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Why PCOS and Gluten Don’t Mix

One of the topics that I haven’t yet addressed when it comes to a PCOS diet is the issue of Gluten. I firmly believe that we need to be gluten free and all of the meal plans and recipes that I prepare for my monthly members are free from gluten (and still taste amazing). We haven’t actually looked at why combining PCOS and gluten is not a good idea.

The Research

Medical research on the impact of gluten on PCOS is scarce but I have reason to believe that gluten contributes to our PCOS symptoms. I have had so many women report that they have lost weight, don’t feel bloated and have seen an improvement in their symptoms when they give up gluten for a month. Let’s have a look at why this might be the case…

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You may well be Gluten Intolerant

PCOS-and-gluten-fatigueRecent research has shown that at least 1 in 3 Americans are predisposed to gluten intolerance (1). That is a significant percentage of the population!

Here are some of the symptoms of gluten intolerance (2) (I recognized some of these signs in myself!):

  • Digestive issues including bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
  • Mood disorders like depression, anxiety or PMS.
  • PCOS or unexplained fertility.
  • Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease like Hashimotos thyroiditis (common in women with PCOS).
  • Fatigue, fogginess or exhaustion after eating a meal that contains gluten.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

A lot of naturopaths also report that the women they treat who have PCOS commonly have a gluten intolerance as well.

Gluten is a Hormone Disruptor

Hormone disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the functioning of the endocrine or hormone system. They could be mimic hormones, causing our bodies to over or under respond or release hormones at the wrong time (3).

In the case of gluten, wheat crops are sprayed with pesticides that act as xenoestrogens. These substances mimic the role of estrogen in our bodies and makes us even more estrogen dominant (4).

With PCOS, our hormones are so out of whack already, I don’t want to add anything else to my system that is going to cause further imbalance.

Wheat Products Tend to be high in Carbohydrates

100g of hard red winter wheat has 71.18g of carbohydrates and only 12.61 g of protein (5). This is unprocessed wheat. That is a significant portion of this food that is a carbohydrate. This gives wheat a fairly high glycemic index. A wheat based meal such as pasta also has tends to have a high glycemic load. Remember that if your insulin levels rise significantly, there will be a knock on effect on your testosterone levels.

Gluten and Chronic Inflammation

PCOS-and-gluten-inflammationGluten sensitivity causes chronic inflammation throughout the body, leading to increased risk of heart disease (6). The other problem is that women with PCOS suffer from chronic inflammation (7) already so eating gluten will only exacerbate the problem.

There’s one other link in the chain we need to understand: chronic inflammation leads to insulin resistance. If we have insulin resistance, we need higher than normal amounts of insulin to regulate our blood sugars. High insulin levels are also going to cause high testosterone levels which will make our PCOS symptoms much worse.

What about Gluten Free Alternatives?

There are a huge amount of gluten free alternatives on the market. You can find gluten free pasta, cereals, biscuits, breads, sauces, etc. My only suggestion when considering these products is that you also look at the Glycemic Load. Many are made from refined flours such as rice flour which will have a high glycemic load as well.

So, what do I eat then?

Wrapping your head around a gluten free lifestyle can be challenging but is so worth the health benefits! There are so many delicious foods with a huge variety that are gluten free and will really help to manage your symptoms.

Here are some examples of gluten free meals:

  • Breakfast: Smoothie, poached eggs with spinach, quinoa porridge, gluten free muffins
  • Lunch: Soups, salads, left overs
  • Dinner: Thai green curry, stews, meat and loads of veggies

 

Summing it Up:

Going gluten free is highly recommended as part of your PCOS diet. Here are some reasons why:

  • You may well be gluten intolerant
  • Gluten disrupts your already imbalanced hormone system
  • Gluten containing products are often refined with a high glycemic load and will probably cause a spike in your insulin levels
  • Gluten intolerance causes chronic inflammation and could be contributing to your insulin resistance.

