So What Is PCOS And How Do I Find Out About It ?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is the name for a collection of hormonal symptoms that affect 10 to 20% of women to varying degrees. It isn’t always easy to have an accurate diagnosis and the advice given for treatment is often limited. Women can have a difficult time trying to sort this out so this is a brief guide to asking the right questions and knowing if the answers are also on the right track.

International Guidelines for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome were published in 2018. They can be accessed on the website for the Monash University Centre for Health Research and Implementation, along with helpful videos and resources. www.monash.edu   This is the best source of the current scientific evidence for PCOS and clarifies issues around diagnosis, menstruation, fertility, mood and so on that traditionally women and their GP’s have  struggled to untangle.  One resource available is a GP tool for doctors that you can download and take to your medical appointment to discuss your symptoms and options more fully.

Lifestyle change separate to weight is the basis of all treatments. One part of the guideline I like is the one that says there is no one diet for the treatment of PCOS.  There are many ways of eating that suit your tastes and lifestyle that will help with managing your hormones.

Overall the guideline is still too weight focused which reflects the weight bias and stigma that is such a part of our research and culture. It is good on the other hand that a broader picture of health that includes mood, body image and eating disorder awareness has made it into guidelines such as these.

Guidelines provide a pathway but for each individual but this has to be translated into their own choices for their body and lifestyle.  I have done a podcast with Louise Adams for her All Fired Up website dated June 2018 which summarizes my approach.  The American dietitian Julie Duffy Dillon www.juliedillonrd.com  has great resources and online learning available or the other website that is useful is for the women’s health organization Jean Hailes.  www.jeanhailes.org.au

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