Recently I have come across several articles dealing with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility in women. It affects between 5%-10% of women of reproductive age. It causes infertility by preventing regular ovulation. Additionally, PCOS can cause cysts to form on the ovaries, worsening acne and leading to the development of male characteristics such as increased body and facial hair, along with thinning head hair. Also, most of the time there is increased body weight which ranges from mild increase to obesity. The weight gain is not caused by PCOS, but the weight gain and PCOS are both products of insulin resistance.
Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas which takes sugar from the blood and deposits it into the cells. The sugar is used to produce energy. Insulin, like all hormones, attaches itself to a specific location on the cell wall that’s made for the insulin only. It’s rather like a lock and key. In insulin resistance, for lack of a better way to put it, the key doesn’t fit into the lock very well. This “resistance” then causes multiple problems. Among them are weight gain, increased cholesterol, fatigue, muscular aches, increased blood pressure and PCOS. Unfortunately the more weight (fat) one puts on, the more insulin resistant one becomes and all the problems continue to worsen. Medically, medications like the birth control pill or metformin are used to try to control the symptoms. These drugs all have side effects and don’t really fix the problem.
The good news is that simple diet changes can significantly help. A diet low in refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour help to reduce the effects of insulin resistance. This has been shown to improve PCOS along with diabetes, high cholesterol and weight gain. The Mediterranean Diet is one we have recommended for several years with great success in reducing cholesterol, reducing blood sugars and even helping with infertility. The FirstLine Therapy (FLT) diet program which we provide in the clinic follows these guidelines. If you have PCOS or even trouble with infertility, then you should try this diet. Let us know if you have questions or would like the try FLT.