Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ovarian Cyst Symptoms: Diet for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Cysts in the ovaries are one of the most common endocrinal disorders in women within the reproductive age group. Estimates suggest that approximately 4-12% of American women suffer from ovarian cysts. European studies have shown a relatively lower prevalence at about 6-8% of reproductive age group. Also referred to as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), the condition is an important contributing factor for female infertility. This article provides insight into the problem of cysts in ovaries and also suggests certain dietary and lifestyle measures to treat the condition effectively.

Radiological Image of cysts

What is Ovarian Cyst? What is PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)?

Ovarian Cyst is a thin walled, fluid filled structure located within the ovary. In most cases ovarian cysts are usually harmless and found in almost all premenopausal females. Here is how cysts are formed in an ovary,  
  • During the reproductive lifespan of a female (which ranges from 35-40 years) and has approximately 500 monthly menstrual periods.
  • During each menstrual period, the ovary releases an ovum, which is formed from an ovarian follicle, during the mid of the menstrual cycle.
  • In some cases however, the ovarian follicle doesn’t mature and fails to release the ovum. This results in the formation of a fluid filled pea shaped structure in the ovary often referred to as an Ovarian Cyst. Most of the times, cysts in ovaries are harmless and often regress naturally. 
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, on the other hand is a complex condition which is characterized by formation of multiple cysts in the ovaries. These cysts are formed due to persistent failure of the ovarian follicle to mature completely and release the ovum. In this syndrome complex, new ovarian follicles are formed in each cycle, but fail to release the ovum and in turn get converted into ovarian cysts. This results in formation of multiple ovarian cysts in the ovary, which eventually results in an enlarged ovary.

Ovarian Cyst Symptoms: Symptoms of PCOS

Though in most cases ovarian cysts are asymptomatic and may be incidental findings on the abdominal sonogram. However some ovarian cysts, especially endometrial cysts and singular ovarian cysts may be associated with symptoms like,  
  • Severe abdominal pain, especially during menstrual cycles
  • Rupturing and internal bleeding may be observed in cases of very large cysts.
  • Compression on the surrounding organs namely the bladder or the rectum may result in symptoms like frequent urination or constipation.
On the other hand, symptoms associated with PCOS are relatively different type of symptoms,
  • Presence of multiple cysts in one or both ovaries. This is often based on ultrasound findings.
  • Menstrual irregularities in the form of amenorrhea (i.e. complete absence of menstrual cycles) or irregular periods which may last for over 45 days with absence of periods for about three to four months.
  • Several females complain of infertility, due to failure of ovulation
  • Obesity or sudden increase in weight gain after menarche
  • Acne and pimples on the face 
  • Hirsutism or excessive facial and body hair
  • Hair loss on the scalp

Cyst in Ovary Causes: Causes of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

The etiology or causative factors for formation of ovarian cysts are not clearly understood. There are various factors which have been identified,  
  • Genetic or hereditary factors play a crucial role in the occurrence of PCOS and ovarian cysts
  • Hormonal imbalance caused in the body primarily due to use of oral contraceptives or faulty dietary practices can also increase the risk of occurrence of cysts in the ovary
  • Lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle is also linked with the increase in ovarian cysts and PCOS
Diet for Ovarian Cysts: Dietary Management for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Making certain dietary changes is necessary to manage the symptoms of PCOD effectively. Diet plays a crucial role in the management of weight gain, preventing or tackling diabetes, treating acne, and handling mood swings.
    Lower Caffeine intake
  • Avoid caffeine and stay away from caffeinated drinks. High levels of caffeine can upset the production of hormones and weaken the adrenal glands. Also, these beverages are high in calories. You need to limit your intake of tea, coffee, and chocolate. Pouring coffee and tea into small cups instead of large ones can help you lower your caffeine intake.
  • Include foods that have a low glycemic index, as PCOS is often associated with fluctuation in the levels of insulin. Low glycemic foods include - vegetables, whole cereals (whole wheat, brown rice, broken wheat, and oats), fresh fruits (avoid currants, dates, dried figs, melons, and watermelon,).
  • Avoid refined and processed foods. Saturated oils and Transfats are considered to increase the risk of ovarian cysts and PCOS. 
  • Avoid high glycemic foods which include confectionery items, baked foods, processed meats, refined flour, refined sugar, soft drinks, and alcohol.
  • Opt for skimmed milk, instead of whole milk; it has lesser fat and calories.

No comments:

Post a Comment