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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

PCOS and Low-Carb

Another reason that I shouldn't be allowed to play on the Internet. I have found multitudes of information on the benefits of living the low-carb lifestyle. Earlier I came across a bit of information about PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)

If you don't know anyone who has been diagnosed with this disease, you may not know much about it. Here's a quick overview of what it is.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a problem in which a hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with a woman's menstrual cycle, and also make it difficult to get pregnant (cause infertility). PCOS may also cause unwanted changes in the way you look. It can cause weight gain, unwanted hair growth, acne, etc. If it is not treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS) is common, affecting as many as 1 in 15 women. Often the symptoms begin in the teen years. Treatment can help control the symptoms and prevent long-term problems.

Interestingly, it is thought that PCOS stems from hyperinsulinemia. Big word, huh? Basically, that is "carbohydrate intolerance." Even more interesting. Do you know what the first step in treating PCOS often is? Bet you can guess... It's low-carb dieting. Many doctors suggest that their patients go low-carb as a first attempt at combating PCOS and successfully conceiving. In fact, many women with PCOS report that low-carb dieting was the first and only step that they took to successfully conceive, and that it worked.

There are many women who suffer from PCOS and do not even know it. The following symptoms are associated with PCOS:

Weight gain and trouble losing weight.
Extra hair on the face and body (often women get thicker and darker facial hair and more hair on the chest, belly, and back)
Thinning hair on the scalp
Irregular periods (often women with PCOS have fewer than nine periods a year; some women have no periods; others have very heavy bleeding)
Fertility problems
Cyst on their ovaries (these are not harmful, but they do cause hormonal imbalance, causing the infertility)

These symptoms do not need to all be present for you to have PCOS. Sometimes they are mild, and other times they are severe. If you are currently experiencing some of these symptoms, or know someone who is, it wouldn't hurt to consult a doctor. You may not be suffering from PCOS, but it is a good idea to rule it out.

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