Pcos and misbelieves

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I have been told… I have heard about… I have read on the Internet. Keeping up with the newest pieces of information is important, but we should shed some light on the topic as sometimes what you read or hear is not scientifically true. We may believe in a very fascinating theory, we may get afraid of something surprising, very often we consider other women’s experiences as absolute axioms. Well, you must get informed, but you need to be able to distinguish what is objectively true from what you can forget.

If you want to manage PCOS successfully you have to stay grounded, take only the specialists’ pieces of advice and be rational.

In the following true/false list, I mean to highlight what has been scientifically stated and what has been denied.

If you want you can make your own question and the list will get longer and longer!

  • PCOS women are always overweight or obese

FALSE: scientific researchers have clearly shown that most women with PCOS have a body mass index over 25, but also slim or even thin ones may suffer from PCOS and hyper-androgenism. The latter ones may also get a very late diagnosis which may lead to more serious medical complications in the long term. Thin women with PCOS may show a little adiposity on the abdomen and a quite masculine body shape. They find out about PCOS when they try to get pregnant.

  • There are no specific treatments to cure PCOS

TRUE: no panic. It is a multifaceted syndrome, which shows several features and may be highly subjective. The underlying reason hasn’t been discovered yet, as a consequence there is no specific solving medicine. And watch out! There are some “solving” books, those ones which have a solution for every problem, which tell you about irrefutable pieces of truth and give you easy food plans written by women who claim they have defeated PCOS! I really would like to tell you that you will need just a few simple moves to erase PCOS from your life, but I can’t. You have to turn to recognized specialists who evaluate your symptoms carefully and give you the most suitable treatment to your own peculiar condition in order to control the syndrome and guarantee a good quality of life. And don’t forget: eat healthily and do exercise.

  • You can’t have children if you have polycystic or micro- polycystic ovaries

FALSE: according to scientific facts women who have cysts or micro-cysts may get pregnant less easily as their ovulation is less predictable and performing. Nevertheless, several studies have shown that PCOS woman succeed in conceiving at least one child naturally. When this happens, the doctors will investigate other factors which are not linked with PCOS, such as the perviety of the tubes of the quality of the partner’s sperm.

  • If you have ovary cysts you suffer from the polycystic ovary syndrome

FALSE: two of the following three factors have to occur to make a PCOS diagnosis (according to the 2003 Rotterdam diagnostic criteria): irregular periods, clinic or bio-chemical androgenism, and presence of ovary cysts. So, you may suffer from PCOS even if your ovaries are perfectly clean.

  • PCOS disappears after the menopause

FALSE: it changes some of its features, but it does not fade away. PCOS is not only connected to the hormonal balance, but it affects the metabolic functions as well. That’s the reason why a healthy and active lifestyle during the child-bearing age may have great positive effects after the menopause- scientific facts have clearly demonstrated that it is the only way to prevent complications such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, dysplipidemia, and endometrial cancer.

  • A carb-free diet is good for PCOS

TRUE/FALSE: yes and no. Rapidly digested sugars from sweets and sugary drinks must be definitely avoided, most all with fast stomach because they make glycaemia increase dramatically and stimulate the production of insulin in the pancreas. Nevertheless, a food plan tailored on the need of PCOS does contain complex carbs as pasta, bread, grain cereals (whole-grain ones are highly recommended) along with not very ripe fruit. They provide our organism with healthy fuel, nutrients and fibers which favor the global metabolism, the fat one as well without stimulating insulin too much. 

  • If you suffer from PCOS you will never be allowed to have high glycemic index food any more

FALSE: PCOS is different from an allergy, and the diet must be varied and balanced. Nothing has to be cut out, but some kinds of food are much more recommended than others. Is the low glycemic index considered the best option? Well, but be careful because you must balance all the foods you have in your meals. For example, potatoes should be cut out because they have a high glycemic index, but they are almost never eaten alone in a meal. If you have a reasonable serving of potatoes with some fish, plenty of vegetables and a spoon of olive oil, their effect on the glycaemia will decrease.

  • PCOS is the only responsible if you can’t lose weight

FALSE: the diet has to be tailored on the individual’s condition after an accurate analysis of the body mass composition, and exercise. The individual plays a very important role in the success of the diet; the directions of the nutritionists must be takenwith great care. Actually, an excess of cortisol, a not very active pituitary gland, or insulin resistance can slow the loss of weight down, but they can’t stop it at all. 

About Stefania Cattaneo

I am Stefania Cattaneo and I am a Nutritionist Biologist. I have always been fond of sports and nutrition most of all related to the women. I work in my private office near Turin, there I see every sort of patients with really different problems and needs. Actually, I mainly deal with sports people and women who suffer from hormonal ailment linked to the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I'll do my best to widen your knowledge (and mine as well) about this hard, difficult awkward but fascinating topic: PCOS.