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The Lean PCOS Diet – for Women with Lean PCOS

I’ve recently had a number of questions from women with lean PCOS, asking whether diet plays as big a role in managing their symptoms as it does in women who are overweight and insulin resistant. The answer to that is “YES, diet plays a huge role.” A Lean PCOS diet is still vital in managing your PCOS symptoms. Let’s look at why.

PCOS is a highly complex, individual disorder that impacts women’s hormonal (endocrine) and metabolic systems in a profound way. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance and struggle with weight gain and huge difficulty losing weight.

But what if you are not insulin resistant or overweight? What if you could even do with putting on a few pounds but you still have the classic symptoms of PCOS – you have excess hair growth and irregular cycles, not to mention those ovarian cysts?

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PCOS and Insulin

Insulin and PCOSThere seems to be some conflicting information on the role of insulin in Lean PCOS. Not all women with lean PCOS are insulin resistant but some are. So, where does that leave YOU?

Although you may not have insulin resistance, impaired processing of glucose and dysfunction of the Insulin-producing cells is well-documented in PCOS. Even if you are overweight and manage to lose weight, the dysfunction of those cells does not change.

Insulin is also closely linked to increased male hormone levels in women with PCOS. One study found that “normal” insulin levels resulted in women with PCOS producing more androgens (male hormones) than women without PCOS.

So, you can see that management of insulin levels is vital in PCOS, whether you are lean or not.

Managing Insulin Levels – Vital to any PCOS Diet

That leads to the next question: How do we manage insulin levels using diet? You may well be tempted to try a high protein, low carb diet such as the Atkins Diet or Power Protein Diet. The problem with these diets is they often recommend a high intake of fats, most of which are saturated fats. Women with PCOS already have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and this can make the problem even worse.

Insulin and PCOSAlso, a diet that is very low in carbs can induce ketosis, a by-product of the body using it’s fat stores for energy as there is not sufficient glucose to provide the energy it needs. This remains controversial as many clinicians feel that it is unhealthy and dangerous.

However, research has shown that increasing your protein intake and slightly lowering your carbs has a significant impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. Make sure that you are getting your protein from lean, healthy proteins like fish, skinless chicken, lean red meat, nuts and legumes.

The recommendation is that you get 40% of your total caloric intake through carbs, and the rest from protein and healthy fats. Also, make sure that the carbs you are eating are unrefined and unprocessed as they will have less of an impact on your blood sugar and insulin levels.[dt_quote type=”pullquote” layout=”right” font_size=”big” animation=”none” size=”2″]Whether you are lean or overweight, your diet is vital to the management of your PCOS[/dt_quote]

It’s really important that you get a variety of nutrients, minerals and vitamins in your diet so make sure that you’re having plenty of vegetables and some fruit. Also, as you don’t need to lose weight, you don’t need to restrict your caloric intake. Rather manage your carb intake.

Whether you are lean or overweight, your diet is vital to the management of your PCOS. I’d love to hear your stories about what you have tried and what has worked for you. Just leave me a comment and let me know!

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Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and PCOS expert who has been a leader in the online PCOS space for over 8 years. Tarryn has the support of leading clinicians from around the world who support her scientific approach to understanding and talking about PCOS this includes all medical journals and ongoing research. You can read more about Tarryn and the team here.

60 Responses

60 Responses

  1. Hello there. What else would you recommend if following a true PCOS diet makes no difference at all in your symptoms? I have been following one for like two years and have managed to lose around 70 pounds but yet it has done absolutely nothing for my symptoms and my metabolic profile though is now excellent, including insulin. my symptoms are the same as before starting my PCOS diet. I got tested for NCAH too and it was negative. I also have a pituitary tumor and all doctors agree it is just incidental and cannot cause PCOS. We are sure it is not a prolactinoma as prolactin has stayed normal. I feel lost here and don’t know what else I could do.

  2. Hi, for Lean PCOS do we still need to cut gluten ? I do not have blood sugar concerns or insulin resistance. I am 5”5 130 lbs. I’m worried no carbs is going to make me thinner. I do my best to take in my calories in a healthy way .

    1. I lost weight when I tried the pcos diet, but it still made me feel better and my symptoms were way better (and after 3 months I was pregnant after trying for 5 years..). Even though my weight went too low.
      After the pregnancy I’m definetly going back on a pcos diet but I’m going to work on eating more calories so I don’t lose weight again.

  3. my periods were irregular since I started. I gained a lot weight without eating much. when I started medicines of Arogyam pcod kit, it changed me inside-out 6 months gone I hv finished treatment, my periods r regular, lost enough weight and my skin is glowing like….cant explain thanks Arogyam pcod kit

  4. I just diagnosed with pcos few months ago. I am already very thin, i weight 44kg. I have been following pcos diet, im not getting even skinnier. My friends said i look like a skeleton 🙁 i am trying for a baby. Help me Tarryn! :'( i want to gain weight. I dont want to be too skinny

    1. Mia, the diet element is still important but you have to include loads of high caloric foods like nuts, coconut oil, coconut products, olives… They won’t impact on your insulin but will help to give you more calories a day. Maybe also start upping your carbs but make sure that you are eating carbs with a low Glycemic Load. And lastly, are you taking any supplements for your PCOS? That may be the missing element for you. If you continue to lose weight, please go see a doctor. 44kg is a very low weight.

      1. Hi Tarryn,

        Thank you for the reply. Can you please post in more detail on the website about these High caloric healthy foods? I have some friends who have same problems as me, (thin PCOS), we followed PCOS diet but we are getting even skinnier. we are really struggling. 🙁

        1. I ate a lot of avocados, nuts and legumes. And for carbs I ate brown rice and quinoa. Sometimes dark bread, but than with more salads and fried veggies etc.
          Still lost a bit of weight but not super much, after pregnancy I’m going back on the pcos diet and try to eat more calories.
          I also used a high quality mommy vitamin, inositol, probiotics and vitex agnus. And I did Intermitted fasting.

    2. Hello, my name is Suzy and I also struggle with being skinny and dealing with pcos. I’m trying to control my pcos with diet and exercise but I’m afraid to lose weight. I would really appreciate it if you had any tips to shine some light on this struggling issue.

  5. Hello. I am 20 years old. I have not been officially diagnosed with PCOS, but I went for an ultrasound after not having a period for a year and there was the typical “string of pearls” cysts on my ovaries. I am 5’3 and weigh 123-130 lbs. I have never been overweight. I found that I can eat a lot of food (possibly well over 2,500 calories) and still not gain weight rapidly. I was a cross country runner in high school. Now I exercise 2-5 days a week. I was on estrogen to control my periods starting in 9th grade. I stopped so that I could better “assess” my period cycle. Before I started I had irregular and almost non-ceasing periods. I have noticed that my face is more broken out than usual (I have acne on my chin and lower cheeks). I am not sure what foods I should be eating and what medications I should be taking. My gynecologist has me taking progesterone.

    1. Hi,

      I am in your same situation I am 20 years old and have been officially diagnosed with pcos when I was 19. I was a marathon runner and had missed my period for a year which led to my diagnosis. However I have lean pcos and I’m assuming you do as well described by your body type. I am 5’4 and 118 pounds. I was on birth control for a couple years but stopped taking it and I believe that is the reason I wasn’t getting my period. Naturally after seeing the endocrinologist my period started coming back except more painful than ever. I now take an acid to a lieve the pain, however I am still not ovulating. As far as diet goes, I mainly eat very healthy and when I eat fast food I get very tired and sluggish. So I would recommend just eating healthy 80 percent of the time. Because we have lean pcos there isn’t much to do in terms of diet
      And because I like to be natural as possible as I think all those medications are bad for you I do not take any. In fact I was told that I shouldn’t take any until I try to become pregnant. I would suggest the same and just know there are others out there like you!

    2. I have the exact same as you, height, weight and food income, just never got my period without birth control. Tried going of the pill to see if I was able to, like you said, “assess” my cycle yet didn’t help. And same as you, acne on lower cheeks. If you find some solution please let me know!

    3. I used to always be way too thin, tried eating whole packages of cookies to gain some..
      When I started eating healthier, with more fibers, less fast sugars and processed food I started gaining weight:)

  6. Hi,
    as the links in the text who lead to the studies don’t work, I was wondering if there was any more research that has been done on the impact of insulin on not insulin resistant women with pcos. Does anyone have more information on this?
    Greetings,
    Monica

  7. Hi, I am 31 and have been diagnosed with PCOS on my right ovary and had been for a laparoscopic aspiration of a single cyst in my left ovary about a month ago. My gyno put me on metformin to regulate my cycles, however my uncle had passed away and through this hectically rushed period I had forgotten to take my meds for 2 whole days. Will this affect my cycle and the course of the treatment I’m on? Should I let my gyno know or should I continue taking the meds. I’m in the middle of my 3 month course.
    Plz help!

  8. Hi Tarryn!

    I am a lean cyster as well.
    When I got tested for PCOS, my blood test came back with high levels of testosterone, and my ovaries are cystic. My gyno put me on the pill. I was on it for a full year, but last october I decided to stop taking it. Since then I have gone completely gluten free and dairy free.

    I have not had a period for six months, and my acne came back with revenge.
    I don’t know what else to do. I’m not trying to get pregnant, but I do want to in the future. What should I do? 🙁

    1. Ask your endocrinologist about spironolactone. It was a hormone blocker. It will help you shred a few extra pounds of water weight and block those pesky male hormones causing excessive hair growth and acne. After 4-5 months, your acne will be gone and so will the hair.

    2. Hi!
      I also have PCOS and I would recommend the book: The WomanCode by Alisa Vitti. There are lots of great recommendation for nutrition and exercise and regulating irregular cycles. I wish you all the best!!

      1. Yes, they do! Gluten and dairy exacerbate hormonal imbalance according to Alisa Vitti “The Woman code”. I had followed her diet protocol for 6 months so far and it helped me a lot with my PCOS symptoms!

      2. I have been diagnosed with PCOS and my RE has also recommended a gluten and dairy free diet as those both increase inflammation which is usually already high in women with PCOS.

  9. So, I was diagnosed with pcos by an ultrasound, i gained 10 lbs this year, my skin breaks out and i grew facial hair. However, they said it didn’t matter if I got my blood glucose tested or my triglycerides in my blood because I am at a healthy weight,Im an athlete though I track my caloric intake workout 6 days a week and am generally active. So do insulin levels cause pcos or does pcos cause the insulin problems im so confused why my doctor wouldnt want me to get my insulin tested after diagnosing me if they are so closely related

    1. Apparently high insulin causes hormonal imbalance which in turn causes PCOS. A lot of doctors know very little about the condition. That’s exactly like my doctor! The only solution they have is the pill and that’s it.

  10. Hello everyone. I am 22, 5’2.5″ and weigh 112lb. I went to the doctor today and she said my ultrasound results show I have follicles in my ovaries and that my ovaries are larger than normal. I have hirsutism, which started 2 and a half years ago; it is small hair all over my body. She said she cannot diagnose me with PCOS because my blood test came out normal. But, she is willing to put me on birth control pills since I am sexually active. What should I do from here? Also, any suggestions for birthcontrol pills?

  11. Hello Tarryn
    I am having pco since i was 18 n now i am 28.I have a lean body and rather i need to put on weight as i look too weak.I have left taking dairy and try to take a good diet as recommended by you.Kindly tell me can i take homemade oat milk?Are oats gluten free or not because i am using quacker instant cooking oats and when i prepare that milk,it is very watery but a few times after heating it,it turned thick as if it contains gluten.Kindly guide me.

    1. Hi Sana,

      Rolled oats are naturally gluten free but are often not gluten free when you purchase them at the store. If you want to enjoy rolled oats, make sure you find on the label the words “gluten free” because this means precautions have been taken so that the oats were never contaminated. One example that is great tasting and a great price is at Trader Joe’s if you have one near you!

      Hope that helps!

  12. Hello,

    I am lean and have been diagnosed with PCOS. I have just began starting to reduce my carbs and increasing my calories. Do you know what a good amount of carbs daily would be? I have met with a nutritionist and am starting on 2000 calories a day and around 30g carbs per meal/snack so that would total around 180. Also, do you have any suggestions for exercises? Need more strengthening exercises, not cardio since I am trying to gain weight. Thanks!

  13. Hi i am underweight and i have pcos how can i gain weight in healthy way? I am really thin and tall. I don t know what to do would you please help me??

  14. Hi! I have been recently diagnosed with hypothalamic amenorrhea and thin PCOS. I understand that with HA, gaining weight by eating more and cutting back on exercise can really help restore ones cycle however with PCOS, gaining weight could make symptoms worse. How would you go about structuring your diet with the combo of these two?

  15. Hi, i am 5’8 and 50 kg, dignosed with pcos since 20, im 24 now and i want to ask you about diet for thin pcos patient, thank you

  16. Hi, I am 5’8 and only 110 pounds, diagnosed with PCOS since 15. I am 26 now, I actually have tried many things under the sun, but have not yet got the ideal cure. I am into Chinese medicine, just wanna share with you, that one of the food really helped regulate my period is Chinese okra.

  17. I started eating “real food” this year and limiting processed foods. I am now in the process of being diagnosed with PCOS. I’m trying to figure out my diet in relation to that. I am 26, 5’4″, about 135lbs. Would like to lose 10-15lbs but feel like weight isn’t my biggest issue. I don’t think I’m insulin resistant but I don’t think I’ve had all the tests for that. My blood pressure is on the low side, cholesterol is fine.

    You recommend 40% carbs and to slightly increase protein. I think I eat more fats than protein. How would you recommend splitting the fat and protein? 30% each, 40/20?

  18. I was diagnosed with PCOS just a few days ago, after 9 years of not being able to get pregnant, someone finally did something to find out why. I have been told it was due to my weight, stress, and so on. I was actually relieved with the diagnosis because I now know there is something wrong with me, but it can be managed. My doctor was very excited with my lab results. I had good estrogen levels, insulin was just slightly outside of the normal range, but my testosterone was quite high. She believes she can manage the issues easily for me to get pregnant. GREAT NEWS!! However, other than my medication I wasn’t given much info as to what I need to do above that. I’ve read about the diets, but my question is how do I get my husband on board with the diet? Obviously the suggested diet is more expensive and I cannot afford to go on the diet and still feed him our normal diet. Any suggestions??

  19. Hi Tarryn,

    Thank you for this article! It feels good to know what is going on with your body!

    My experience, unfortunately is that, not a lot of doctors are informed about that issue. I’ve had PCOS forever, going around and changing OBGs for over 15 years . Almost everybody undermined the problem thinking that if I’m thin, everything is fine. The one doctor din’t think “is’s fine” suggested I should have surgery!! WTF?! My ovaries don’t look pretty so you wanna cut them?!

    It wasn’t until last year that I met the first doctor who told me, it doesn’t matter I’m lean, I still have a PSOC, She was also the first to ask me if I have migraine with aura (which I do) before giving me the pill. It turned out, typical pills are dangerous for women with migraine with aura. It increases the risk of stroke! Thinking how many doctors prescribed me the pill just like that….it makes me shiver.

    So this doctor recommended to stop the simple carbs and even though she didn’t want to explain why are they bad for me, I decided to try. After all, cutting the sugar is always a good idea, thin or heavy. Despite my initial skepticism, it worked! Since the first month my period was as regular as Swiss public transportation! After several months we did ultrasound, and the little cysts were gone!! (Or almost gone, don’t remember)

    My main issue though is the motivation to keep up with my diet.
    I’m not trying to get pregnant right now, and honestly, even if never happens, it won’t be so devastating for me. My cholesterol is good, my blood sugar is OK, my heart is OK, I do sport regularly, and well…I’m thin…..so do I really need to eat as if I already have diabetes!?

  20. Hi Taryn, I have been on a google mission to make the right choices about my condition. Long story short I am 34, have 3 children with no issue. Have been on the pill for my entire reproductive life less pregnancies. Went off the pill last year when my youngest was 2 to move onto other methods. Did not get my period again until I went to my GYN, I have cysts and have PCOS. Endo confirms hormone levels and I am now on Metformin, its been about 5 weeks. I am very fit, low BMI. Can tolerate Met most of the time but I don’t love it. My question is I have gained a few pounds on Met and wondered if that is common, will is subside? If so is it a better option to go back on the pill. I am in a tailspin and refuse to gain weight b/c of medication, please help? Thanks so much.

  21. i am a thin pcos case, have done all my blood hormonal test as well vitamins..i am deficient with viatminD rest of them is fine. i am ttc for 1 year married for 2 years have checked ovulation cycle in which i ovulated and my egg size was also pretty good. endometrium lining is also good, i was on clomid june 2013- august 2013, since mid november i m on metformin. my periods are regular..i get acne but not much..it is mostly connected with my allergy of dust and dandruff. my periods are regular..but suddenly in january when i got my periods..it hardly lasted for 36 hours with couple of drops..it was on time.. my cycle is mostly on 29 or 30th day..i dont know what to do..should i continue with same doc medicine..or should stop any medication

  22. I have been diagnosed with PCOS today. With 16 follicles on one ovary and 26 on the other – mid cycle. I’m 28, 165cm and 69 kilos. My DHEAS level was 14 which is elevated for the Australian standard and my day 21 progesterone was low.
    I am not insulin resistant according to my fasting blood test. This is a very confusing diagnosis as my cycle is always regular and I have been advised with that many follicles it is highly unlikely that I am ovulating. We are looking to try to start a family after we get married in 6 weeks. Thank you for your article, it was very helpful as I have struggled to find info on non insulin resistant pcos.
    I’d be interested to hear if anyone else is in a similar situation to mine and became pregnant and also side effects from metmorfin.
    Thanks ladies! Chin up eh?

    1. Hi Jem,
      It has been a long time since you posted this, but your diagnosis is much like mine. I am not overweight, never have been, although as time goes on, I do notice that my tummy holds more weight rather than my bust, as it used to when younger!
      I was diagnosed about 2 years ago with PCOS and then was informed that I didn’t have PCOS but a ‘tendency towards cysts’ I think your diagnosis is more realistic. Either PCO or non insulin resistant PCOS.
      I did conceive naturally and unbelievably quickly (one week of trying) about 5 years ago and had a healthy pregnancy and now a very healthy boy. So the diagnosis was a surprise.
      Anyway, now, trying for number 2, I know that I am not or rarely ovulating. My gyn has recommended clomid next cycle and I have been on as close to a PCOS diet as i can get for about 5 months. Many of the symptoms I had previously have gone. My cycles are fairly regular, as they have been for many years. What the gyne suggested was to take clomid and then for me to go in for frequent ultrasounds to monitor whether an egg is in fact being released. That seems to make sense to me, so will try as soon as this cycle ends.
      I was also reading recently about reduced progesterone which I believe I suffer from. From today I will also build in non-inflammatory and progesterone friendly eating into my PCOS diet. This means no red meat (as I can’t get organic/ free range where I live at the moment) and increasing turmeric and cider vinegar.
      I see an acupuncturist and I saw a nutritionalist last year who has helped me focus better on my diet and stress levels.
      In answer to your question, yes people with a similar variant of PCOS can and do get pregnant. A good friend of mine has a lovely boy despite having PCOS for many years. Her pregnancy was unassisted.
      I hope this helps. But I hope more that in the past year you’ve had some success.

      R

  23. Hello,

    I just say my endocrinologist yesterday and I talk to him about diet because I’m seeing stuff about eliminating gluten , dairy and soy. Maybe a week or so before I started eliminating these things. He didn’t really say I need to stop eating any of it. I’m a little confused and eating LG foods looks like what. He just prescribed Metformin again but not spiralacton because I’m nursing. I’m thin but very conscious about my stomach people say what stomach. I’m starting to try to be more active. The Endo. Said my skin looked good could it be the diet? I am not a meat eater and soy is in many vegetarian meals. I hate hair on my face and the scares I have from blemishes and ingrown hair. How does taking these types of meds and lets say a patch for birth control affect the body.

  24. Hi. I’ve been reading about PCOS and your article really helps a lot.
    I was diagnosed with PCOS since last year. The doctor told me to take a pill for 6 months. I am currently taking for the 3rd month. At this point, I want to enroll in a gym because I was struggling to gain weight. Im underweight, and it was not good for me. Maybe, my enrollment for a gym can help to gain weight atleast. But then, I was confused if it will have an effect since I have a PCOS. Was it good for me to continue my fitness workout or stop it because it is not good for PCOS and since I am taking a pill?
    It is a big big thanks for me if you can help me with this. Thanks.

  25. Hi my name is zehra.. i am 23 years old and 5 feet’2 inches. And 50 kg weight ..i have been diagnose pcos on ultrasound..because of irregular cycles from 4 months..i am very upset and feared of my fertility..help me out
    please..can ovary picture of pcos will correct by treatment?

  26. Hi Tarryn,
    I am really struggling to find a balance. I am not heavily overweight maybe.only a couple of kilos and find it hard to tone up. My gyno suggested I take the pill again and prescribed me Yaz after taking Diane 35 for two years it really messed about with my emotional and mental health, my personality changed. I’ve been off of it 9months and my skin has really taken a hit and was prescribed ReTreive cream but the acne is starting to spring up all over my body. The hirutism is worse to with my (never noticeable) moustache getting obvious. I used to get migraine consistently and found before I even looked at the pill as an option my eating habits and everything was never a major issue, my skin was a little problematic but otherwise I was fine-ian. I feel like its ruined things for me. I am scared about attempting a second go after trying to be diligent with my diet I am failing. I never had issues with diary and never ate that much sugar for it to be a concern. Where do I go from here?? I really don’t know whether I should keep at trying to ‘diet’ being a ‘lean’ Pcos sufferer or whether the pill will be the best option. Thank you for ANY help or advice you can.provide.
    Thanks again.

  27. Hi Tarryn,
    I am really struggling to find a balance. I am not heavily overweight maybe.only a couple of kilos and find it hard to tone up. My gyno suggested I take the pill again and prescribed me Yaz after taking Diane 35 for two years it really messed about with my emotional and mental health, my personality changed. I’ve been off of it 9months and my skin has really taken a hit and was prescribed ReTreive cream but the acne is starting to spring up all over my body. The hirutism is worse to with my (never noticeable) moustache getting obvious. I used to get migraine consistently and found before I even looked at the pill as an option my eating habits and everything was never a major issue, my skin was a little problematic but otherwise I was fine-ian. I feel like its ruined things for me. I am scared about attempting a second go after trying to be diligent with my diet I am failing. I never had issues with diary and never ate that much sugar for it to be a concern. Where do I go from here?? I really don’t know whether I should keep at trying to ‘diet’ being a ‘lean’ Pcos sufferer or whether the pill will be the best option. Thank you for ANY help or advice you can.provide.
    Thanks again.

  28. Hello,
    I was recently diagnosed with PCOS. I have always been on the skinny side, and have head painful ovarian cysts on and off since I was a teenager. I was on birth control for most of my twenties. When I came off it, I got the classic symptoms – terrible acne, ovarian cysts, terrible mood swings and depression, thinning hair on my head, dull skin. I was put on Yaz and things have improved tremendously. I didn’t want to take any other medications, so I started drinking Spearmint tea – which is known for its ability to block testosterone. Between the Yaz and the Spearmint, things have improved tremendously! I still notice that I have to eat a lot, and if I eat a lot of carbs I get hypoglycemia symptoms about 3 hours later (even though I do not have hypoglycemia)including anxiety, sweating, trembling. This is one confusing disorder! I haven’t started trying for a baby, but will in a few years. I’m hoping to change my diet and continue to improve. Please keep posting, it is really helpful to know that there are others out there, and to find out information from you all. Good luck and stay healthy!

  29. Hi Tarryn,

    I am 25 years old very short and weigh 49Kg’s. My husband and I have been trying for a baby for about 2 years. I was dignoised with PCOS about 6 months ago. My Gyno has put me on Metformin and Clomid to try and regulate my cycle. It was working at the start but now I have gone a whole month without a period and they are all over the place again. I am so confused because all the PCOS diet plans I read refer back to losing weight and being obese. Out next option is IVF which really scares me and I want to try and do everything I can before we head done that track. Do you think a diet plan would work for someone my size?

    Thanks so much,
    Rebecca

  30. i am 24 unmarried i recently diagnosed with pcos.
    my doc has put me on Metformin 500 mg two times one tab daily along with Blong.yesterday i have noticed unwanted hair growth in my inner thighs area and around my nipples.just wanted to know does this happening because of metformin ? have a history of irregular periods because of PCOS does metformin help in regulation in my periods? does women with PCOS have high sex drive?
    please help i am frustrated because of these unwanted hair
    PS:i am virgin… LOL

    Regards

  31. Hi,

    I am 32 and recently got diagnosed with PCOS. I’ve had regular periods, just that for the last couple of years the flow has gotten scantier. Now I get my period for a day and spotting the next day. My prolactin is moderately high and AMH levels are high and the doc said I have lean pcos. My hair started thinning out the last couple of years and my skin is dull and people keep commenting on how I’ve lost weight on my face which really bothers me as I had a round full face and I wonder if this is cause of the pcos. My weight had been constant through the years. I am 5.2 and weight 48 kgs. The doc started me on Yaz and after a week of taking it I woke up with pain in my fingers and joints.I freaked out assuming Yaz caused the pain as Ive never had it before. So I discontinued it. Also Ive been very stressed and have terrible mood swings of late. Is there anything you can recommend to help me please?

  32. Hiii
    I’ve diagnosed with pcos too last week through an ultrasound , I’m 19 ,healthy my weight is ideal , I’m kinda lost cause of this she told me I have 9-10 small cysts on each ovary, had a hormone test showed high prolactin and a slightly high testosterone levels …. She gave me birth control pills to regulate my periods, which they came late sometimes for about 2 weeks or less, I didn’t have the insulin resistance test yet, she want me to come after the first doze of birth control pills I take, and want me to have another ultrasound, which made me more stressful and anxious , she said next appointment we will put a plan for treating some of the symptoms I have like excess hair and irregular periods…. I’m really depressed 🙁 would any type of diets could help, does stress worsen the whole ugly thing …

    1. Hi Doha,

      Thanks for your email. I’m sorry that you have been diagnosed with PCOS. It is never easy to getting the diagnosis!

      Diet really does help with PCOS. You need to make sure that you eat a low GI, whole food diet so that you can control your insulin and testosterone levels. Also, make sure that you are taking supplements like Omega 3, Inositol and Folic Acid, Vitamin D.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Tarryn

      1. Hi,
        I am 21 yrs old. Even i am suffering from pcos. However my acne has got better with time.. Only i keep getting these random huge pimples near the chin area (which is due to hormonal imbalance). I have hirsutism which is very depressing. As of now i am not on any prescribed drugs and have not consulted any doctor for the issue. However, i happen to read online that omega 3 helps with decreasing hirsutism. I have started taking 1.39g of omega 3 supplement each day. Is this dosage suffient ?

        Further, a family doctor has recommended aldactone for the hair growth. But i am not sure about it. Can you please advice me

  33. Thanks Tarryn!!!

    After I sent you the previous message, I realized you had posted all kinds of great infromation already in other articles. I think it is awesome the time and work you put into helping other women with PCOS and creating a sense of community!!I will take into account your advice. I have started with buying Inositol in the hopes that it will help with my insulin metabolism and maybe meals wont make me so tired. I will report back in the future.

    I will also keep following your posts!

    Good luck with everything,
    -Natalia

  34. Hi Tarryn,

    Thanks for your article. I thought I would share some of my story and ask you a few questions :), if that’s ok.

    I was diagnosed with thin PCOS about five years ago, when I was 22. I had a very painful cyst in my ovary and some of the other symptoms such as some acne and hirsutism, a little bit of extra fur like hair all over my body.

    Because the pill gives me bad migraines, I was put on spironolactone since then (100 Mg/ 2 day). I was told that Metformin wouldn’t work for me because I’m already very thin, 103 lb, 5’3 feet. I think spironolactone has worked mostly well, the acne and the hirsutism have gone away and I’m almost very regular now. I say almost because I can still feel the pain of the cysts every once in a while, and only in the past year I might have missed 2 periods that later resume with just spotting and a couple other instances where I just bled nonstop for 2 weeks. I also get incredibly sleepy every time I finish a meal, which I think is a symptom of the insulin resistance, and this is what bothers me the most right now, since I’m a student and need my brain to be ON during the day. To those situations my doctor says that I can’t really expect my body to just be completely normal all the time given the diagnoses, and that my blood labs look good.

    Overall I feel that the PCOS is controlled, but I wonder sometimes whether or not I’m doing the right thing with my diet. I am mostly vegetarian, with my main source of protein being beans, tofu, nuts, cheese and yogurt. I eat a lot of fruit and veggies, but because I’m also very physically active, I tend to loose weight if I don’t occasionally eat pasta, rice or bread. And I’m very aware I can’t lose weight. So I guess my my question to you is if you know of ways to keep the calorie intake up, without overdoing the fats? And, I have also read that milk products other than yogurt are not good, but if I stop eating cheese I would lose even more weight. What do you know about the effect of milk products on PCOS? Also, have you heard of other women taking spironolactone for PCOS? What has been their experience? And most importantly, have you ever heard of other women with PCOS feeling too tired after meals?

    Thanks again for all the info you already shared with us!!!

    -Natalia

    1. Hi Natalia,

      Thanks so much for your comment and sharing your story.

      Sounds like you do have things largely under control which is great. I have heard of a couple of women on Spironolactone and it seems to work quite well for PCOS as it works to lower testosterone levels. Interestingly, Metformin has been shown to be helpful for lean women with PCOS, especially if they are trying to conceive. The side effects are not great though.

      In terms of being tired after meals, women with PCOS tend to over respond to carbs, releasing too much insulin. My theory is that this is causing your sugars to crash after meals, leading to the tiredness. Also, are you sure you’re getting enough nutrients? The bread, rice and pasta is definitely needed, especially if you are active. Just make sure that they are whole wheat or whole grain versions. Cheese and dairy generally aren’t recommended for women with PCOS as they lead to increased testosterone and generally raise insulin levels quite high, in spite of being low GI. My thought would be that if you are on Spironolactone you may be okay because your testosterone is being managed already. Just wonder about your insulin and sugar levels crashing after dairy.

      Also, I would incorporate lots of healthy fats and don’t restrict calories. So, maybe increase portion sizes?

      I hope some of that helps!

      Tarryn

    2. Hi Natalia,

      You say you have bad migraine from bc. I started having migraines around the same time I started menstruating. My migraines typically last 4-8 hrs and happen 3-5 times a years. Over the years Ive also developed aura. I think my pcos is link with it. Just wanted to know if you had a similar experience.

  35. I’m lean 5ft 2″ just under 8st now. I’m read that metformin or clomid won’t be of huge benefit to me when i’m trying to conceive cause I’m thin. Is this true? I’ve an appointment with my endocrinologist next week for the first time in a year and I’m going ask her is there anything else I can do. I’m sticking to my low GI/Dairy free diet 80% of the time & i’m taking vitamins and supplements.

    1. Hi Laura,

      Thanks for your question. Metformin has been shown to be helpful for lean women with PCOS as it can stimulate ovulation and therefore result in pregnancy. Here is a research article that you can take to your Endocrinologist next week: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1472648310608097 Following your low GI, dairy-free diet will go a long way in getting and keeping your body in a good place for pregnancy.

      Good luck with your appointment next week!

      Tarryn

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