Poly cystic ovary disease or syndrome (PCOD/PCOS) is now becoming a very common problem encountered amongst the adolescent girls and young women of reproductive age group. Most times it may go unnoticed, unless one visits her gynecologist for any problem related to her menstruation. There is a strong association between PCOD and one’s dietary habits, and one of the management criteria in this disorder. The pathophysiology of this problem is closely related to the other lifestyle disorders like obesity, diabetes and hypertension.

Basically PCOD relates to an ovulatory problem that affets 5%-10% of women in their peak reproductive years. It involves a hormonal imbalance that can cause abnormal functioning of the ovaries. There may be enlargement of single or both the ovaries, with fluid filled cysts may be observed around it. Some of the common presentations of PCOD may be gaining weight in late teens leading to obesity, irregular periods or bleeding, insulin resistance, hypertension, acne or oily skin or even excess hair growth on the body and face (hirsuitsim).

The management of PCOD is mainly diet based. As almost 50% of the women with this disorder are overweight or obese, the obvious intervention involves improving one’s diet to a more balanced and healthy one along with a healthy lifestyle modification, like physical activity, regular meal timings and sleep hours etc.

Recommended lifestyle and dietary modifications include:

  • Weight loss of 5%-10% of overweight in 3 months.
  • Decreased intake of simple carbohydrate diets like sweetened beverages, fruit juices, sweets etc.
  • Increase fiber intake.
  • Decreased fat intake, specially the saturated fats or even trans fats.
  • Small frequent meals distributed over the day to help control blood sugar levels.
  • Adequate protein intake.
  • A minimum of 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week to prevent diabetes.