Ovarian Cysts Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Pcos Diet Exercise

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is caused by a complex hormonal imbalance. The condition affects the whole body, and can cause serious medical conditions. Keep reading to learn about the connection between polycystic ovarian syndrome, insulin and weight gain, and the importance of a PCOS diet plan.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Insulin

Diet and lifestyle choices can play an important role in controlling PCOS and its symptoms. Many treatments for PCOS are aimed at controlling specific symptoms, especially insulin resistance. Weight loss and exercise have both been proven to lower insulin resistance. A healthy diet and healthy lifestyle changes can benefit PCOS sufferers immensely.

Medical professionals don’t agree completely on the relationship between insulin, polycystic ovarian syndrome and obesity. However, it’s generally agreed upon that weight loss can help in the fight against PCOS. Therefore, a PCOS diet plan is very important if you are diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Diet with PCOS

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for women living with insulin resistance, and a healthy diet for PCOS can help. A doctor or nutritionist can recommend a PCOS diet plan. Most diets for polycystic ovarian syndrome will focus on lowering calorie intake, while still providing all necessary:

  • Nutrients
  • Types of food
  • Vitamins.

Important elements of a PCOS diet plan include:

  • Carbohydrate intake: A low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet with PCOS may not be effective because carbohydrates promote insulin production. This only worsens insulin resistance, and may also contribute to other more serious health conditions, such as heart disease.
  • Consulting a nutritionist: Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome should consult a medical professional or nutritionist to plan a PCOS diet plan. Many women can be successful dieting on their own. However, professionals can help women learn how to stick with a diet, plan healthy meals, choose the best ingredients to buy, and avoid getting hungry throughout the day.
  • Control insulin levels: This is easier if each meal contains a mix of protein, carbohydrates and unsaturated fat. Replacing processed foods with more natural choices helps maintain a healthy PCOS diet plan. Splitting daily food allowances into five or six smaller meals also helps control blood sugar levels with a diet for PCOS.
  • Reducing fat intake: Women with PCOS are at risk for heart disease. High levels of saturated, hydrogenated and trans fats increase the risk of heart disease even more, so a PCOS diet plan should limit or avoid these fats.

PCOS and Exercise

In addition to eating a healthy diet with PCOS, exercise plays an important role in the battle against polycystic ovarian syndrome. Exercise improves insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle and fat tissue, reducing insulin levels. Exercise must be regular, or else its positive effects may be lost. Exercise is most effective when it combines resistance training with cardiovascular or aerobic activity.

In addition to maintaining a strict diet for PCOS, do what you can to make exercise easier and more fun to do. Find an activity that you truly enjoy, and you’ll be more likely to stick to your exercise regimen. Setting goals and keeping a record of exercise can also be helpful in your battle with polycystic ovarian syndrome.


Center for Young Women’s Heath Staff. (2009). PCOS Guide for teens: PCOS-friendly food suggestions. Retrieved February 16, 2010, from the Center for Young Women’s Health Web site: http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/meal_planning.html.

McKittrick, M. (2002). Diet and polycystic ovary syndrome. Retrieved February 16, 2010, from the SoulCysters Web site: http://www.soulcysters.net/diet-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-23706/.

Miller, C. (2006). Do you suffer from PCOS? (PCOS and diet solutions). Retrieved February 16, 2010, from the SoulCysters Web site: http://www.soulcysters.net/do-you-suffer-pcos-pcos-diet-solutions-138500/.