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PCOS and IBS diet

KeshNZKeshNZ Member Posts: 73 Member Member Posts: 73 Member
Does anyone else suffer from both PCOS and IBS? What diet/eating habits do you find really help your symptoms and weight loss?

I'm really struggling right now. I was diagnosed with PCOS last year following the birth of my child, it's taken me 6 months drop only 2kg following my usual eating/exercise habits (normally it would be at least double the loss by now). I'm not on any meds for my PCOS but I do need to try drop at least another 5, preferably 10kg to see if that helps alleviate my symptoms. Another issue is that I suffer from IBS and currently things like dairy, red meat, eggs, many legumes/beans and nuts just don't agree with me. I'm finding it very hard to fill up on a good protein source and many shakes also cause flare ups. General symptoms are fatigue, cramps, bloating and very mixed digestive issues. I find I turn to refined carbs more and more for the quick energy hit and to fill me up short term, this of course does not help my weight loss efforts!

Any suggestions on a good diet to follow for both PCOS and IBS? Should I maybe seek help from a dietitian?
edited March 12

Replies

  • concordanciaconcordancia Member Posts: 5,317 Member Member Posts: 5,317 Member
    KeshNZ wrote: »
    Should I maybe seek help from a dietitian?

    Yes, this.

    I can give one piece of non dietary advice: the big thing with PCOS is the insulin resistance that often accompanies it. Are you getting some kind of exercise to help with that?

  • KeshNZKeshNZ Member Posts: 73 Member Member Posts: 73 Member
    KeshNZ wrote: »
    Should I maybe seek help from a dietitian?

    Yes, this.

    I can give one piece of non dietary advice: the big thing with PCOS is the insulin resistance that often accompanies it. Are you getting some kind of exercise to help with that?

    Thanks for your reply. I'm not really at this stage, so far my doctor has just said "oh, you have PCOS, try to lose some weight to see if that helps"... This seems to be the usual story with this kind of diagnosis. I didn't even receive an info sheet on PCOS! Where should I look for help with insulin resistance?

  • concordanciaconcordancia Member Posts: 5,317 Member Member Posts: 5,317 Member
    KeshNZ wrote: »
    KeshNZ wrote: »
    Should I maybe seek help from a dietitian?

    Yes, this.

    I can give one piece of non dietary advice: the big thing with PCOS is the insulin resistance that often accompanies it. Are you getting some kind of exercise to help with that?

    Thanks for your reply. I'm not really at this stage, so far my doctor has just said "oh, you have PCOS, try to lose some weight to see if that helps"... This seems to be the usual story with this kind of diagnosis. I didn't even receive an info sheet on PCOS! Where should I look for help with insulin resistance?

    In your case, you really need to look to a dietician, perhaps one that specifically deals with PCOS and/or diabetes education. If I were helping you, I would up your protein, high fiber, don't be afraid of fat etc, and it doesn't sound like that will work with your IBS, especially since you have to limit some of the foods one is normally encouraged to increase on an FODMAP plan.

    That is why I specifically said that my advice was non dietary. However, exercise is well proven to help with insulin resistance and reduce BMI for those with metabolic disorders. Unfortunately, most studies dealing with PCOS and exercise have been primarily concerned with "fertility function" (whether or not your period stabilizes) than overall health indicators and other PCOS symptoms. Besides, exercise is good for like 99% of the population for overall health.
  • foreverslim1111foreverslim1111 Member Posts: 2,323 Member Member Posts: 2,323 Member
    I have IBS too. I did online research on this and found the fodmap diet. It pinpoints the specific foods that are the cause of IBS for most people. I have been following this for 4 days now and have had zero abdominal pain. I recommend "The Complete Low-Fodmap Diet by Sue Shepherd & Peter Gibson. You can find it on Amazon. It's like a miracle to me to be pain free. Hope this helps you like it did me.
  • DancingMoosieDancingMoosie Member Posts: 7,248 Member Member Posts: 7,248 Member
    My mom has ibs and has always said something simar to south beach diet works for her. She is sensitive to most carby things and beans, so she mostly eats chicken, eggs, spinach, and soft vegetables. Is pcos related to low thyroid? She has low thyroid, not pcos.
  • KeshNZKeshNZ Member Posts: 73 Member Member Posts: 73 Member
    I have IBS too. I did online research on this and found the fodmap diet.

    The low FODMAP/elimination diet is great, I first followed it when I was diagnosed with IBS 10 years ago, hence why I know my triggers at the moment are dairy, red meat, eggs, many legumes/beans and some nuts. Triggers can change over time, I could eat all those things before pregnancy. My big issue is I'm not left few options for a good filling protein source!
  • KeshNZKeshNZ Member Posts: 73 Member Member Posts: 73 Member
    exercise is well proven to help with insulin resistance and reduce BMI for those with metabolic disorders. Unfortunately, most studies dealing with PCOS and exercise have been primarily concerned with "fertility function" (whether or not your period stabilizes) than overall health indicators and other PCOS symptoms. Besides, exercise is good for like 99% of the population for overall health.

