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How do I know if I have PCOS?
If you have symptoms such as excessive weight gain, period problems, facial or body hair, mood swings, tiredness, thinning hair, cravings for food, irritability, a tendency to faint or emotional problems, you could have PCOS. Your doctor can arrange for an ultrasound scan and the results will give you the answer. You could have one, two or all of the above symptoms, so it is important, if you feel you have PCOS, that you discuss this with your doctor!
Why do I find it difficult to lose weight with PCOS?
PCOS is a chemical or hormone imbalance,which can make it very difficult for sufferers to lose weight. Your body can be insulin resistant and unable to process certain sugars or carbohydrate foods. Your diet should be based on low-sugar, low-carbohydrate, low-fat and protein, but be rich in B vitamins in order for you to be successful.
Some PCOS sufferers have to take medication which, after a period of time, can deplete the body of B vitamins. It is important that you get a well-balanced diet, rich in all vitamins, particularly, B.
Doctors recognise that PCOS sufferers have a slower metabolism than non-sufferers, and recommend a personal diet be prepared to suit your individual metabolism.
30% of PCOS sufferers can also be carbohydrate sensitive and need a personal low-carbohydrate, low-sugar, low-fat, protein diet preparing, to help them lose weight successfully. In our experience we have found that standard diets do not work for PCOS sufferers.
What type of diet is best for PCOS sufferers?
Whether or not you wish to lose weight, the best diet to reduce your symptoms and help with weight loss is a low-fat, low-sugar, low -carbohydrate, protein diet, which has been worked out to suit your individual metabolism and lifestyle.
Because I am insulin resistant, what foods should I be eating and what foods should I be omitting, for a healthier lifestyle?
You should be eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. At least five portions of fruit/vegetables each day, is the recommended allowance for health. You should be avoiding ordinary bread, pastas, rice dishes, excess carbohydrates and starches. You should be eating organic food and chemical/additive free foods. You should not be drinking from cans or plastic bottles. Please drink from glass containers. Plastic is high in chemicals, and drinking from plastic containers will not help your chemical/hormonal imbalance.
Should I buy organic foods?
Whenever possible, it is better to eat organic food. If this is not possible, perhaps because of cost or inconvenience, please wash your fruit and vegetables in a solution of one part vinegar to twelve parts water. Then rinse to remove the ‘vinegar odour’. Washing this way will help remove more than 10% of the chemicals and pesticides from your food. When you suffer with PCOS, it is important that you keep your food and drinks chemical or additive free. Buying organic is an investment in your health and because it is chemical free, it will not upset the chemical imbalance in your body, which has been created by the PCOS.
What about alcohol when I suffer with PCOS?
When you suffer with PCOS it is important that you do not introduce chemicals or additives, because your already have a hormone or chemical imbalance.
It is better to avoid alcohol altogether because of health reasons, but, if you do wish to have an occasional drink, a small glass red wine can be taken. Red wine contains bio-flavanoids, and is better than white wine or spirits. Try to dilute your wine with lots of water, which will help.
I have cravings for different types of foods, what do you recommend?
If you have cravings, it is because you have gone too long without eating. It is better to eat small and often and split up your meals. Six or eight smaller meals each day will be better than three large meals. Make up some home made soups. Have a bowl of soup before each meal, this will fill you up and stop you feeling hungry, which can cause cravings.
Avoid the starchy, sugar or carbohydrate foods. Your body cannot cope with these foods and eating them will only create more cravings.
Will my PCOS symptoms reduce if I lose weight or eat healthily?
Yes, if you need to lose weight, please do so and your symptoms can be reduced. Eating healthily will always be of benefit to your health. Our research has shown that PCOS sufferers with a weight problem, who lose 24 lbs or more, find that their PCOS symptoms can start to reduce.
What would you recommend for my sweet tooth?
There are lots of products on the market. These are sugar-free jelly, mousse etc. Always check the fat content, because this can also be a problem. We have been advised by a lot of our PCOS ladies that sprinkling cinnamon on your plain cereal can help to stop the cravings for sweet foods.
How can I improve my skin?
Your skin will improve when you eat correctly. Having a balanced diet will not only improve your skin, but can reduce other PCOS symptoms. Drinking plenty of water will help. Taking regular exercise. Splashing water on your face morning and night can improve circulation. Individual skin problems can be addressed to our Skin Expert, Jennifer. Just email her and she will help as much as possible.
Do you recommend vitamin tablets?
No, you can get your vitamins from a healthy diet. Eating well balanced meals and cutting out the foods that are causing your problems, will be sufficient.. If you have an additional health problem that is causing a vitamin deficiency, please ask our team of experts for more personal advice.
Do I need to exercise, and will it help reduce my symptoms?
It is better to exercise. If you have a weight problem, please start with gentle exercise. There is a chart on this website, which give you correct exercises to follow.
Always exercise on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning and last thing at night. If you exercise on an empty stomach, you will burn off calories, because there is not food in your stomach. Research has proven that ladies with PCOS who exercise AFTER FOOD, turn the foods to sugar, which will not help the condition.
Drinking a glass of filtered water before exercise to hydrate your body, will be of benefit.
My hair is going thin and ‘patchy’ what do you recommend?
Our PCOS sufferers have reported good results by massaging a small amount of olive oil into their damp scalp, after washing their hair. Leave the oil on your hair and wrap in a warm towel for 5 minutes. Rinse off with clean water. Our ladies report that the oil can penetrate the follicle and improve the condition of the hair.
I am very slim, but do have mood swings and other symptoms of PCOS. What advice do you give?
Following a balanced diet, taking plenty of exercise, drinking plenty of filtered water and practising deep breathing exercises can help. If there is a personal problem with PCOS, please advise us and our team will help, if possible.
Is drinking water a good idea?
Yes, provided that the water is filtered, it can cleanse the system and help. Having a glass of water, with a slice of lemon, each morning before you eat and before you exercise, will hydrate your body and cleanse your system. Drinking lemon water during the day will also help.
Can I have low-calorie or other diet drinks?
Anything that contains chemicals, pesticides or additives will not help the PCOS sufferer. Please remember, you have a chemical/hormone imbalance and it is better to eat and drink everything that is fresh and not packaged or containing chemicals.
Filtered water is best.
I constantly feel hungry, why?
Because of your PCOS, there are certain foods that your body cannot tolerate. When you eat these foods, your body cannot handle them, so a signal is sent to your brain that you have not eaten, hence the feeling to eat more.
If you eat healthily, avoiding all the non-permitted foods, you will feel so much better and will not be hungry. Having home-made soups and splitting your meals into small ones will help satisfy the hunger. You can always eat a little extra protein to satisfy the hunger.
Can I eat pre-packed or processed food?
No, it is better to avoid these foods. They can contain chemicals, additives, preservatives, artificial colourings and are best avoided. Please remember, you have a hormone/chemical imbalance and these foods only aggravate your condition.
Can I have microwave meals?
You can eat these meals as long as they are chemical, additive and preservative free. It is also very important that you microwave all meals in a glass container, not through plastic. Microwaving through plastic creates chemicals, which again, aggravate your chemical/hormone imbalance.