PCOS Podcast Show Notes
How Does PCOS Develop?
- When there is an imbalance in the hormones (chemical messengers) in your brain and your ovaries.
- When a hormone called LH (from the pituitary gland) or when your levels of insulin (from the pancreas) are too high extra testosterone production occurs by the ovaries.
- The body may also experience insulin resistance (the inability to properly use insulin) causing blood sugar levels to go up which may in the long run increase your chance of developing diabetes and/or heart disease.
What Does PCOS Present Itself Like?
- Symptoms may be mild at first and include such things as unwanted changes in physical appearance (facial and body hair growth, acne) weight gain or the inability to lose weight, irregular periods, difficulty getting pregnant, or depression.
- Most women will also grow many small cysts on their ovaries. While the cysts themselves are harmless the hormone imbalance they cause isn’t.
Cause, Treatment and Family History
- The cause of PCOS is not fully understood but genetics appear to play a large role. There is a higher risk of developing PCOS if women within your family have had it or have experienced irregular periods or diabetes.
- Diagnosis procedures such as an investigation into personal and family past health, a physical exam, ultrasound, blood pressure testing, blood sugar and hormone level testing may be done by your doctor.
- Treatment such as regular exercise, healthy foods, and weight control may help reduce symptoms and prevent long-term health problems. Your doctor may also prescribe birth control pills to reduce symptoms.
Nutritional Tips for PCOS
- Women with PCOS may find that eating well can help manage some of the long term complications of this condition.
- Losing anywhere from 5-10% of your body weight can help with weight-related health conditions.
- While there is no specific nutrition plan to prevent or treat PCOS, one that is low in saturated fat and high in fibre is most beneficial.
- Choose foods with smaller amounts of healthy unsaturated fats such as avocado and nuts. Oils such as canola and olive are also a good addition.
- Increasing your fibre intake can also help maintain blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol. High fibre foods include fruit (berries, pears, figs), vegetables (spinach, broccoli, squash), whole grains (oats, brown rice, quinoa), as well as nuts and seeds (almonds, flax). Try to avoid tropical fruits that contain a higher amount of sugar such as pineapple and oranges.
- Along with fibre, protein is also a healthy option as it makes you feel full longer, causing you to eat less. Try to have some sort of protein with every meal such as chicken, fish, etc
- Foods such as white rice, pasta, regular soda, candy or salty snacks are high in sugar, salt and refined flour and should be avoided.
- Try to get at least 2.5 hours of exercise a week. Start with 10 minutes and work your way up to longer
- times as your body adjusts. Even if weight loss does not occur, exercise can help control your blood
- sugar and cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes in the long run.