You’ve been trying to have a baby for a while now. You know your cycles are irregular, that sometimes you can go for a few months without having a period, but you don’t really know why or what it’s all about. You go to the doctor to try and get some answers. The answer you get surprises you.
You’ve been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS.
While you know this is important, you don’t really have a clear grasp yet on what those four letters mean, and how having the condition may change your life.
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance affecting one in 10 women of childbearing age. This hormonal imbalance may affect their overall health and appearance. Studies have also shown that PCOS may be linked to other health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and high cholesterol.
It’s also one of the most common causes of infertility in women. The hormonal imbalance interferes with ovulation, which is necessary to get pregnant.
The good news is that PCOS is treatable and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get pregnant.
One key way to manage your condition, and this is something you can get started on right away, is to adopt a plan for eating that mitigates the effects of PCOS. Women with PCOS have lowered insulin resistance so it’s important to eat a diet that helps regulate insulin production.
Low Carb Diet. Doctors and nutritionists recommend a diet that’s
- Low in refined carbohydrates. This means cutting down on sugary desserts and starchy vegetables.
- Rich in foods that don’t raise blood sugar levels. This includes low glycemic foods such as whole grains, fruits, nuts, lentils and other beans, and leafy green vegetables
It’s important to remember that these are general guidelines only. Just as there is no one-size-fit-all dietary plan that serves the needs of all women in the general population, one diet approach will never fit all women with PCOS. Take the time to experiment and see what works for you.
Weight loss and weight management are also crucial for keeping PCOS under control. For most women, weight loss is the first thing that many doctors recommend for treating the condition. While not all women with PCOS are overweight, making sure they stay at a healthy weight is important. Studies have shown that losing just five to ten percent of one’s weight could help reverse some of the symptoms.
Here’s a great PCOS-friendly recipe that’s good for not just those with PCOS, but anybody who’s trying to conceive who wants to eat healthier.
Carrot, Tomato and Lentil Soup
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 cup red lentils
1 28-oz can tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add stock, lentils, tomatoes, carrots, ginger, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper, and bring to boil. Cover pot and let simmer for 25 minutes over medium heat. Add garlic and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Ladle into bowls and serve.
My PCOS Awareness Month Series from last September gives more information about how you can manage your condition. Read my posts about dietary modifications, exercise habits, sleeping patterns and non-toxic environmental products.
Also check out my Tips for Living with PCOS.