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  • Writer's pictureBrooke Evans

Food for Thought: Exploring the Link Between PCOS and Nutrition

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) impacts an estimated 10% of women. This disorder is characterized by insulin resistance, unbalanced sex hormones, and increased difficulty in conceiving. While the exact cause is unknown, genetics and environmental factors are often associated with the development of PCOS.

Did you know we can use nutrition to help you manage your PCOS symptoms? Contact us here at Catalyst Nutrition and Training to schedule a consultation and learn all about it!

Common PCOS Symptoms

Symptoms of PCOS can begin as early as puberty but may also develop later as a teen or young adult. Clinical symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Insulin Resistance: Women with PCOS are at a higher risk for developing Type II Diabetes. Many doctors prescribe Metformin, a diabetes medication, for PCOS to decrease blood sugar, insulin, and androgen levels. 

  • Irregular or Infrequent Periods: Irregular and infrequent periods are a common symptom of PCOS. Some women may only get their period a few times per year, not at all, or experience frequent, irregular bleeding throughout their menstrual cycle.

  • Ovarian Cysts: Contrary to the name, many of the women diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome do not experience cysts on the ovaries. Those who do experience ovarian cysts may have inflamed ovaries, resulting in decreased function. This may contribute to the irregularity of periods.

  • Excess Androgens: While all females do naturally produce some androgens (male sex hormones), those with PCOS have increased levels.

These clinical symptoms are the underlying causes for other physical symptoms of PCOS like weight gain, infertility, hair thinning or unwanted hair growth, mental health changes, and more. While doctors tend to prescribe medications like birth control or metformin to combat certain symptoms, none of these medicines eliminate or alleviate all symptoms.

a medical model made of red and pink flowers

Nutrition and PCOS

Starting with nutrition may be the answer to getting relief from PCOS symptoms. Focusing on fueling our bodies with adequate amounts of nutrients can target the underlying condition, not just mask the symptoms. While weight loss is not the only goal of nutrition intervention, some studies have shown that just a 5-10% decrease in body fat percentage can be enough to restore regular function of the menstrual cycle and decrease androgen levels. Working closely with a Registered Dietitian can help keep you on track while on your PCOS journey.

a woman holding a flower on her stomach

Exercise and PCOS

Pairing nutrition with physical activity can further improve the symptoms felt from PCOS. Aiming for at least 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity is enough to start to see and feel the benefits. Combining cardiovascular exercise with two to three days of strength training can increase muscle mass, decrease body fat percentage, and combat the symptoms of PCOS.

a woman holding a model of a cervix

Have you been diagnosed with PCOS, or are you experiencing symptoms of PCOS, and want a solution that does not involve a lifetime of medications? Reach out to us at Catalyst Nutrition & Training! We use nutrition to help change the lives of patients who are dealing with all kinds of health conditions, including PCOS.

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