Always wondered what PCOS is, or feel as though you may have the condition yourself?
We asked leading Harley Street Nutritionist, Rhiannon Lambert, what PCOS actually is and her advice on how to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle!
So.. here we go!
WHAT IS IT? 🤔
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work. According to the NHS, there tends to be 3 definitive features that are used to determine whether or an individual may have PCOS:
- Irregular periods – which means your ovaries don't regularly release eggs (ovulation)
- Excess androgen– high levels of "male hormones" in your body, which may cause physical signs such as excess facial or body hair
- Polycystic ovaries– your ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs (follicles) which surround the eggs (it's important to note that, despite the name, if you have PCOS you don't actually have cysts)
It can be difficult to know exactly how many women have PCOS, but it's thought to be very common affecting about one in every five women in the UK. Over half of these women may not have any symptoms.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS 🤷🏽♀️
If you do think you might have PCOS, it will usually become apparent during your late teens or early twenties.
Signs can include:
- Irregular periods or no periods at all
- Difficulty getting pregnant as a result of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate
- Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair and hair lossfrom the head
- Oily skin or acne
There is no cure as such for PCOS, but the symptoms can be treated. Speak to your GP if you think you may have the condition. If you have PCOS and you're overweight, losing weight and eating a healthy, balanced diet may help with some of the symptoms.
If you don’t produce enough insulin, your blood sugar levels may rise. This can also happen if you’re insulin resistant, meaning you are not able to use the insulin you do produce, effectively.
If you’re insulin resistant, your body may try to pump out high levels of insulin in an effort to keep your blood sugar levels normal. Excessive levels of insulin can cause your ovaries to produce more androgens, such as testosterone.
Insulin resistance may also be caused by having a BMI above the normal range. It can make it harder to lose weight, which is why women with PCOS often struggle with this issue. However, BMI is not always an accurate measure of health and body composition.
A diet high in refined carbohydrates, such as starchy and sugary foods, can make insulin resistance, and therefore weight loss, more difficult.
Maintaining a healthy and well balanced diet may not only help with PCOS symptoms but will also help in maintaining good wellbeing.
It is a good idea to make sure you have a varied diet that includes high fibre vegetables, lean protein (such as fish, chicken and tofu) and wholegrains.
High-fibre foods may help combat insulin resistance by slowing down digestion and reducing the impact of sugar on the blood. This may be beneficial to women with PCOS. Great options for high-fibre foods include:
- Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
- Greens, including red leaf lettuce and arugula
- Green and red peppers
- Beans and lentils
- Sweet potatoes
Foods that help reduce inflammation may also be beneficial. However the research on this is still conflicted. They include:
- Almonds and walnuts
- Olive oil
- Fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries
- Fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and sardines
If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Exercise can also contribute to your wellbeing therefore, you may find it helpful to incorporate some form of exercise into your regime. It might be a 20 minute workout video, yoga or a nice long walk. Either way, much research suggests there are many benefits to moving our bodies.
If you think you might have PCOS, it is essential to seek professional and qualified advice. Please ensure you visit your GP. Once you get results, the doctor may also suggest a vaginal ultrasound to check for cysts, although not all women who have PCOS develop ovarian cysts.
Now you know all the ins and outs of whats you should be doing to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle, why not put it into action!
With over 500+ workouts and 350+ recipes available on Results with Lucy, PLUS with the help and advice from Rhiannon and her Number 1 Best Seller 'Re-Nourish: A Simple Way To Eat Well' book, you have everything you need to get started!
Click here to get started with your 10 DAY FREE trial to Results with Lucy today!