 

Why not give it a go for a month and see how you feel? I’m convinced that you’ll feel less bloated, have more energy, lose some weight and start to see an improvement in your PCOS symptoms!

Have you given up gluten and seen an improvement in your PCOS symptoms? I’d LOVE to hear from you, if you have. Leave me a comment below!

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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.

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73 Responses

73 Responses

  1. I was diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis this summer and my doctor and I decided that I should try a natural way of healing my symptoms before going for birth control, IUD, or metformin. After tons of research, I decided to take the route of going gluten and dairy free, and committing to a plant based diet (which I love!), and got sober. I began taking supplements like curcumin, omega-3, iron, zinc, and 1-2 scoops of ovasitol every day as well. I also started to do yoga around 3-6 days a week, and try to mainly do low impact exercises as much as I can. I have to say that this has completely changed my energy levels (I was fatigued to the point where I was no longer able to work, and could not even function like a human being), reduced my bloating, brought my periods back to a more regular cycle, helped with my anxiety and depression, made my hair grow thicker, and controlled my mood swings. The only thing it did not necessarily ‘fix’ was my severe pain before and during periods from my endo, but hey at least it helps with reducing that extra swelling. It took me around a month and a half to completely transition into this strict diet, but I have been completely gluten and dairy free as well as plant based and I have lost 17 pounds already. I hope one day it promotes my chances of fertility like it did for some other commenters because that was definitely something I have had to mourn at 21 years old. I know there is not a lot of research yet on gluten for PCOS but oh my god it has changed my life! 🙂

  2. 11 years, 2 miscarriages, 2 failed IUI’s, 2 failed IVF’s. At 36 years old I decided to to some research on PCOS, which I have been diagnosed, and I read that if you have PCOS you should give up gluten and dairy. If anything, it would help lose weight. I gave up gluten and dairy for a year and added walking and occasionally swimming to my daily routine. I lost 47 pounds in that year and it helped regulate my monthly cycles to pretty much having NONE to one every 35-40 days. I AM NOW 26 WEEKS PREGNANT (naturally) WITH MY FIRST CHILD at 37 years old! And I am not the only one, my cousin, who also has pcos and trouble with infertility (1 ectopic pregnancy, 1 failed IVF), is 15 weeks pregnant after one year of gluten free.

  3. I suffered with PCOS and infertility, for a year I was let down by the NHS and not diagnosed. After visiting a private clinic I was diagnosed with PCOS, changed my diet to a gluten free plant based one and also took inofolic twice a day. I was having lettozole and internal scans. My left ovary never produced a mature egg, however after taking inofolic both my ovaries started to work and I felt much better. Within 3 months I fell pregnant. I am still taking inofolic and believe it is a more natural alternative to metformin that has balanced my hormones. I just wanted to share my experience and good news after 20 months of trying for our second baby

  4. My question is, can you ever start eating gluten again if pcos symptoms seem better? There’s a lot of food I love that has gluten in it. I love to travel and trying food is my favorite part about that.

  5. What are the limitations of eating gluten free foods like gluten free flour, breads, oatmeal, etc? It seems as if they have an even higher GL than non-gluten free foods, so should I not eat those either? It sounds like the only things I can eat are some fruits, vegetables, protein, and gluten-free grains. It’s really frustrating because I thought eating “gluten free” flours, breads, etc. would be fine but I guess not!

  6. Hi all! I just need to write this down. I’ve been struggling with pcos and stress relatera (I think stress aggrevated my mild pcos) with symptoms of hair loss changed skin texture and acne, increased perspiration mood swings and anxiety. I’m not overweight or insulin insensitive, I think my pcos may be of adrenal type. The last couple of weeks I excluded all dairy and gluten, refined sugar and coffee from my diet. I added two vips of spearmint tea and two cups of green tea a day. I run a couple of times a week in moderate pace for 30 minutes. I feel so much better!!! My facial and body hair is already getting thinner and grows much slower. I don’t perspirate as much and it smella more like normal me (less). My skin is clearer and my pores smaller (don’t believe people that say they can’t shrink.) I don’t know what exactly made the biggest difference but I willl continue like this for a couple of months at least. Things can change. Lots of move, hope and strength for all of you who struggles of the physical changes that pcos can bring. Be nice to yourselves.

