Nutrition Diva listener Angie writes:
I was recently diagnosed with PCOS and I’ve been trying to learn about it. There seems to be a lot of confusing advice out there and a few sources suggest that a healthy diet for someone with PCOS is different than a healthy diet for someone without this condition. Is this true?
What is Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?
Unfortunately, Angie, you’ve got plenty of company. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition that affects up to 1 in 10 women of child-bearing age. In a nutshell, PCOS is characterized by hormonal imbalances, involving not just the reproductive hormones (like estrogen and testosterone) but also hormones that regulate blood sugar, fat storage, and appetite.
Symptoms of PCOS may include painful or irregular periods, acne, abnormal hair growth, increased appetite, weight gain, and difficulty losing weight. Women with PCOS often develop metabolic syndrome, which increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. And the reverse is also true: Women with metabolic syndrome are more likely to develop PCOS. PCOS is also a leading cause of infertility.
PCOS is strongly linked with obesity—and as obesity levels have risen, PCOS has become a more common diagnosis. But there are also lean women who suffer from PCOS. Almost all women with PCOS, however, have some degree of insulin resistance, which is also known as pre-diabetes.
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