• High-glycemic foods such as white bread and refined cereals


  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Berries
  • Lima beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Pigeon peas
  • Whole grains


  • Alcohol


  • 4% to 18% of women
  • Obese women
  • Women who have excessive body hair
  • Premenopausal women
  • Women with irregular periods
  • Women with immediate family members who have the condition
    Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complicated female hormone disorder
    It occurs when women have high levels of male hormones and their female hormones don’t cycle properly
    Experts also point to a connection with insulin resistance, infertility, and cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon
    There may also be a genetic component
    Women who have PCOS tend to have high blood pressure, low HDL levels, elevated triglycerides levels, and high fasting blood sugars and are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease

    Nutrition Connection

    The dietary approach to treating PCOS is similar to what doctors recommend for people with type 2 diabetes
    Women with PCOS may experience a tougher time losing weight, possibly because high levels of male hormones can increase the appetite
    Follow these guidlines: Lose just a little weight
    A weight loss of just 5% can improve insulin resistance, and that can improve PCOS
    Increase fiber intake
    Adding more fiber to your diet can help you feel fuller longer and help avoid binges
    Choose foods such as an apples, pears, berries, lima beans, pinto beans, and pigeon peas
    Be vigilant about portion control
    Serving sizes that are too big often cause too many calories to slip in to the diet
    Study glycemic index and load levels
    The glycemic index and glycemic load indicates the effects that foods have on increasing your blood sugar and insulin levels
    Avoid high-glycemic foods, such as white bread and refined cereals, and choose low-glycemic foods, such as legumes, whole grains, and many vegetables and fruits, to help reduce cravings and make it easier to stick to a healthy diet plan

    Beyond the Diet

    To combat PCOS, diet, exercise, and weight loss are key along with these guidelines: Start walking
    A 10-minute walk, maybe around the block, is a great way to get more active
    45% of women with PCOS have severe depression
    Address stress and depression
    Many symptoms trigger stressful feelings
    Those feelings can make you feel worse and neglect the self-care you need to improve your condition
    It’s a vicious cycle
    Consider cognitive behavioral therapy
    This short-term talk therapy teaches coping skills and helps you control unhelpful behaviors
    In a 2009 study, eight weekly sessions plus three family sessions helped teens with PCOS lose weight and slash their depression scores
    Address depression
    If you have PCOS, you’re also at much higher risk for depression than other women
    Try meditation, yoga, or other relaxation techniques and ask your doctor whether a referral to a psychopharmacologist is appropriate