. 
  • Consuming non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, artichoke, leafy greens, asparagus, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes may provide added benefits of low carbohydrate content and high fibre.  
  • Fruits such as berries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, have the highest fibre content. 
  • Also, foods high in protein such as lean meats, legumes and foods containing healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts and fish help in a balanced PCOS diet.
  • Incorporate ginger and turmeric in your diet as they are helpful in dealing with uterine problems. Ginger has been shown to kill ovarian cancer cells. Try to drink ginger tea every day. Ginger slices steeped in hot water, some honey and lemon is a delicious drink and will slowly shrink your cysts.

  • Avoid foods that are known to make ovarian cysts worse, e.g. coffee. Also avoid those that mimic female hormones, e.g. soy. Even common chemicals such as those in perfumes and air fresheners are oestrogenic. Our skin absorbs these chemicals readily, so go as natural and chemical-free as you can.
  • The aim is to get your diet/lifestyle alkaline – which is the natural, healthy state of the body. Body will do a much better job of dealing with the cysts if it is in a healthy, alkaline state. In addition to lowering blood sugar, Apple Cider Vinegar also detoxifies and balances PH levels.
  • Avoid acid-causing foods like fast food and packaged/processed foods. Also, cut down on dairy and red meat consumption and opt for fish over chicken whenever possible.
  • Black strap molasses is a good source of manganese which is beneficial in controlling in PCOS.
  • Weight loss is important especially abdominal weight loss is critical.
  • Do hot castor oil packs on your lower abdomen. This will promote healing and reduce inflammation. Castor oil is so good at helping uterine problems that it’s not unusual to feel some light “fluttering” in the left or right ovaries when the pack is on. 
  • Fear and stress are acid-producing emotional states. In contrast, feelings of love, gratitude and happiness are alkaline-producing states, which promote healing in our bodies. So stay happy and healthy.


                         Attain Fertility, Livestrong, NCBINCBI-2 ,

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