Nutritional management in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - GulfToday

Nutritional management in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Abeer Majed Al Kusayer

Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Al Qassimi Hospital – Ministry of Health and Prevention

Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Al Qassimi Hospital – Ministry of Health and Prevention

diet food 1

The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders.

The typical clinical features are hyperandrogenism — hirsutism, androgen dependent alopecia, or acne — associated with anovulation and a characteristic ovarian morphology. Polycystic ovaries are common in women of reproductive age and PCOS appears to have a genetic basis.

In modern, Western society, the ‘PCO gene(s)’ may have an adverse effect on reproductive function if calorie intake is excessive, and calorie restriction in obese women with PCOS leads to improved menstrual pattern and fertility. In other words, such women may continue to reproduce at times of relative calorie deprivation. There is a close interaction between calorie intake, body fat distribution, insulin resistance and PCOS. Although it is known that reduction of abdominal fat and changes in insulin sensitivity may follow calorie restriction.

There are many factors which can affect the hormonal levels, and the causes may be excessive dieting, or a case of insulin resistance. Being overweight is also a factor that should be considered when being diagnosed with PCOS. Stress as well plays a major role in the of development of this syndrome. Hypothyroidism and liver dysfunction can also lead to PCOS.

The diagnosis of PCOS is dependent on many symptoms, which includes weight changes and trouble in losing weight, irregular or missed periods, trouble conceiving or infertility, male pattern baldness or thinning hair, insulin resistance, excessive body hair growth, high testosterone levels, mood changes, fatigue and acne. Ovary cyst is required in the final diagnosis.

Following the right diet and exercise is key. As women with PCOS usually have high insulin levels, and difficulty in maintaining healthy body mass index (less than 24.9 kg/m2), knowing the right types of foods to eat as well as the kinds of food to limit can improve the way you feel and may help you lose weight. Eating well, staying active, and maintaining a healthy weight or losing even a small amount of weight if you’re overweight can improve PCOS symptoms.

Carbohydrate foods with fibre such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are usually the best to eat if you’re trying to keep your insulin level down. Carbohydrate foods that are sugary or refined (such as soda, juice, white bread and white rice) can cause insulin levels to go up higher. Foods and drinks like this are also not very filling. Try to choose high-fibre, low-sugar carbohydrate foods most of the time. These include fresh fruits or frozen/canned fruit without added sugar, non-starchy fresh vegetables or frozen/canned vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and carrots, whole grains such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, oats, and whole wheat bread.

Protein foods such as beans, hummus, nuts, peanut butter, tofu, eggs, fish, chicken, meat, and vegetarian meat substitutes, and fats such as olive oil, nuts, and avocado should be an integral part of a PCOS-friendly eating plan. Combining foods that contain protein or fat with a carbohydrate will help to slow down the absorption of the carbohydrate and keep insulin levels low. For example, instead of plain rice, have rice with beans and a little avocado.

Keep in mind that some fats are much healthier than others. Healthy fats are found in olive oil, canola oil, nuts, avocados and fish. Choose healthy fats and proteins instead of butter, margarine, mayonnaise, full-fat cheese, creamy sauces or dressings, and red meat.

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