Best diet for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is often cited as a reason for problems conceiving and why dieting is not easy. So what is the best diet for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

It is worth your time to read about the many women experiencing real issues due to PCOS on HealthUnlocked.

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pregnancy - PCOS - Polycystic ovary syndrome

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Although there may be a myriad of reasons why pregnancy is not forthcoming, there is definitely something you can do to alleviate, and even remove the many symptoms and long-term health consequences of PCOS.

You may not want to hear this, but a simple answer is to lose significant excess weight. No doubt there are many of you who believe that PCOS means you are stuck with weight problems, with no way out of excess weight or obesity. However, the NHS, Mayo Clinic and BUPA agree that weight loss is a viable option for PCOS, so you really do need to read on if this is a surprise to you…

PCOS is often suspected and diagnosed once the menstrual cycle has been established. It is less usual to think PCOS once you are past your early 20s.

Up to around 10% of reproductive aged females may have PCOS, with approximately half of sufferers being asymptomatic.

The cause is unknown but thought to be inherited.

You may at this point wish to take a look at the JAMA Patient Page titled “What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?” (January 18 2022) for a more detailed look at PCOS.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome occurs due to a hormone imbalance. Elevated male sex hormones (androgen), failing ovulation and enlarged ovaries with or without fluid filled sacs cause some rather unpleasant symptoms.

The development and presence of ovarian follicles in PCOS are often worrying to the sufferer but are on their own quite harmless. The unwanted symptoms of PCOS may be debilitating, potentially having a profound effect on mental health but it is the associated long-term diseases that are a real concern to general health.

PCOS is not something we should ignore nor deem inconvenient;

PCOS is a serious medical condition.

How to spot Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:

  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Absent periods
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Prolonged menstruation
  • Infertility
  • Hirsutism
  • Scalp hair thinning or balding
  • Acne

Critically Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is linked to overweight and obesity, all of which have strong links to pre-diabetes and diabetes, sleep apnoea, hypertension, elevated blood lipids, and cancer to name a few. Overweight and obesity - strong links to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome PCOS

Current treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome revolves around the use of hormonal contraception to decrease male sex hormone production, creams to reduce extra hair growth and acne, and Metformin.

A real issue in PCOS is the elevated blood glucose and increased insulin resistance. This hyperinsulinaemia is the reason why Metformin is prescribed. Controlling the high levels of blood glucose and tackling the co-existing type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes is a top priority for the medical profession. The long-term health risks are profound.

The NHS says;

“Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be managed…. In overweight women, the symptoms and overall risk of developing long-term health problems from PCOS can be greatly improved by losing excess weight.”

With such close links to obesity and excess weight and a knowledge that weight loss is a powerful tool, there must be a more concerted effort to promote significant and true weight loss as a realistic way to suppress the issues PCOS brings.

But what is the best diet for polycystic ovary syndrome?

What do we mean by “significant and true weight loss”?

toilet-paper- just going to the toilet loses you weight but is it true weight loss?

Anyone can lose weight. Go to the toilet and you’ll lose weight.

Try it. Weigh yourself before and after and you’ll see a handsome return on your time.

Easy, isn’t it?

But this is just transient, non-fat weight loss, which will do nothing to reverse excess body fat, obesity and PCOS.

It is recognised that to gain medical benefit through weight loss, a weight loss equating to 5% or more of initial weight is necessary. This must be a loss of excess body fat, laid down from a regular intake of excessive amounts of calories, otherwise the weight loss and any medical benefit will be transitory.

What should you do then? Join a slimming club?

Unfortunately, evidence and data from many of the most recognised traditional diets fail to show much more than around 3% weight loss. We could name the slimming clubs but suffice to say the data even from healthcare professional lifestyle interventions can rarely claim medical benefit. Such results may indeed show body fat loss, so we can say this is true weight loss, but it is far from that needed for medical benefit. We cannot say this true weight loss is significant.

Although the GLP-1 receptor agonists, such as Saxenda, have clinical data demonstrating 5% or more weight loss, this is just clinical data. The media is awash with claims of this drug as an obesity breakthrough, but only time will tell if real-life results within the general public and their life-pressures can match the clinical data.

Quite rightly, and thankfully the less than impressive results from the paucity of other drugs on the market are going to be no match for the likes of GLP-1 Receptor agonists.

Drugs to combat obesity seem to always cause ill health themselves and quite frankly not the true and significant weight loss our PCOS sufferers are needing.

How to get true and significant weight loss.

There is a method of weight loss currently offered in primary care which consistently results in significant and true weight loss. The use of modern day Very Low Calorie Diets or VLCDs across the world has proven its effectiveness and safety beyond doubt, but not all VLCDs are the same so you will need to choose wisely.

Luckily, Lipotrim is a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) offered by pharmacists who are trained in weight management. Over the last 20 years they have supported thousands of dieters and collected real; life data showing a whopping 10% average weight loss of initial weight. This is comparable with the data from the much lauded bariatric surgery, but without the surgery.

It is important to understand that since this is an average many Lipotrim dieters will have lost way in excess of the 10% weight. Lipotrim data shows patients achieving as much as 58% weight loss (Evans, G.; Wright, D. Long-Term Evaluation of a UK Community Pharmacy-Based Weight Management Service. Pharmacy 2020, 8, 22.

The predictable rate of weight loss of around a stone a month (approx. 6.35kg) allows for a potentially rapid reduction in PCOS symptoms. Why wait longer than is necessary when there is an effective and arguably best diet for polycystic ovary syndrome?

What will true and significant weight loss do? Is it the best diet for polycystic ovary syndrome?

The effect of true and significant weight loss on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can be profound, from bringing periods back to normality to reducing the health risks.

Losing weight rapidly results in the near immediate remission of type 2 diabetes which in turn dramatically reduces the long-term risks associated with PCOS’s elevated insulin and blood glucose levels.

Who wouldn’t also want to see their cholesterol levels and high blood pressure potentially reduce within weeks, even days all by just losing weight?

Those suffering from snoring and sleep apnoea will likely see a very grateful and well rested sleep partner.

But I am not overweight and suffer from PCOS!! What do I do?

Polycystic ovary syndrome sufferers are not always overweight

Although a majority of PCOS sufferers are carrying excess weight or are obese, there are those who will be a healthy weight according to their BMI.

The same symptoms and issues are likely to be suffered so it is critical to speak to your GP and sustain as healthy a lifestyle as possible.

The thorny subject of BMI and its worth may raise its head when we advise that being a “healthy BMI” may need to be scrutinised further.

For example, BMI matters for type 2 diabetes sufferers especially if you are from a non-white background where a normally healthy BMI of 24 needs to be addressed:

Ethnic variation of health risk in relation to BMI

A PCOS sufferer with a BMI at the higher end of the “healthy range” may find some true relief if they optimised their BMI to between 21 and 23. At the very least sustaining adequate nutrition and a healthy weight could produce improvements as discussed in VeryWellHealth:

“Research has found that as women with PCOS get older, they are more likely to develop insulin resistance. This risk was lower among lean women.”

As we have discussed previously, weight maintenance is not as easy as one would imagine. This is why your Lipotrim pharmacist can also effectively support healthy weight maintenance with the Lipotrim Maintenance Programme.

So, what is the best diet for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

We simply say, if you are overweight don’t be duped by programmes that offer of less than true and significant weight loss. In any case, ask your local Lipotrim pharmacy for their expert support and advice for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and above all make sure you get Lipotrim.

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