Ketogenic Diet & PCOS: Everything You Need to Know

Many studies are revealing the promising role of the ketogenic diet in treating PCOS symptoms and improving the quality of life of many women.

WHAT’S PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects women of reproductive age. About 5-10% of the female population is affected by this condition.

The main signs of PCOS are:

  • Irregular or inexistent periods – a sign of lack of ovulation, that can also result in the difficulty of getting pregnant.
  • High levels of “male” hormones in the body, which may cause an excess of facial or body hair (hirsutism).
  • Polycystic ovaries, when the ovaries contain multiple fluid-filled sacs (follicles) surrounding the eggs.
  • Skin problems, such as acne.
  • Weight gain and obesity.

IS PCOS DANGEROUS?

PCOS is a condition that can bring some complications. PCOS is associated with an increased risk of developing health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol levels, heart diseases, and uterine cancer.

Many women struggle with the symptoms of weight gain, skin problems, and hair growth. A multitude of women affected by PCOS deal with infertility.

WHAT CAUSES PCOS?

So far, the exact cause of PCOS is unknown. What we know is that it is related to insulin, the hormone that controls sugar levels in the body.

When women with PCOS are resistant to the action of insulin, the body produces higher levels of insulin. This increases the production of “man hormones”, such as testosterone. That results in suppressing ovulation, which can cause PCOS. 

Another factor that can lead to PCOS, is being overweight or obese, because of the amount of insulin produced by the body.

CAN PCOS BE CURED?

There’s still no cure for PCOS, but the symptoms can be treated by introducing some changes in the lifestyle. Overweight women with PCOS can find relief by losing weight and adopting healthier choices.

CAN A KETOGENIC LIFESTYLE TREAT THE PCOS?

Thanks to research, we know that a low-carb and ketogenic diet is a beneficial lifestyle for people with PCOS.

The link between insulin resistance and PCOS is very well studied. According to Ula Abed Alwahab, MD, an endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic, many PCOS symptoms can be reduced by controlling insulin resistance.

The ketogenic diet is well known for reducing insulin levels and insulin resistance and improving many conditions, such as diabetes.

In 2018, Dr. Abed and her team decided to explore if the same benefits with insulin resistance could work with their PCOS overweight and obese patients. In their study, they asked these patients to start a ketogenic diet and introduce some exercise into their routine.

So far, the results have been very promising. The ketogenic diet helped her patients beyond the weight loss. Many of her patients are also reporting regular periods again. Many also achieved pregnancy, even without medication.

You can find the complete study here.

Studies have to clarify deeper, what the role of a ketogenic lifestyle is on PCOS conditions. So far, the ketogenic diet appears to be one of the best diets for women affected by PCOS.

If you have this condition or you think you may have it, it is very important to discuss it with your doctor.

 

Do you want to know more about keto? Download our free guide “Going Keto”.

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