Comprehensive Guide to Nutrition in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)


Annchen Weidemann
Specialist Dietician, Vredenburg, Western Cape, South Africa

Series: Nutrition and Diet Research Progress
BISAC: MED060000

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the single largest cause of infertility in women of childbearing age, with the incidence having risen from around 15 % to 21 % within 6 – 8 years. Not only has the incidence risen in this population, but in adolescents, PCOS is being diagnosed earlier and more frequently, than ever before.

There is no written “diet” or single food that cures PCOS, but factors from Westernized eating such as trans fats, advanced glycation end-products and fructose overload, are factors which affect both the development of PCOS and the resistance to drug-related treatment of it. For the woman with PCOS, whether trying to fall pregnant of manage symptoms, it is of cardinal importance to understand that a “diet mentality”’ is inappropriate, since the entire lifestyle should be changed to favour the menstrual cycle and the production of its hormones for at least 3three months prior to expecting normal ovulation. The awakening and development of the primordial follicle destined to become the ovulatory one, 85 days prior to ovulation, points to the compulsory consistency of improved eating habits and lifestyle.

Almost every single food/meal/drink/snack has an influence on your ovulatory capacity. It is imperative that the PCOS woman seeking help for either symptomatic relief or fertility, understands the relationship of the hormonal chaos of PCOS to the hormonal chaos of a poor diet.

The standard dietary composition, of 20 % protein, 50 % carbohydrate and 30 % fat, was used to treat PCOS since the beginning of research, after the discovery of PCOS as Stein-Leventhal syndrome in 1935. Weight loss was known to be the most important factor in treating PCOS, but no progress was made, and the drop-out rate of diets given to these women was extremely high. For some reason, women with PCOS could not adhere to a formal diet, and battled weight loss, although small studies could not confirm this. The answer to this probably lies in the disturbance of their hunger and satiety cascade, regulated by insulin.

New drugs have seen the light and were tested on females with PCOS with mediocre results, showing that something else but the PCOS was at play.

This book is dedicated to show the power and strength of poor dietary habits (and visa versa) on drug treatment of PCOS, and the lack of need for it when dietary habits and lifestyles are improved. In PCOS, drugs could probably never win over a poor eating lifestyle, which is a point often missed by fertility specialists eager to help with a quick -fix, rather than a longer process that can be maintained over the long-term.

The mere fact that in women undergoing IVF treatment, end-stage-glycation products were found in their oocytes, tells a story of the horrendous effect of poor dietary habits on fertility.

Both the keto-genic diet and intermittent fasting (done under professional dietetic supervision), either apart or together, have provided a means for quicker and safer weight loss, especially if time is of the essence in older couples.
(Imprint: Nova Medicine and Health)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


List of Tables

List of Figures

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

Part One: The Science behind the Disorder of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Chapter 1. About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Chapter 2. Factors in the Pathophysiology of PCOS

Chapter 3. Menstrual Irregularities and the Use of Oral Contraceptive Pills

Chapter 4. Alternative and Complementary Treatments for Use in PCOS

Chapter 5. PCOS in Adolescence

Part Two: Nutritional Considerations and Treatment Strategies for the Woman with PCOS

Chapter 6. The Optimal Diet for PCOS

Chapter 7. New Dietary Strategies for Treatment in PCOS




“This is a groundbreaking collection of evidence that will have far reaching implications, and far beyond PCOS. This book does not only provide the evidence, it also gives practical advice on dealing with the nutritional consequences of a “pro-inflammatory” lifestyle. “ <B>- Dr Steven van der Merwe, MBChB (Stell); B. Nutrition (Stell); Cert Oncolology, Newcastle, UK; Nelson Mandela University, South Africa</B>

“Annchen Weidemann has transformed the traditional understanding I had of PCOS. Her extensive research explores, how through a change in diet, the syndrome can be addressed more powerfully through nutritional means. This is a thought provoking approach, and has for me completely changed the way that l will manage PCOS patients in future, and to not just rely on medication. The author has succeeded in bringing theory and practice together in a way which should speak to any reader that has or deals with this syndrome.” <B>- Dr. Susan Annandale, University of Pretoria, Former HOD Paediatrics, 1 Military Hospital, SAMHS/SANDF; Private practice, Western Cape, South Africa</B>

Additional Information

Keywords: Polycystic ovarian syndrome, PCOS, nutrition for PCOS, infertility, anovulation, weight loss and PCOS, Annchen Weidemann PCOS dietician, diet for PCOS, women’s health, female fertility

Gynecologists, infertility specialists, dieticians, and all students of said disciplines at all Universities world-wide.
The PCOS-suffering female might find great relief in this book
PCOS groups and associations

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