Keto And PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
Keto and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. Early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss may reduce the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Symptoms of PCOS:
Irregular or missed periods. As a result of not ovulating.
Some women may develop cysts on their ovaries, however, many women do not.
Weight gain. About half of women with PCOS will have weight gain and obesity that is difficult to manage.
Fatigue. Many women with PCOS report increased fatigue and low energy. Related issues such as poor sleep may contribute to the feeling of fatigue.
Unwanted hair growth (also known as hirsutism). Areas affected by excess hair growth may include the face, arms, back, chest, thumbs, toes, and abdomen. Hirsutism related to PCOS is due to hormonal changes in androgens.
Thinning hair on the head. Hair loss related to PCOS may increase in middle age.
Infertility. PCOS is a leading cause of female infertility. However, not every woman with PCOS is the same. Although some women may need the assistance of fertility treatments, others are able to conceive naturally.
Acne. Hormonal changes related to androgens can lead to acne problems. Other skin changes such as the development of skin tags and darkened patches of skin are also related to PCOS.
Mood changes. Having PCOS can increase the likelihood of mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
Pelvic pain. Pelvic pain may occur with periods, along with heavy bleeding. It may also occur when a woman isn’t bleeding.
Headaches. Hormonal changes prompt headaches.
Sleep problems. Women with PCOS often report problems such as insomnia or poor sleep. There are many factors that can affect sleep, but PCOS has been linked to a sleep disorder called sleep apnea.
Complications of PCOS can include:
Gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
Miscarriage or premature birth
Metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels that significantly increase your risk of cardiovascular disease
Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes
Depression, anxiety and eating disorders
Abnormal uterine bleeding
Cancer of the uterine lining (endometrial cancer)
What is Keto
Short for “ketogenic diet,” this eating plan is all about minimizing your carbs and upping your fats to get your body to use of fat as a form of energy
After about two to seven days of following this eating routine, you go into something called ketosis, or the state your body enters when it doesn't have enough carbs for your cells to use for energy. Your body starts making ketones, or organic compounds that your body then uses in place of those missing carbs and burns the fat.
How Keto Can Help PCOS
Scientists are finally learning the connection between low-carb eating like the ketogenic diet and a reversal of PCOS symptoms. Instead of your body using glucose for energy, a limited carb intake will switch your body to run on fat.
Despite its name, cystic ovaries are not found in all women. But almost all women with the condition – whether thin or obese – show greater insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance than women without the condition.
Ways Keto Helps With PCOS Symptoms
Weight Loss - Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is extremely important for your overall health, and even more so if you have PCOS.
Insulin Resistance - Insulin resistance occurs in the majority of women who are affected by PCOS. Improving your insulin sensitivity is, therefore, an important part of the management of PCOS, and, fortunately, the keto diet will greatly help you with that.
Infertility - A low carb diet can reduce hormone levels, such as insulin and testosterone, both of which can contribute to infertility
The Keto and PCOS Takeaway
A keto diet for PCOS shows promise and seems to be helpful. It can be difficult to follow and if you are considering trying a keto diet, I would go slowly, be gentle with yourself and see it as a journey. Do as much reading as you can on it and lower your carb intake gradually. There is no cure for PCOS as of now, however, the condition can be managed successfully, and the ketogenic diet is one of the best ways to do that.
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