  7. Hi there! I have PCOS and was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. I am on what I think is the highest dose of metformin. I gave up gluten a few weeks ago. I felt much better that first week (less bloated, more energy). I don’t consume much dairy and when I do, it’s raw farmer’s milk(0-1 cup a day). Lately, i’ve been having tummy issues and emergency runs to the bathroom. My question is, could this be from my metformin? I haven’t had my insulin levels checked since I went off gluten. Thank you!

    1. Yes. Metformin is know to cause gastro issues… Many say taking it at night and taking the extended release version helps with tummy issues.

  8. I have been grain free for a few years, dairy free for a year. I have known I have know I had PCOS for 25 years. I have 2 children, the first with help. The second without just adherence to principles of good eating etc’. Diagnosed at age 31. These changes in my diet didn’t seem to make a huge difference to me, I had regular menses anyway even though a 32-36 day cycle.I wanted to reduce my overall exposure to chemicals & toxins of all kinds. Maybe I would have more issues than I don now if I hadn’t made this changes. I am almost OCD about taking care with what I eat. Taking in to account Glycaemic index & Glycaemic load too. Also I try not to indulge my love of ‘grazing’. Throughout the day.
    If I don’t stick to these rigours & my OCD ways I gain weight very very quickly. As it is I manage to stay in the 8kg range overweight. PCOS is certainly a challenge!!

  9. Hi. I was diagnosed with pcos when I was 19. I’m now 28. Ive been on metformin since the diagnosis. I have had 8 miscarriages (no live births) since age 21. I get pregnant very easily (metformin) but I lose them all before 8 weeks. Docs can’t find a single thing wrong except for the face I have pcos. They said to lose weight and keep trying and trying. I just went gluten free about 4 weeks ago and i workout 2/3 times a day and lost 9 lbs. I’m so desperate for a baby. I want to be a mommy more than anything. I hope this gluten free plan works!!!

      1. ASHLEY- I AM SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSSES- HAVE YOU HAD YOUR PROGESTERONE LEVELS TESTED ONCE YOU FIND OUT YOU’RE PREGNANT? IVE HAD 2 LOSSES AND MY PROGESTERONE IS ALWAYS SEVERLY LOW, WHICH CAN CAUSE EARLY LOSSES LIKE WHAT YOU HAVE HAD.

    1. I miscarried as well I had to be put on progesterone as soon as i found out i was pregnant after the progesterone i was able to carry my son.

    2. I know this is old but to reiterate what Therese said, get on progesterone the day you find out your pregnant. Have a prescription filled and ready to go. I suffered 3mcs before realizing that’s what I needed. Made the suggestion to my doctor, and carried my now 1yo daughter full term. We were also on 50mg of Clomid. I hope this helps someone.

    3. Have you tried asking your dr about being on a progesterone for the first 12 weeks to help maintain your pregnancy?

    4. Hello Ashley, I have had a friend who had similar problem and at a last ditch attempt she took Serrapeptase & she is pregnant & her body hasn’t rejected her baby! i have no idea if this will help or not – but maybe you could do some reserach into it. Enteric coating is imperative to allow it to pass through the stomach before dissolving for the best absorption, and you have to have it on an empty stomach.
      I would love to know if there is any research on how it is connected with PCOS.

    5. Hi there! I’m so sorry for your loses. I was wondering if you are taking progesterone pills on days 18-28 of your cycle, there is research showing that upping your progesterone will help to keep baby. I’m not sure which doctors you go to but hopefully you can ask for a specialist to help you with your fertility journey.