    Thanks. Are there specific exercises that help with PCOS? I've never heard this.

    Currently I walk 30 minutes every day as a minimum. I also practice yoga for at least half an hour every couple of days and cycle or hike on weekends when I can. I'm looking at adding back some compound weights workouts 3x times a week as well (things like squats, lunges, basic dumbbell exercises), I just need to be careful with my back
    as pregnancy also gave me sciatica!

  • xxzenabxxxxzenabxx Member Posts: 833 Member Member Posts: 833 Member
    KeshNZ wrote: »
    Does anyone else suffer from both PCOS and IBS? What diet/eating habits do you find really help your symptoms and weight loss?

    I'm really struggling right now. I was diagnosed with PCOS last year following the birth of my child, it's taken me 6 months drop only 2kg following my usual eating/exercise habits (normally it would be at least double the loss by now). I'm not on any meds for my PCOS but I do need to try drop at least another 5, preferably 10kg to see if that helps alleviate my symptoms. Another issue is that I suffer from IBS and currently things like dairy, red meat, eggs, many legumes/beans and nuts just don't agree with me. I'm finding it very hard to fill up on a good protein source and many shakes also cause flare ups. General symptoms are fatigue, cramps, bloating and very mixed digestive issues. I find I turn to refined carbs more and more for the quick energy hit and to fill me up short term, this of course does not help my weight loss efforts!

    Any suggestions on a good diet to follow for both PCOS and IBS? Should I maybe seek help from a dietitian?

    I would definitely speak to a dietitian. I just wanted to add that I have PCOS and IBS and I eat dairy, gluten and sugar and all the foods you mentioned above (I also have an Ed history so long term deprivation used to make me binge). I used to deprive myself and I honestly didn’t feel better. In the end even elimination diets are meant to be temporary unless you have a medical diagnosis and this took me a long time to realise. Unless you have a medical allergy, there’s no reason to cut foods out. Now for the practical tips that helped me with ibs:

    1. Soaking lentils/beans before cooking them in baking soda over night (this is part of my culture too and my grandma does it)
    2. Eliminate gluten for 2-3 weeks and then slowly re-introduce into your diet
    3. Do the same for dairy
    4. Try to use better quality dairy if possible
    5. IBS is CLOSELY linked to the brain- especially anxiety, and it wasn’t until I dealt with my anxiety that my digestion improved
    6. Chew carefully- honestly it’s crazy how little we chew our food and that worsens IBS
    7. Eat smaller balanced meals (if you don’t already)
    8. Consider getting a high quality probiotic supplement and take it for 6 months-1 year depending on symptoms and yes it helped me A LOT
    9. Go and see a dietician as well however I know it’s not always possible to do that straight away
    10. In terms of sugar- just try and limit added sugar in moderation but if it makes your PCOS worse then you might have to reduce it significantly
    11. Walk- honestly walking helps my digestion soooo much! I aim for 10,000 steps a day
    12. You might want to cut down on excess sodium as well
    13. Drink enough water and even some herbal teas such as peppermint (my doctor actually recommended that)

    Hope this helps :)
  • Strudders67Strudders67 Member Posts: 911 Member Member Posts: 911 Member
    I can't comment on PCOS but I was diagnosed with IBS more than 25 years ago. I've mostly grown out of it - i just developed intolerance to a bunch of other stuff instead, including dairy. Back then I just had to get on with it, although I too was recommended peppermint tea as something to sooth the bloating I'd get. Now, I'd push for a referral to a dietician. I found that spicy foods and things like onions triggered me the quickest and, even now, if I'm going to have an IBS-type reaction, they'll still be the cause.

    I suggest you try sheep's milk or goat's milk to see if they help as an alternative to dairy. If they do, you'd probably be OK with the cheeses too, which at least gives you some variety for meals. Failing that, try unsweetened soya milk. I've now switched to almond milk, just because it's lower in cals and higher in fibre than soya milk, but if you can't tolerate nuts that probably won't work. Oat milk is quite high carb and, from the little I know about PCOS, may not be a good choice.

    If it's available in your part of the world (or you can find a similar alternative), Alpro's Plain No Sugar soya yoghurt is palatable - as a snack or for dessert, I add 15g chia seeds to a 100g serving to get 7g of protein. With a handful of berries and a larger serving of the yoghurt, it's quite nice for breakfast.

    Oats are also a good source of protein, so perhaps have porridge for breakfast - you can make it with water rather than milk. I add a handful of berries (and some chia seeds) to my bowl so it doesn't seem so bland.

    Chicken, other poultry and quite a lot of fish are high in protein, which opens up options for lunches and dinner, even if your diet may get a bit monotonous. Also, quite a lot of veg is relatively high in protein.

    I did find that eliminating things from my diet for three months or more, then gradually reintroducing them, helped a lot. There's no guarantee that you'll be the same, but it's worth cutting certain items out completely (once you've found good alternatives) and see if you can effectively reset your body by giving it a break from foods that It's reacting to.
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