PCOS and Dietary Tips

Dr. Preeti Tandon

Specialist Obstetrics & Gynaecology Laparoscopic & Robotic Surgeon.
MBBS, MD(Obs/Gynae), F.MAS(Laparoscopic Surgeon), FICOG
Diploma in Adv Gynae Endoscopy (France), Certified Robotic Surgery Training (USA). View profile...

PCOS and Dietary Tips

PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a condition that affects women. It is caused by an imbalance of a woman’s sex hormones which may lead to:

  • Menstrual cycle changes - irregular periods or no periods at all.
  • Skin problems such as acne, oily skin.
  • Increased hair growth on the face and body.
  • Loss of hair on head.
  • Trouble getting pregnant.
  • Being overweight, rapid increase in weight, difficulty losing weight.
  • Depression and mood swings.

The symptoms may vary from woman to woman. Some women have mild symptoms, while others are affected more severely by a wider range of symptoms.

PCOS affects up to 20 percent of women. The cause is not yet known. It may be genetic since women with PCOS are likely to have a mother or sister with PCOS. Women are usually diagnosed in their 20s or 30s, or sometimes when they are teenagers.

Get a diagnose first

PCOS can be confusing to a patient and is widely misunderstood and misdiagnosed. So the foremost step is to first seen your doctor, in case of suspicion and get the correct diagnose. Your doctor may prescribe a few tests like Ultrasound of the pelvis, and a complete Hormonal profile to confirm the diagnose and before starting you on medication.

Tips to deal with PCOS

  • Adopt healthy eating habits.By eating a diet low in carbohydrates and refined sugars you can help reverse the imbalances of glucose and insulin in your body that cause pcos symptoms to flare up.
    Choose better fats:limit foods that contain saturated and trans fats. instead of these choose smaller amounts of healthy unsaturated fats, which are found in vegetable oils like canola and olive oil, avocado.
    Increase Fibre: Eating more fibre can help maintain blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.
    Enjoy Protein: Make sure that you have some protein at every meal and snack. Instead of always choosing meat, try chicken, turkey or fish. Try vegetarian options such as legumes, soy or a quarter cup of nuts or seeds. Milk and low fat yogurt are also good sources of protein.
    Foods to Limit: Choose fewer foods that are high in sugar, salt ,refined flour and fat such as : white rice, pasta or bread, baked goods ,regular soda, candy &chocolate and salty snacks.
  • Fit exercise into your daily routine.Exercise has proven to boost metabolism and burn calories which helps to control insulin levels and, in turn, results in weight loss. Exercise can also help to stave off diabetes, a health risk for women in PCOS. Take exercise regularly (30 minutes at least three times a week). Start with 10 minutes of activity and work up to longer times as your body adjusts.
  • Avoid stimulants. Avoid coffee or other stimulants
  • Get regular physical exams.Women with PCOS have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. They are also more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and or high cholesterol. Meeting regularly with your doctor to monitor and treat these issues will help you stay healthy.
  • Women with PCOS are more prone towards experiencing depression and mood swings. Do something else that you really enjoy doing.
  • Ask questions With PCOS, there is no one size fits all solution to control the disease. Symptoms vary with each person so you really need to discuss with your gynecologist.
  • Get help if you are depressed.
  • Maintain a positive attitude.

Medical treatments aim to manage and reduce the symptoms or consequences of having PCOS. Medication alone has not been shown to be any better than healthy lifestyle changes (weight loss and exercise).

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