    6. I am so sorry for your great losses! I too, suffered 2 miscarriages, that broke my heart! Please find a doctor that will check your progesterone levels throughout your cycle…that was my problem, when my progesterone level should be around 15, mine was 0.8!!! We started me on progesterone and after 30 days we attempted to get pregnant and we did!! I continued to take the progesterone thru the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy and we had a beautiful almost 9 lb baby girl. BEST wishes to you!

  10. I gave up Gluten (and dairy too) about 3-4 weeks ago after first joining the PCOS starter kit and have since lost 9.5lbs and have a significantly less bloated stomach for the first time in FOREVER. I also have less cravings, am more satiated and am feeling so much better!

    1. Allison, I do not know you but I am extremely happy that you had such great results. I have recently started the PCOS kit and I hope to achieve much. I know it can be hard when dieting especially avoiding gluten. I will love to communicate with you and share results.Support is great.

  11. I have been gluten free for six months now, and this month i had my First 28-day cycle EVER! I have been glutend twice, by accident and i seriously became suicidle, out of absolutely nowhere. to me that was worse than the physicle problematiek i also got. Good chance i’m intolerant. Not going for a test though, since you Have to go back to gluten before you can get tested. I have three weeks of joy and clarity like never before. Around Time of ovulation i have a very very bad week. Need loads of Sleep. But i am Happy with what i have achieved so far. This would not Have happened if i was still eating gluten.

  12. Well, I got a PCOS diagnoses when I was 19 after getting the Depo shot and going up 130 pounds (a whopping 280). My periods stopped completely, and I was diagnosed by my doctor for every single symptom, but had to fight him with a whopping pile of literature and information before convincing him to do an ultrasound. I took metformin but back in the 90’s there wasn’t much hype about gluten free and dairy was a “healthy diet staple”.

    I got married and went on the low carb diet because I was working out hours a day and couldn’t get below 200 lbs, even eating less than 1200 calories a day.

    I was told I could “NEVER HAVE CHILDREN” and I dropped to 190 lbs on low carb which was awesome! At 24, suddenly my abdomen did a huge gushing horrible turn and it was the baby I didn’t know I was having! Suddenly I had a preggo belly and went straight to the Doctor worried I had some horrible tumor! I was over the moon when I found out I was 7 months pregnant! I had two children 13 months apart eating that way!

    Fastforward 10 years, I got down to 160 after my divorce and lived a very strict diet and exercise lifestyle. I was eating Paleo, running an hour minimum every day, going to school full time, and seeing a personal trainer for core strength training.

    This year, I started teaching, have gotten recently engaged, and my life has gotten a little chaotic. In 3 months, I gained 30 lbs, my IBS problems are back, and I am tired all the time. Luckily, my periods come every 28 days, but they are not like they used to be (sore breasts, bleeding heavily, lots of mucous tmi). I am trying to make time to work out and slow down my life a little bit, but I have to say the last few days I stopped eating dairy and I had a guest who is gluten free so that’s what I have been cooking.

    I have been trying to get pregnant with another child with my fiancee for 7 months, and have had no success. I have a strong suspicion that my diet is the culprit. Eating no dairy and gluten free the last week my IBS symptoms are so much better. I feel less exhausted, and my mood is improved. I am also supplementing inositol, vitamin D, folic acid, vitamin B.

    1. Jen, this sounds like exactly what happened to me/currently happening. I had a terrible doctor that misdiagnosed me an then gave the Depo shot. I gained a good 75 lbs and finally went to a different doctor who took the time to correctly diagnose me. I have several symptoms of PCOS and am trying to figure out what works to reduce my symptoms. My biggest fear is not being able to have children. I hope to lose weight which will increase my chances.

  13. I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS recently and have cut gluten and dairy from my diet… I’ve been following these changes for 3 weeks and feel better. My symptoms such as acne have calmed a little and I’ve lost weight. Although I am a ‘thin cyster’, and my dcotor advised me not to lose anymore weight, my symptoms are certainly more under control since losing another 6/7 pounds.

    It’s still early days but, so far so good.

    Can anyone advise how long it takes to see real results from diet change? I’ve never overhauled my lifestyle quite this drastically since losing 4 stone with slimming world but I didn’t know I had PCOS then!

