PCOS: Is there a role for diet and lifestyle?
What is PCOS? Could diet and lifestyle changes help? Dr. Anita Mitra, also known as 'The Gynae Geek' lays out the facts on PCOS and discusses what you can do to support your symptoms.
What is PCOS?
- Irregular or absent periods.
- Signs of hyperandrogenism (too much male hormone inc. testosterone) eg. acne, excess facial & body hair, male-pattern baldness.
- Polycystic appearance of the ovaries on ultrasound scan – this means lots of small cysts on the ovaries which are underdeveloped eggs that the ovary was unable to release.
How does diet affect PCOS?
What to add to your diet
- Low GI carbohydrates for slow energy release to maintain blood sugar control – eg. porridge oat, wholegrain bread or pasta, brown rice.
- Fruits and vegetables are a great way of getting more fibre. I tell my patients to make their plate as colourful as possible!
- Lean protein eg. fish, chicken, tofu, soybeans, lentils – protein is essential for hormone production and helps with blood sugar regulation.
- Good quality fats eg. nuts, avocado, salmon – another essential building block for hormone production
What food and drinks to avoid
Nothing is an absolute ‘no-go,’ but I do recommend trying to keep the following to a minimum:
- Large amounts of high GI foods such as fruit juice, cakes, white bread and pasta, starchy vegetables eg. potato without its skin.
- Excess caffeine intake will disrupt sleep
- Excess alcohol can also disturbs sleep and is often full of sugar.
- Prolonged periods of starvation which may increase the urge to binge.
What about dairy and gluten?
Six lifestyle changes that are important
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This article was published on 28th September 2020.
Dr Anita Mitra is an NHS doctor specialising in Obstetrics & Gynaecology who also appears online as 'The Gynae Geek', and has been described as 'A trusted source of knowledge in an era of self-proclaimed gurus & internet-experts'.
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