Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. (PCOS)
- A syndrome associated with a range of metabolic abnormalities and endocrine disorder which can lead to long-term health problems
- A constellation of signs and symptoms that present in a variable manner. most commonly: hirsutism (90%), menstrual irregularity – with anovulation (90%) and infertility (75%)
- Surgical exploration of these women showed enlarged ovaries (2-4x the normal size), with tiny fluid filled cysts.
Diet and Lifestyle Interventions
There is one systematic review on this topic. Outcomes measured included cardiovascular risk factors [insulin resistance (IR), lipid profiles, blood pressure and weight] and reproductive measures (ovulation, menstrual regularity and fertility outcomes). . All studies involved moderate intensity physical activity and most were of either 12 or 24 weeks duration with frequency and duration of exercise sessions ranging between studies. The most consistent improvements included improved ovulation, reduced IR (9-30%) and weight loss (4.5-10%). Improvements were not dependent on the type of exercise, frequency or length of exercise sessions.
Exercise is crucial for so many reasons, however, in those with PCOS, we see an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, T2DM and psychological pathologies. Exercise may also improve these long-term risks in these individuals.
Approximately 50% of patients with PCOS are obese. Being overweight exerts and additive effect on metabolic and hormonal imbalances of PCOS (cardiovascular risk, oligomenorrhea, reduced insulin sensitivity, T2DM).
Individuals with PCOS often report that they find it very difficult to lose weight and very easy to gain weight.
Individuals with PCOS who lose as little as 5-10% of their body weight report returning to normal menstruation.
A combination of diet and exercise modifications has been shown to be the most effective method of weight loss in folks with PCOS.
Individuals with low BMI and PCOS often still have metabolic dysfunction. Reducing simple carbohydrates, increased complex carbohydrates, and an overall healthy diet, will still serve to improve health outcomes and can help to restore menstrual irregularity.
Generally, soy phytoestrogens have a weak estrogenic effect in some parts of the body. Early research shows that soy phytoestrogens (specifically genistein) may benefit lipid parameter, decrease serum androgens, and may benefit glucose dysregulation.
Use with caution in bipolar, or schizophrenia as it can exacerbate manic episodes.
Calcium and Vitamin D
May improve insulin secretion and lipid parameters.
Increase protein intake
Precursor to glutathione, acts as an antioxidant. Improves insulin sensitivity.
Can improve metabolic pathways in PCOS
Lowers prolactin due to dopaminergic effects
Chromium has been shown to enhance the effects of insulin on target tissues.