PCOS Facts: 31 Insights from a Registered Dietitian

Table of context. 

  1. What is PCOS? 
  2. 31 PCOS Facts.
  3. Reference.

Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a prevalent hormonal disorder characterized by reproductive hormone imbalances. It involves enlarged ovaries with multiple small cysts, irregular menstrual cycles, excess androgen levels, and ovulation difficulties. While its exact cause remains unclear, genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors are implicated. Below are 31 PCOS facts from a Registered Dietitian. 

PCOS symptoms 101. irregular periods, ovarian cysts, increase facial hair, increases hair loss, acne, skin tags, high testosterone, stress, anxiety, depression, weight changes, fatigue, sleep problems, insulin resistant.
PCOS Symptoms

1. PCOS is one of the common hormonal disorders among women. 

2. It affects approximately 1- 10 women worldwide. 

3. To be diagnosed with PCOS women need to have at least 2 out the 3 criterias:  irregular or absent periods, presence of cysts on the ovaries, irregular blood test, or high androgen. 

4. PCOS symptoms can vary among women and include irregular periods, acne, weight gain, excessive hair growth, hair loss, sleep problem and infertility.

5. PCOS cause is unknown, but is linked to genetics, insulin resistance, and hormonal factors. 

6. Women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

7. Diagnosis of PCOS typically involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, blood tests, and ultrasound imaging.

8. Diet and exercise are crucial components of managing PCOS symptoms, as it can help improve hormonal balance and insulin sensitivity.

9. A dietitian can help to focus on balanced meals, whole foods, and portion control to manage symptoms.

10. A diet high in fiber,  healthy fats and lean protein sources are recommended for women with PCOS to help regulate blood sugar levels.

11. Regular physical activity, such as aerobic exercise and strength training, can help improve insulin sensitivity and symptoms. 

12. Weight loss of 5-10% may lead to improvements in period regularity, fertility, and metabolic health.

13. Women with PCOS may experience difficulty getting pregnant due to irregular ovulation.

14. PCOS symptoms can vary throughout a woman’s life, with changes occurring during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

15. Women with PCOS are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, so mental health support is an important aspect of PCOS management.

PCOS 101: Prioritize sleep, increase daily movement, nourish your body, protein and fiber diet, balance blood sugar, reduce stress and anxiety, drink water, take your vitamins

16. PCOS is often associated with other health conditions, including sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, and endometrial cancer.

17. Women with PCOS should undergo regular health screenings and check-ups to monitor for potential complications.

18. Insulin resistance is a common feature of PCOS, leading to higher levels of insulin in the bloodstream, which can contribute to weight gain and metabolic disturbances.

19. Some women with PCOS may have elevated levels of androgens (male hormones), leading to symptoms such as acne, hirsutism (excessive hair growth), and male-pattern baldness.

20. Women with PCOS may experience hair loss or thinning, particularly on the scalp.

21. Stress management techniques such as mindfulness, yoga, and deep breathing exercises may help reduce stress levels and improve PCOS symptoms.

22. Research suggests that inflammation may play a role in PCOS, it important to add anti-inflammatory rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids.

23. Magnesium supplementation may also be beneficial for women with PCOS, as magnesium deficiency has been linked to insulin resistance and metabolic abnormalities.

24. Vitamin D deficiency is common among women with PCOS and has been associated with insulin resistance and menstrual irregularities.

25. Supplements commonly used by women with PCOS include inositol, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D.

26. Inositol, particularly myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol, has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, ovarian function, and period regularity in women with PCOS.

27. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil supplements, may help reduce inflammation and improve lipid profiles in women with PCOS.

28. Some women with PCOS may benefit from medications such as birth control, insulin-sensitizing drugs, and anti-androgen medications to help manage symptoms.

29. However, it’s important for women with PCOS to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation or medication regimen, as individual needs may vary, and some supplements may interact with medications or have side effects.

30. Women with PCOS are at an increased risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver, which may require specific dietary interventions and supplementation.

31.PCOS symptoms vary widely among women, it’s recommended to consult your medical team and discuss your symptoms to get a proper diagnosis.

Reference: 

  1. World Health Organization. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Fact Sheet.” WHO, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/polycystic-ovary-syndrome.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).” CDC, www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/pcos.html.
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).” Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/symptoms-causes/syc-2035343
  4. Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).” Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos.
  5. Cleveland Clinic. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8316-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos.
  6. Sharma, Shreya, and Sanjay Kalra. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Journey from Genetics to Metabolic Syndrome.” Journal of Mid-Life Health, vol. 12, no. 2, 2021, pp. 89–98. PubMed Central, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7879843/.
  7. Daniela Luque-Ramírez, Alicia Hernandez-Gonzalez, and Héctor F. Escobar-Morreale, “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: What Do We Know Today?” Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(14):7639. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9710389/
  8. Lukaszuk K, Liss J, Kunicki M, Jakiel G. Validation of Polish Version of the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Questionnaire. Biomed Res Int. 2018;2018:7528150. doi:10.1155/2018/7528150. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6250088/

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