Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition where women’s hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, are out of balance causing ovarian cysts to grow. These cysts can cause fertility problems; although it is not impossible to get pregnant, just difficult due to irregular ovulation.
Apart from an irregular menstrual cycle there can also be problems with heart function and appearance, with an overgrowth of hair on some body parts, thinning of head hair, deeper voice and smaller breasts – typically male characteristics. There are also other symptoms such as acne, pelvic pain, anxiety and/or depression.
Treatment for PCOS is aimed at the symptoms presented. First things first, a diagnosis must be made. This is done by carrying out certain blood tests and ruling out other health problems. The doctor should also do an internal examination and order a scan of the pelvic region, especially the ovaries.
Symptoms can be controlled through regular exercise and diet. Just a 10% weight loss can help correct PCOS. As well as regular exercise, a diet that limits carbohydrates is recommended. Carbohydrates cause the body to release more insulin and because high insulin levels are one of the main characteristics of PCOS, sufferers will want to reduce the amount of insulin in their bodies. However, not all carbohydrates are the same.
For instance, carbohydrates in white bread and soda or other drinks containing high levels of sugar will cause your body to release a great deal of insulin. But carbohydrates containing fibre and with little sugar, such as grain breads, fruit and most vegetables require less insulin. So a diet that considers these points will be one that makes you feel better because it can control the symptoms of the condition.
You don’t even have to buy special food or shop at a specialty store. Simply limit cakes and biscuits, sodas, potato and squash. If you eat much rice, choose brown rice because white rice is higher in carbohydrates. Pasta and bread should be wholemeal. Don’t choose fat-free products as they may be high in sugar. When purchasing anything in a packet, look at the label to see how much sugar and carbs are in it. You may be surprised to find even food touted as ‘healthy’ is not that healthy at all.
A healthy, balanced diet is one that includes grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat and healthy fats. Avoid potatoes, corn and peas as they are very starchy and sweet. Apart from controlling your insulin levels, a healthy diet will help to reduce your weight, if you are overweight, and give you increased energy levels, so it is well worth pursuing.
However, don’t go overboard and avoid all carbohydrates as there are many nutrients in them that the body needs.
Steering clear of refined and added sugars will also help reduce insulin levels. Sugar lurks in foods such as salty biscuits and bread where you would not expect to find it. That’s why it is important to read the labels and note how much is in each serving. Also, take note of how much a serving is, so you know exactly what you are eating.
We’re all different and react differently to diets depending on a wide variety of factors from the food tolerances we have to the types of healthy bacteria we have in our colons.
It’s important to consult with your physician about finding the right balance in your diet to combat PCOS, talk to our professional team today 07 3088 9005.