Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects 1 in 10 women in America. The cause of this common hormonal disorder is unknown, however factors like excess insulin, low-grade inflammation, and excess androgen may play a role in the severity of symptoms. Complications of PCOS may include infertility, liver disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, endometrial cancer, and more.
While there isn’t one cure-all diet for PCOS, it is widely accepted that engaging in healthy eating behaviors can decrease the severity of some PCOS symptoms by reducing your body’s insulin resistance. Experts recommend a balanced diet for patients with PCOS, meaning that they should eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and proteins like lean meats, poultry, seafood, or eggs.
This diet can benefit PCOS patients because this includes incorporating more foods into your diet that are low on the glycemic index (GI). These foods take longer to digest and absorb, which helps raise your blood sugar levels at a slow rate, meaning that your pancreas doesn’t have to over-exert itself to produce insulin. Some also believe that this diet can limit chronic inflammation, which researchers believe may be linked to PCOS.
It is a good idea to include regular exercise into your daily routine if you suffer from PCOS, as exercise allows your body to use glucose for energy rather than requiring your pancreas to produce insulin to break it up. There is no one specific workout that can benefit you most, but health experts across the board believe that adults should get 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week (30 minutes, 5 times a week) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week (15 minutes, 5 times a week).
For patients with PCOS who are overweight or obese, following these guidelines may lead to losing weight, which can also help reduce the severity of PCOS symptoms. It is believed that symptoms may become worse in patients that are overweight or obese. However, there is no specific number on the scale or BMI chart that can guarantee symptoms improve. There is also no guarantee that following a regimented diet and exercise plan will lead to weight loss, especially in patients with PCOS and other diseases that are linked to insulin resistance.
The most important thing to keep in mind when making lifestyle changes for PCOS is to consult your doctor. Your physician will be able to help you work out a plan that can be more specific to your body, lifestyle, and complications.
If you or a loved one are suffering from PCOS, consider clinical research to help. Pharmasite Research is now enrolling in a PCOS clinical trial in Baltimore, Maryland. To learn more or volunteer, follow this link, or fill out the form below: