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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What can cause a PCOS symptom flare up?

    Im just finding that certain things like hair on my chin and a bloated pudgy tummy and a weight gain… Also acne flare up and some bleeding what sort of things cause this?
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    I'm an Accredited Practising Dietitian with more than 30 years experience. Particular areas of interest and expertise are in Obesity & Weight Mgt, Type 2 … View Profile

    Often weight gain exaccerbates symptoms of PCOS like the ones you mentioned.  Are you exercising very regularly? - getting your heart rate up? Following a Low GI Diet?  Is your carbohydrate portion controlled?  Are you taking Metformin?  These four things I have mentioned all help increased insulin sensivity or decrease insulin resistance…. which is usually the main culprit behind worsening symptoms of PCOS.   Maybe book a health check with your specialist or accreditied practising dietitian if you need review or discussion on any of the above.

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    Jean Hailes for Women’s Health is a leader in women’s health, supported by funding from the Australian Government. We provide trusted and easy-to-understand information to … View Profile

    Management of PCOS should be individualised, depending on the symptoms experienced by each woman. Women should seek professional advice in person, which may involve being referred to one or more specialists (e.g. an endocrinologist about hormones, a dietitian about food, a gynaecologist about bleeding, etc). Jean Hailes offers a multidisciplinary service for women with PCOS: You can attend the three sessions in person (if you're in or near Melbourne) or by video link (if you're in an eligible area), but either way you need a referral from a GP.

  • 3

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    Kate Marsh

    Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator, Dietitian

    Kate works with clients with type 1 and gestational diabetes, PCOS, and those following a plant-based (vegetarian or vegan) diet. As a diabetes educator, she … View Profile

    Lifestyle changes play an important part in managing PCOS so changes to your habits, such as not eating as well, doing less exercise, stress or not sleeping well can all worsen your symptoms of PCOS.  Gaining weight is also likely to worsen symptoms so taking steps to lose weight or prevent weight gain will usually help.  If you have put these lifestyle habits into practice and are still experiencing problems then it would be a good idea to see your doctor or specialist for review. If you need help with managing your diet or exercise consider seeing a dietitian or exercise physiologist with experience in managing PCOS.

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    Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    With PCOS keeping your cool is critical. Stress tends to cause PCOS symptoms to flare up. Studies have shown that some women who don’t menstruate have higher levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) than do menstruating women. Cortisol actually interferes with progesterone. It impairs progesterone activity and can promote estrogen dominance. Low progesterone and estrogen dominance are typical of women with PCOS and contribute to infertility.
    Too much stress  can have a negative impact on anyone’s health, increasing the risk of depression, insulin resistance, diabetes, infertility, heart disease and even cancer, but if you’ve got PCOS you may be at even greater risk. Cortisol, the active form of the hormone, can be turned into cortisone, the inactive form, by enzymes in the body – but researchers have found some women with PCOS don’t have these enzymes. This means their bodies cannot process cortisol properly, which causes higher levels of testosterone to be produced. So it seems that they may not be able to deal with stress as effectively as women who don’t have PCOS.
     
    Weight gain can also cause symptoms to increase. Lack of exercise is another piece in the puzzle which needs to be addressed if you find your symptoms getting worse.
    Having a well balanced diet, regular exercise, sufficient sleep and controlling stress – assist in controlling the symptoms of PCOS.

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