How Diet and Medication Can Work Together to Control PCOS

PCOS (also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome) can be a frustrating and oftentimes overwhelming condition to live with. The weight gain, unwanted hair growth, irregular periods and trouble conceiving are just some of the struggles that women living with PCOS must face. When you ask your doctor for a cure, you’re told there isn’t one, which just adds to the frustration. While it is true that there is no cure for PCOS, there are ways you can manage the symptoms. In fact, diet and medication are two of the most powerful weapons in the war against PCOS. The question is, which foods can help you fight PCOS and which medications should you ask your doctor about?

Metformin (Glucophage)

Many of the women who suffer from PCOS also suffer from insulin resistance. When someone has this condition, their body produces insulin but is unable to use the insulin properly because the cells of the body do not respond to the insulin that the body is creating.

The body uses insulin to break down sugar and store the sugar as fat. When the cells do not absorb this sugar, the body creates more and more insulin in order to stabilize the blood glucose levels. Over time, this results in a condition called hyperinsulinemia.

Unfortunately, PCOS usually results in a case of insulin resistance. This insulin resistance then results in weight gain, high blood pressure, low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol and other health problems. Fortunately, a single pill can address insulin resistance and the problems it creates.

Metformin is a prescription that used to be prescribed for individuals with certain types of diabetes, but scientists have found that it also works wonders for women who suffer from PCOS. Once a woman begins taking the drug, it can regulate her insulin and her menstrual cycles and can also help that excess weight disappear rather quickly.

It is important to remember, however, that while Metformin may seem like the wonder drug for women with PCOS, it is not for everyone and you need to understand that diet can also play a significant role in the treatment of the condition.

What Foods are Good for PCOS?

Because women with PCOS often suffer from insulin resistance, a low glycemic diet is the key to managing the condition and the side effects that come along with it. Protein, high-fiber carbohydrates and foods with “healthy” fats should make up your meals of choice. Beef, beans, eggs, hummus, all-natural protein bars, fish, yogurt and peanut butter are all great choices for women who are trying to fight PCOS.

More importantly, however, is what foods you should avoid when trying to control a PCOS condition. First and foremost you need to realize that sugar is not your friend. Refined sugar results in elevated insulin, and if you’re already fighting a case of insulin resistance, sweets won’t do you any good.

Foods with a high glycemic index are also known to be a problem for people who suffer from PCOS. This means you should avoid white bread and other processed bakery items.

Last, but not least, is the topic of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are not necessarily your enemy, but they might be. You need good carbs if you’re trying to control PCOS, not bad carbs. This means whole grains, fresh fruits, etc. However, when dealing with PCOS, carbs should make up no more than 40 percent of your diet. No matter how healthy those carbs may be, going over 40 percent may put your insulin out of whack.

East Meets West

Many people today look for a holistic approach to their medical concerns, and rightfully so. Those who suffer from PCOS are not the exception to this rule and it is true that the condition can be helped by eating properly. However, in some cases, Western medicine can enhance the results that a proper diet can provide.

If you think that you may benefit from a prescription for Metformin, then speak with your doctor about it, but understand that this pill will not be a replacement for healthy eating. Instead, it should be used in conjunction with a PCOS-friendly diet if you really want to get your PCOS under control.

Circle + Bloom offers audio mind+body programs to help women with PCOS. One program for when you are not trying to conceive (PCOS for Health) and another program for when you are (PCOS for Fertility).

Please always consult your Doctor for how any information you read relates to you personally, including the information on this site and included in this post.

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