Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder thought to affect up to 18% of women of reproductive age. It is characterised by symptoms such as acne, excess body or facial hair, excess weight around the waist, fatigue, irregular periods. mood and sleep disorders and infertility.
Women with PCOS have been found to have higher insulin levels, slower metabolisms, impaired appetite regulating hormones and increased incidence of IBS. Improving your nutrition and lifestyle habits are ways we can address these challenges. This includes:
- Including low GI carbohydrates, found in wholegrains, in the diet and reducing carbohydrates which have simple sugars such as white bread or cakes.
- Improving diet quality, to increase antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in the diet. This includes nutrients such as vitamins D and E, inositol, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) which can help to improve ovulation, blood sugar levels and fertility.
- Increasing daily physical activity and sleep quality
- Reduce endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) which disrupt the hormones in the body, interfering with the body’s healthy development. Use glass containers whenever possible, never heat food in plastic containers. Wash hands after touching paper receipts. Avoid skin or hair care products that contain phthalates, parabens, or sulphates.
- Weight loss, which can help improve insulin levels and menstrual regularity
- Screening for IBS and implementing strategies to improve symptoms- such as the low FODMAP diet
Good nutrition and regular exercise can improve blood glucose, insulin, and testosterone levels, as well as increase menstrual regularity and pregnancy rates in individuals with PCOS. To get the most out of your nutrition and work out how to best improve your health have an individualised assessment and plan made up by a dietitian.
Amy is a dietitian focusing on Women’s health and IBS, living in Brisbane. You can book an appointment to see her online at nnad.com.au, by email at [email protected] or phone 0418569359. Amy can see patients at her office in Eight Mile Plains and online through Zoom. Health insurance and Medicare rebates are available for those eligible. Book an appointment today!