What is PCOS?

PCOS is a common endocrine disorder, affecting how an individual’s ovaries work, impacting a range of hormones. Some of the characteristics of PCOS are:

  • irregular periods – the ovaries do not release eggs (ovulation) regularly
  • excess androgen – there is an excess of “male hormones” resulting in excess facial and body hair
  • polycystic ovaries – the ovaries are enlarged and contain numerous sacs filled with fluid (follicles) surrounding the eggs.

How do I know if I have PCOS?

To be diagnosed you must meet at least 2 of the above characteristics.

Common symptoms of PCOS?

Common symptoms of PCOS can vary between individuals – some people may experience them, other may not even have them. They include: irregular periods, difficulty getting pregnant, excessive hair growth, weight gain, thinning hair on the head and acne.

PCOS management

Unfortunately, the exact cause of PCOS is unknown and, therefore, there is no “cure”. However, there are multiple ways to manage PCOS symptoms. The first thing to do is think about lifestyle modification, such as dietary changes, movement, stress management and sleep. With the support of a healthcare professional you may also consider medication and supplementation.

Dietary recommendation for PCOS

If you can try to include all key macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat) at every meal. This helps to stabilize blood glucose levels and manage insuline resistance – plus, it keeps you satisfied for longer.

Some evidence suggest choosing more wholegrain carbohydrates and reduce consumption of white carbohydrates. Consuming more wholegrains will increase the amount of fibre in your diet and this has been found to improve fasting insuline and glucose, as well as having a positive effect on insuline resistance and sensitivity.

Another helpful dietary recommendation is to add more food rich in omega-3 to your diet, such as salmon, flaxseeds, walnuts and chia seeds. They have been found to reduce chronic inflammation linked to PCOS.

Think about your eating habits

What you eat but also the way you eat can support both your mental and physical health, which are crucial for managing PCOS symptoms. The aim when it comes to managing PCOS is to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation.

Let’s see how:

  1. Firstly, it is essential to eat regularly. This will ensure you stabilize your blood sugar levels and it helps with insulin resistance and maintaining energy levels stable. It can also help two reduce eventual cravings. Try to eat every 3-4 hours when possible.
  2. Secondly, it is essential to eat enough. Most of the time we tend to restrict our food intake which can result in increased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), contributing to chronic inflammation.

When trying to approach dietary changes, try to be flexible and think about small steps and sustainable ways to do it. Find changes that work best for you.

As there is no one size that fits all approach, if you need personalised support, I can help. Contact me via email francesca@fsnutritionist.com or book a free discovery call.