Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a commonly occurring endocrine disorder characterized by unwanted hair growth, lack of ovulation and polycystic ovaries (1). PCOS is a known cause of infertility. PCOS can result in an excess of hormones such as testosterone and DHEA, therefore create an imbalance in hormone production. This imbalance may affect conception via a disruption or even complete cessation of the menstrual cycle.
One common symptom of PCOS is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is associated with weight gain, high blood sugar, increased risk for high cholesterol and diabetes in addition to abnormal menstrual cycles. Diet is an important aspect when controlling insulin resistance and should include high amounts of complex carbohydrates (vegetables) and protein while limiting sugar and simple carbohydrate (sweets and treats).
In addition to diet, an exercise routine should also be included in the management of insulin resistance to attain your ideal body mass index. Body mass index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. BMI can be an indicator of high body fat and weight.
Research studies show reducing body mass index while eating a diet with low glycemic foods (foods that cause a lower rise in blood sugar when eaten) can have a positive effect on PCOS and fertility. One research study showed eating a diet with low glycemic foods for three months in conjunction with increased physical activity reduced body weight and improved infertility in women with PCOS (2).
So, if you have PCOS, reducing your BMI with regular exercise and low glycemic diet can reduce insulin resistance and improve your fertility success.