Polycystic ovary syndrome--PCOS--is a condition caused by an over-secretion of the luteinizing hormone, which throws off the balance of estrogen and progesterone. This causes irregular menstrual cycles, a lack of ovulation, increased acne, male-pattern hair growth and male-pattern hair loss. Women with this condition often have an increased level of insulin in their blood and increased weight gain. Gaining weight may cause several of these symptoms to become exaggerated, and can also cause conditions such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, both of which are increased in women with PCOS. Decreasing the amount of food you eat alone may not help you shed excess weight if you have this condition.
Foods to Eat
Women with PCOS are encouraged to eat whole foods. One change in diet that is important for women with this condition is to replace refined carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates, which are fiber based. Examples of complex carbohydrates are wheat, whole grains, brown rice and oats. Eating a diet rich in these foods will help to reduce blood pressure, blood sugar and help aid in weight loss, according to MayoClinic.com. For the same reason, women with this condition should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Consuming fiber-based carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meats can help you to get essential antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which can help regulate hormone levels and appetite.
Foods to Avoid
An increased amount of insulin in the blood may cause weight gain in women with PCOS. According to PCOS Insulite Labs, this is because the body does not convert food to energy due to insulin resistance, which causes an increase in appetite and cravings for food that increase insulin further. As you eat, the insulin level in your blood increases. Foods such as refined carbohydrates and sugar can cause a rapid increase in insulin in the blood, which may lead to these cravings and weight gain. In addition, women with PCOS should avoid eating processed foods, which may contain refined carbohydrates such as canned processed meat and junk food such as chips and candy. Avoid saturated fat and trans fat, which can also increase weight and the risk of developing high cholesterol and heart disease.
The Center for Young Women’s Health states that regular exercise helps decrease weight and brings down insulin levels. It is important to start off small and gradually increase the amount of exercise you get per day. PCOS Insulite Labs says that exercising reduces weight by lowering insulin levels and creating calorie-burning muscles, which increases your metabolism even outside of exercising.
Regular Health Checkups
In addition to watching what you eat and implementing regular exercise, it is also important to see your gynecologist regularly. Report any unexplained changes in weight or symptoms. This way you and your physician can create a weight loss program that will work to you best interest.