Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common ovulatory disorder in women of reproductive age.
PCOS affects approximately 5-10% of the population.
Symptoms may include:
✔️ Irregular menstrual cycles
✔️ Heavy periods
✔️ Increased body & facial hair growth
✔️ Weight gain (but not always!)
✔️ Insulin resistance
✔️ Increased androgen levels
The condition results in hormonal imbalances that impact ovulation – the body’s process of producing and releasing eggs from the ovary.
It is common for women with PCOS to have irregular production of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). As a result, they experience limited follicular development, preventing egg development.
This may lead to irregular ovulation or a complete lack of ovulation (anovulation), which is what actually causes infertility in women with PCOS.
How a naturopathic doctor can help you address PCOS & achieve fertility 💙
As naturopaths, our approach is to always treat the individual patient, not the PCOS label.
We will investigate the individuals’ underlying causes such as insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances, running the appropriate tests to fully understand their condition.
Once we have the full picture we can work through an individualized approach using tools such as diet, lifestyle, supplements including clinical nutrition and/or botanicals, as well as acupuncture to correct imbalances.
While myths persist that women with PCOS cannot get pregnant, the reality is that it is highly treatable and most women with PCOS should be able to get pregnant.
In fact, many women will experience increases in fertility through lifestyle changes and modest weight loss (if relevant)!
Diet & Nutrition for PCOS
Given that insulin resistance is a primary root cause for the development of PCOS, diet can make a big difference when it comes to treatment.
A diet high in refined carbohydrates, such as starchy and sugar foods, can make insulin resistance more difficult to control. So, the first step is to try and reduce consumption of those types of foods.
However, it is also important to consider what foods should be added to the diet!
FOODS TO ADD:
✔️ HIGH-FIBER VEGETABLES such as broccoli, cauliflower & brussels sprouts. These help combat insulin resistance by regulating blood sugar levels, and they also encourage the excretion of estrogen from the body.
✔️ LEAN PROTEINS and such as fish and vegetable protein sources. These are filling, which will help to increase satiety and reduce sugar cravings.
✔️ ANTIOXIDANT FOODS & SPICES, such as turmeric, ginger, walnuts & berries. Note: the brightest coloured foods have the most antioxidants.
FOODS TO AVOID:
✔️ FOODS HIGH IN REFINED CARBOHYDRATES such as white bread, bagels & muffins. These foods are high glycemic index and can contribute to elevated blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and obesity. They are also a poor source of nutrients.
✔️ SUGARY SNACKS & DRINKS such as soda & candy.
✔️ INFLAMMATORY FOODS such as deep-fried foods, margarine or conventional processed deli meats.
For more help finding the right diet & lifestyle for you to help manage PCOS & fertility, book an appointment today!
If you think you may have PCOS and/or need help treating the condition, please reach out to us!
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