Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the main endocrine disorders affecting women in the reproductive years.
Symptoms can include:
Enhancing the immune system.
As with all probiotics, restoring the balance of good bacteria
May aid in gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.
May help reduce cholesterol (1)
Long term health issues associated with PCOS can include high blood pressure, dyslipidaemia and hyperinsulinaemia (high levels of insulin). The major endocrine disruption is excessive androgen secretion. A large number of women also have abnormal insulin activity.
According to the Androgen Excess PCOS Society, even though the name implies, not all women with PCOS will display polycyctic ovaries. Their diagnosis is on the following:
1. Androgen excess
2. Ovulatory dysfunction (3)
Prior to the the diagnosis of PCOS other medical conditions must first be ruled out such as thyroid dysfunction.
While PCOS is a complicated condition and there may be a variety of reasons for its presence , one of the main reasons is insulin resistance. Normally after you eat a meal, insulin briefly rises which initiates your cells to take up glucose and convert it to energy. Insulin then falls. Insulin resistance is when the body fails to respond to the insulin secreted, so more insulin is released.
If you have Insulin resistance PCOS then the following dietary and lifestyle guidelines can assist:
Eat whole foods, as close to nature as possible.
Anti inflammatory - lots of fresh and in season vegies.
Low Glycaemic Index (GI) foods that results in a slow rise in blood sugar levels. Swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes. Opt for brown rice or try quinoa over white rice. Have whole grain or steel cut oats (gluten free) over processed, packaged cereal.
Avoid refined carbohydrates such s white bread, pasta and rice, as these aggravate PCOS by causing elevated levels of insulin.
Quit sugar or at least drastically reduce it.
Keep caffeine and alcohol to a minimum.
Enjoy good quality protein sources, such as free range chicken, grass fed beef and wild salmon.
Eliminate saturated fats and fried foods as women with PCOS are at higher risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease. . Enjoy healthy fats such as avocado, nuts / seeds and extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings.
Maintain a healthy weight range by regular exercise. Make this part of your daily routine. Find an exercise best suited to you. Brisk walking for 30 minutes a day is a great way to start.
Stress management such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and getting enough sleep is very beneficial.
Herbs such as Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp) can reduce insulin resistance.
Magnesium - low levels of this mineral have been found in individuals with PCOS. Magnesium rich foods include spinach, avocados, almonds, pumpkin seeds and black beans.
If you wish to speak to a Naturopath about "Being the Healthiest YOU!" please contact me at Casuarina Holistic Health.
Have a great day.
Briden, Lara. (2015) Period Repair Manual. Createspace Independent Publishing (1st ed.).
Hechtman, L. (2011). Clinical Naturopathic Medicine. Sydney, Australia: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier Australia.