Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Food can improve your reproductive health
1 in 10 women of childbearing age suffer from PCOS. Let’s take a look at this common condition.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (often referred to as PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or polycystic ovaries) is a hormonal condition that affects many women across the globe. 1 in 10 women of childbearing age suffer from the condition, however 70% of cases remain undiagnosed. This is mostly due to women putting their symptoms down to other issues such as stress or lifestyle changes, putting their own health second to that or their family, or simply just assuming it’s all part and parcel of being a woman!
Let’s take a look at this common condition and a few ways you can manage it simply and easily at home.
What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
To put it simplistically, PCOS is caused by both high levels of insulin and male hormones wreaking havoc on women's hormone levels, resulting in partially-formed, cyst-like follicles on the ovaries. As a result, women with the condition can present with a range of mild to severe symptoms. These symptoms include irregular period and menstrual cycles or a complete absence of periods, excess body hair, acne, fertility issues, low overall mood and hair loss of the scalp - amongst many other symptoms. Polycystic ovaries are best diagnosed by ultrasound.
While PCOS can be hereditary and your likelihood of developing the condition is increased by 50% if you have a close female relative with the condition (Better Health Australia), there are many changes you can make to your lifestyle that can dramatically improve the symptoms and effect of this long-term condition on your health.
How does your diet affect Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
Experts are vocal about the fact that most cases of PCOS can be managed long-term with diet and lifestyle changes, although in some circumstances the contraceptive pill and other medications may be prescribed on top of that to severe sufferers of PCOS.
Studies have proven that being overweight or obese can both cause and exacerbate PCOS and its symptoms, and even a small weight loss can dramatically improve your overall health and regulate hormone levels (Mayo Clinic). Long-term untreated PCOS can lead to a variety of other health issues including heart disease, insulin resistance and various reproductive system cancers, so to diagnose and treat it early is imperative.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet, regularly exercising and shifting those stubborn extra kilos is the tried and tested treatment for polycystic ovaries, and is something we should all be doing anyway for our health in general.
Take your first steps with La Española
The Mediterranean Diet is ideal for those with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, as the “World’s Healthiest Diet” has been proven to have many amazing benefits for the disorder. The foods our diet promotes eating in abundance are those that improve PCOS, and the ones it avoids are foods that exacerbate the condition. The Mediterranean Diet is anti-inflammatory at its core and ideal for weight loss, and that’s just what sufferers of PCOS need to thrive.
With that being said, natural olive oil is a brilliant substitute to other heavier, unhealthy fats, so we suggest kicking off your journey to good health by switching your regular margarine and butter intake with olive oil, and incorporating it into your diet as much as possible. La Española’s website is full of Spanish recipes that tick all the boxes for a healthy, balanced Mediterranean Diet.
Stock up on La Española’s range of exceptional Spanish olive oils at Coles Supermarkets nationwide and in the Coles Online Shop.