    Thanks for any answers x

    1. Hi! It took me at least a month and a half to see any change, and at least 3 months to see drastic changes. I think it’s different for everyone, but the fact that you’ve already seen some changes is amazing, and all the more reason to keep going!

  14. Hi all, I have had PCOS for over 10 years. First baby was a struggle but because I was young I was finally able to conceive after 5 years where I tried a gluten free diet and fell pregnant within 5 months of this diet.
    My second pregnancy I was told it was highly unlikely to conceive as I had 21 cysts, I was quite thin for my height and no major PCOS issues. So I went back to gluten free and hit the gym doing only weights to tone up. Within 3 months I had no PCOS issues at all and fell pregnant. It’s known that the best exercise is walking and weights and with a clean eating diet incorporated you can beat this condition.

  15. Hi everyone. I seem to be having the opposite problem to everyone here. I have PCOS and was a little irregular (usually 4-5 and sometimes 6 weeks) but then I have been trying to conceive since the start of this year and I become regular as clockwork bang on 4 weeks. I have found out I have an intolerance for gluten and so have stopped it. I am now 4.5 weeks and counting – I need my cycles to be regular as I’m trying to get pregnant and I don’t know what to do. Going gluten free seems to have messed up my cycle. Has anyone at all had this problem? I’m getting very worried that going gluten free is now going to ruin my chances of getting pregnant (although I wasn’t having much success anyway) 🙁 Any advice from anyone would be great.

    1. This has happened to me to. My cycles are long anyway but since going gluten free 2 months ago they have gone even longer. I can’t offer any advice I’m afraid but hoping we may get some answers 🙂

    2. This might sound like total stupidity, but please check if your cycle used to be in sync withe the full moon (menstruation time). If so let me know and I’ll explain what may be happening. 🙂

  16. Hi Tarrryn!
    I was just wondering whether oats were considered gluten free or not. I’ve found some controversial info when trying to google search this!
    Thanks!

    1. Oats themselves are gluten free, but are one of the most likely source of cross contamination due to being processed on the same equipment as wheat flour.

  17. Hello my name is Jovita I had pcos since I was 22 years old. Before I was on the pill, it looked like it was going fine, got my period every month. Than the beginning of last year I had a rash that would not go away. I decide to see a new doctor for pcos and he adviced me to stop eating bread. The rash did go down, he also put me on Folliculinum for pcos. But after I stop eat bread it went down a bit, so I decide to stop all gluten and guess what in a few days time it was gone. I do not eat any gluten now and I follow a pcos diet. I am getting my periods on my own and I had an ultrasound which showed no signs of pcos and a hormone blood test which was normal.

    1. Hi!! I would just like to know what composes your pcos diet? Thank you very much. I would greatly appreciate your reply. 🙂

  18. Tarryn,

    Great info, but I would point out that soups are NOT gluten free- I’m talking about the canned kind. You may be able to make home made soups, but usually soup has some type of thickener which generally contain gluten.

    My mom has celiac disease, so I am very interested in the relationship between PCOS & gluten sensitivity/celiac disease. There are so many foods out there nowadays that are gluten free, so it’s getting easier to have a wider variety of things to eat. Thanks again!

    1. Hello. I just want to say that they do make gluten free soups in cans. I have one product called Live G free. They do soups and sweets. Im not sure what other foods they make. But I have to say they taste great. I buy mine from Aldi’s.

  19. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 15. I struggled with my weight for five years and never knew why, as I ate extremely healthy by normal standards. I eventually found marginal success in low carb diets, though. I developed an obsession with the restriction of carbs and the ability to lose weight that I had craved for so long, an obsession that quickly turned into an eating disorder.

    While entrenched in my eating disorder, I completely and unknowingly destroyed what little strength my body had left, leaving me with severe exhaustion, a crashed metabolism, and adrenal fatigue. Thankfully, I found my way to the wellness center that works in tandem with an infertility specialist in my area. The doctor there not only discovered that I have celiac disease (testing positive for EVERY IgA antigen), but that I had intestinal permeability (i.e., leaky gut), that had led me to develop a dairy and peanut sensitivity.

    Over the past 12 months, I have lost 30 pounds! And the best part about it is that for once in my life, I felt like I wasn’t dieting and restricting. Intestinal permeability can occur in anyone, not just celiacs. Although there currently aren’t any established and accredited studies confirming the existence of food sensitivities, I know too many people (celiacs and non-celiacs alike) who have drastically improved by healing their gut.

    So, if you think this could be you (which is probably everyone that found this page via a Google search), I urge you to find a practitioner in your area who can help you! For most of us who struggle with PCOS, we get to the point where we will try anything because we have nothing to lose. The most important thing is to not give up!! I thought I was going to struggle with PCOS for my entire life, but after 6 long years I can safely say that all of my symptoms are gone.

    The Cyrex Laboratories arrays were the tests used to diagnose me with celiac and with intestinal permeability. I believe you can order these tests to be sent to your house (where you then take the kit into your local labcorp), however, I had mine drawn at my doctor’s office. Check them out at http://www.cyrexlabs.com

    Good luck to everyone out there struggling! I know how awful the symptoms can be, especially due to the impact they have on the other struggles we face as women every day. But the most important thing is to never stop searching for answers! xoxo

    1. Patricia this was so helpful in so many ways. Thank you for putting your story up. I have struggled with not only my weight but intestinal problems since I can remember. I gave up a long time ago bc no doctor could ever tell me or direct me to why I was always having such horrible issues. I will be speaking to my doctor about this immediately.

      1. Leaky Gut is very much a real thing and causes so many issues on top of an already hormonal challenged body. I started taking a strong probiotic every day (minimum of 45 billion live cultures) and within 2 weeks noticed a massive improvement in my skin, energy levels, bloating and gas. The probiotic should contain a minimum of 30 billion live cultures and as many strains of cultures as possible. The one I take is a Bioceuticals brand that has 45 billion cultures per tablet and 8 different strains. I am just starting out on my gluten and dairy free journey but good luck to everyone

  20. In the medical community it is not yet proven that there is such a thing as wheat/gluten intolerance. Neither is proven the links with inflammation etc.

    The problem is, if you do react badly to wheat/gluten and cut it out before you get a blood test for celiac disease you may never discover you have celiac disease and therefore are likely to not be as strict as you need to be.

    Therefore would you please write in thispost that if you do suspect problems with wheat/gluten to get a blood test as your first port of call, before an elimination diet?

    As for health reasons, many people do well on a gluten free diet as they cut down on bread, cakes, beer etc. But gluten free alternatives are more unhealthy than the regular stuff. So gluten is not the great diet that everyone thinks it is.

    (I have been diagnosed with celiac disease for the past year and half and I believe I also have PCOS. I haven’t noticed any changes to my PCOS being gluten free, and I am very strictly gluten free).

  21. I was diagnosed with PCOS a few years ago. I have suffered for 5 years with hair loss and my doctor advised this is common with PCOS. To date I have tried every pill and fad. I am now trying to go gluten free to see if this makes any difference … HAs anyone else tried this and had any results to share

    1. I was diagnosed a couple of years ago. I could go 10months without a period. I went gluten free and and my cycle became a regular 35-40 days (which for me was fantastic!) it took about 6months of the diet to get to this point. My skin cleared up aswell. It’s hard at first but once you have been doing it for a while you don’t miss the bread at all!

  22. I was diagnosed with PCOS a few years ago. I have suffered for 5 years with hair loss and my doctor advised this is common with PCOS. To date I have tried every pill and fad. I am now trying to go gluten free to see if this makes any difference … HAs anyone else tried this and had any results to share

  23. This is an eye opener. How does one get tested/diagnosed for gluten intolerance?

    I’ve been gluten-free since April and feel so much better. I no longer have daily headaches, diarrhea, sneezing, feel tired, etc.

