Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is an endocrine disorder that causes the ovaries to develop numerous cysts. This condition affects women of reproductive age and is caused by hormone imbalances, specifically androgen levels. Let’s explore the potential benefits of the ketogenic diet for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Excess androgen levels can lead to a variety of symptoms, mostly associated with high testosterone levels. In order for a PCOS diagnosis to be made, at least 2 of the 3 following criteria must be met:
- Irregular menstruation: an individual experience absent, irregular, or infrequent periods
- Ovarian cysts: an individual experience enlarge ovarian with fluid-filled cysts that cause the ovaries to function improperly
- Elevated androgen levels: blood tests will confirm excess androgen levels, but physical signs may be seen (e.g., excess hair growth, acne, etc.)
What Are the Symptoms Of PCOS?
PCOS symptoms typically present as early as the first menstrual period, but may also develop in adults in response to weight gain.
While the symptoms of PCOS vary in presentation and severity, the most common include:
- Weight gain
- Menstrual irregularities
- Excess hair growth
PCOS can have several other complications, including increasing the risk for infertility, gestational diabetes, miscarriage, cancer, uterine bleeding, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
How Does Diet Influence PCOS?
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but research suggests a major contributing factor is high insulin levels and insulin resistance.
Insulin is an endocrine hormone secreted by the pancreas and necessary for blood glucose control. Insulin is like a key that opens the door of cells so that glucose can enter and be used as fuel. In doing so, glucose is removed from the bloodstream, and thus blood glucose levels are controlled. Frequent and excess sugar consumption can lead to high levels of insulin release and insulin receptors to become desensitized to insulin signaling.
Ketogenic Diet and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Is It Useful For PCOS?
The ketogenic diet shows promise as a therapy for PCOS since both weight gain and insulin resistance are correlated with the risk of development and symptom severity. Research suggests following a very low carbohydrate ketogenic diet can improve insulin sensitivity and promote weight loss. Furthermore, improvements in circulating sex-hormone levels have been seen in individuals following this way of eating.
How Do I Find Out More Information About the Ketogenic Diet and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
For more information about the therapeutic benefits of a ketogenic diet for PCOS, check out the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Doctors Guide in Keto Club.
Chelsea Malone works as a researcher in the field of health and performance supplementation. She contributes science-based articles and information to Ketogenic.com. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Central Florida and her Master of Science in Medical Sciences from the University of South Florida. Her specialties are in biochemistry, immunology, and pathophysiology. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, hiking, and reading.