Dietary Recommendations and Supplements for Women With PCOS

August 15, 2018   /




Dietary Recommendations and Supplements for Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome 



Anne Danahy, MS, RDN


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder, which affects between 6% to 20% of reproductive-age women worldwide. It is a frequent cause of anovulatory infertility. Women with PCOS are at increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease as they age.1,2


Young Women Who are Contemplating Pregnancy
Pregnancy and Exercise

Women with PCOS have imbalances in their levels of estrogens and androgen hormones, with excess androgen production. They often have several of following signs and symptoms:

  • Menstrual disorders (often skipped cycles)
  • Hirsutism (male-pattern hair growth on the face, chest, or back)
  • Obesity
  • Impaired glucose tolerance
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Elevated levels of inflammatory markers
  • Infertility
  • Sleep apnea
  • Anxiety and/or depression

Statistics indicate that 50% to 80% of women with PCOS are obese, 30% to 35% have impaired glucose tolerance (often independent of body weight), and 8% to 10% have diabetes. Women with PCOS are also at increased risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, as well as endometrial cancer.3

Nutrition therapy can play an important role in managing hormones, symptoms, and minimizing comorbid disease risk later in life.