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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: What You Need to Know

Posted on May 3, 2017 at 10:31 AM by Iowa Weight Loss Specialists



I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), what does that mean?


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine (hormonal) system disorders that occur among women, typically in those who are of reproductive age. Women with PCOS typically have an increased amount of androgens, or male hormones. Those with PCOS may have abnormally large ovaries that have small collections of fluid located in each ovary. Ovaries, part of the female reproductive system, produce eggs as well as the hormones estrogen and progesterone. They are located on either side of the uterus in the pelvic or lower stomach region. 


Some signs of PCOS include infrequent or abnormally long menstrual cycles, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity. The root cause of PCOS is unknown, however, it has been shown that it can occur as a response to rapid or excessive weight gain. One factor that has been shown to play a role in the cause of PCOS is too much insulin, which can occur when you have insulin resistance. Insulin resistance leads to Type 2 diabetes.


PCOS can increase the risk of the following conditions, especially when in combination with obesity:


  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Metabolic syndrome (a combination of signs and symptoms that indicate increased risk for heart disease)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Infertility


Over 50% of women with PCOS will be pre-diabetic or have diabetes before the age of 40. 


Woman cutting vegetables in her kitchenThere is no known cure for PCOS, however you can decrease your risk of the above conditions through the following healthy lifestyle choices, including:


  • Avoid highly-processed foods such as refined sugars and flours (white bread, candy, cake, etc.).
  • Monitor your carbohydrate intake. This may mean keeping a food journal and being aware of how many carbohydrates you are consuming daily.
  • Focus on whole foods, such as lean proteins like chicken, lean beef, seafood.
  • Get an adequate intake of a variety of non-starchy vegetables and some fruit
    • Fruit should be limited to two servings daily.
  • Add strength training into your exercise routine either through body weight exercises, resistance work, or weight lifting.
  • If overweight, focus on weight loss. Even a small reduction in body weight can improve symptoms such as infertility and hormonal imbalance.


For more information about weight loss and healthy lifestyle habits, contact us today at 515-327-2000.




The Mayo Clinic

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