Can Ketogenic Diet Aid PCOS?
- 07 Mar, 2020
Have your menstrual cycles always acted bizarrely? Have they created fear in you? Do you and your body constantly battle over losing weight? Or are you tired of treating acne and getting rid of excessive hair growth every now and then?
Although the above-mentioned occurrences seem to be independent of each other, they all scream out one condition – PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS.) If you are a woman and undergoing these, here is all you need to know about Keto diet and PCOS, its symptoms, and how a Ketogenic diet reverses the ailment and not aid it.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder among women of reproductive age, affecting approximately 4% of women. PCOS is one of the most commonly found endocrinal disorders that affect your hormone levels. Women with PCOS produce a higher quantity of male hormones than normal.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an autoimmune disease caused by the imbalance between Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). When the LH levels go above a certain level, your body starts to produce more androgens (male hormones) like testosterone. The rising levels of testosterone in your body may lead to infertility, menses issues, and increased chances of Ovarian cancer. (This hormonal imbalance deprives them of menstrual periods. As a result, it gets difficult for them to strive for pregnancy).
Though PCOS is characterized by reproductive complications, it also affects your metabolism, which forms the basis of this article. This also gives a basic framework about how keto and PCOS are related.
Signs and Symptoms of PCOS
While some females display symptoms around the time of their first period, others discover it when they try to get pregnant. The main features of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are menstrual abnormalities, absence of ovulation, and hyperandrogenism- which means that your body is producing more male hormones. Hyperandrogenism is may give you some visible symptoms.
The most prevalent symptoms of PCOS are as follows:
- Erratic menstrual cycles- Your menses are happening at irregular, unpredictable intervals. It doesn’t mean that your cycles are 1 or 2 days here and there but it means that your period cycle is more than 35 days.
- Heavy bleeding- More than normal bleeding during the menstrual cycles may be a sign that your periods are not happening normally.
- Excessive hair growth- PCOS is marked by high levels of male hormones, you may experience excess hair growth in unwanted places like face, arms, back, chest, thumbs, toes, and abdomen.
- Acne- Your skin may develop acne very often due to increased levels of androgens and this may very be a symptom.
- Weight gain- While more than half of women with PCOS are obese, but it may be a case with thin women as well.
- Male-like baldness- Your hair-fall may get worse with the rising androgens that in some cases, may lead to baldness as it happens in males.
- Blackening of skin- Due to Insulin resistance many women with PCOS may experience darkening of the skin, called acanthosis nigricans, which appear as dark, velvety patches around the armpits, neck, etc.
- Frequent headaches- Frequent headaches, though in only a few women, may also be a sign that you are suffering from PCOS
- Anxiety and panic attacks- Tiredness, fatigue, and sleep-troubles are common symptoms in women with PCOS.
As there are numerous symptoms that may signal that you are suffering from Polycystic ovary syndrome. Women suffering from PCOS usually experience a different set of symptoms and signs. These different symptoms may indicate different types of PCOS. Based on the type of symptoms you experience, there are four main categories used to distinguish what kind of PCOS you have:
- Frank (or Classic) PCOS: This type of PCOS is characterized by infrequent periods, secretion of excess male hormones and multiple cystic ovaries (PCO)
- Ovulatory PCOS: Excess male hormones or hyperandrogenism and a regular menstrual cycle are the main symptoms.
- Non-PCO PCOS: Irregular periods, hyperandrogenism and normal ovaries form the basic symptoms of this kind of PCOS.
- Normo-androgenic PCOS: Irregular periods and PCO. The level of male hormones stays normal.
With this clear, you might now have a better idea about where your PCOS falls, based on your symptom sets. The different types of PCOS should be dealt with accordingly.
How Does Ketogenic Diet Cure PCOS?
A lot of women face infertility and weight gain during PCOS, the conventional methods of treatment of infertility are not available for women with PCOS. In the case of PCOS, these treatments come with high failure risk. The medications have a lot of side effects.
Recent studies have shown that a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet can lead to weight loss and improvements in insulin resistance. The improvement in insulin resistance and weight loss may be good for PCOS. A ketogenic diet has been in vogue ever since the 1920s to medicate epilepsy. Now, this kind of diet is being researched upon for its ability to cure PCOS as well.
Weight Loss and Decreased Insulin Resistance
Following a low carb, high fat (LCHF) diet enhances your body’s capability to function on fat instead of glucose. Thus, as a result, to get your body to operate on stocked body fat, you’ll need to abandon sugar.
Most women experience rapid weight loss while on a keto diet because it prevents you from eating foods that generate insulin resistance and promotes weight loss. Keto for PCOS has shown its results in various pilot studies and real-life experiences.
Increase in Possibilities of Getting Pregnant
Research shows that a low carb diet leads to significant improvement in reproductive hormones in females. As a result, the process of ovulation shall regularise.
Consequently, your chances of getting pregnant will rise.
An Enhanced Diet for Keto PCOS
Adhering to a classic keto diet will work wonders during the beginning. Moving forward, you may need to enhance your low carb diet eventually. The enhancement will depend on what works for your body.
Fiber Should Be Your Best Friend!
Fibrous foods like avocados, sprouts, etc regulate your insulin levels, and thereby, keeps your digestive system running in smooth order, and even reduces inflammation.
Other ways to advance your keto PCOS journey include daily exercises, decreased stress levels, and an ample amount of sleep.