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  25. I was diagnosed with PCOS ten yrs ago. I have been off gluten for about five days now. It’s the best thing I’ve done. I have lost over 3kgs, I have a significantly lower hunger and best of all I have no carb/sugar cravings! I can’t believe it because I would have to eat a block of chocolate or something every night!! Thank you for you help Tarryn

  26. I was diagnosed with PCOS 9 years ago and have been treating it with Oral Contraceptives. Last May I decided to go gluten free and I saw a dramatic improvement. Within the first three months I dropped 15 pounds. I was also exercising a few times per week, but before exercise never gave me those kinds of results. My bloating and digestive issues completely went away and for the first time I had a flat stomach again. I also stopped getting migraines and my skin cleared up dramatically. I’ve tried everything for my skin including accutane. Yet PCOS always won out – until now! I will never go back to eating gluten, I feel so much better now. And when I do decide to go off oral contraceptives, I’ll have a jump start to managing my symptoms naturally!

    1. I too have pcos, this week I have gone gluten free and so far so good feel so much better about myself! Stomach feels more settled not bloted! Then today I had normal bread and I’ve felt like crap since with stomach ache! And headache! Think it must be that! I think u have made me realise that gluten free is the way forward so tomorrow I’m back too it! Thanks

  27. I have had very painful periods since I started my first one at age 12. They have always been regular and I have never missed one, but they were always excruciating. It wasn’t until I was 22 that I was finally diagnosed with PCOS. I have been gluten free since January and my pain is 100% gone. I have had three pain-free periods in a row. It used to be so severe that I could hardly move, now I don’t think twice when I get my period. Its amazing, and I will never go back to eating gluten!

  28. I went gluten free about 1 1/2 months ago, before I actually stumbled upon this article. It was the best decision I have ever made!! I have so much more energy, I feel amazing, and I’m already down 20 lbs! I started by allowing myself to use the many alternatives on the market, even though I know that many of them are high in carbohydrates, because I wanted to baby step it. After the first month, I’ve started cutting down on any alternative options that have a little too much carbs/sugars. I’m surprised at how easy the transition has been. I eat a lot more protein now, meat, eggs, nuts. And tons of fruit/veggies. I also gave up all juices/sodas and now drink only water, I’m only getting my fruits in natural ways now. I would highly recommend gluten free to anyone, especially those who have PCOS like me! It’s a great way to feel better!!

  29. Hi Tarryn, Love the site, my wife has PCOS and we believe our 6 year old daughter might as well (seeing all the symptoms but the doctors are hesitant to diagnose yet). I was wondering, would Quinoa, amaranth, and Chia work as good wheat replacements? And can you recommend any other wheat repalments? We grow most of our own fruits and veggies, and I have no problem planting more of the yard with food.

  30. I’ve cut down on gluten as much as possible. Though I don’t have any of the symptoms listed above. I’m still going dairy free too, but neither of these have made much difference since I started this over six months ago. In fact my period stopped again. I’m not gaining weight, but it am definitely not losing again. And I have also tried estrosmart and now trying glucosmart. Should I return to a healthy diet that includes gluten and dairy? How long did it take for your body to work after dropping gluten and dairy?

  31. Thank you so much Tarryn for this website. It is a god-send. I have been convinced for quite some time that I have PCOS however because I am overweight, no doctor (I’ve seen 3!) will check for it because they all believe my symptoms (extremely irregular menstrual cycle, hirustism, weight gain, etc..) are simply because of being overweight. I found your website in September, ordered Inositol and Folic acid in huge quantities (yay for bulk discounts) and have been doing my very best to remain gluten and dairy free. In 3 months I have lost 30 pounds which has been an impossible feat for the past 8 years. It’s a slow loss but I don’t care – it’s working and that’s all that matters to me. Thank you so much for your site.

  32. Thanks so much for this awesome article. I completely agree with the fact that gluten and PCOS go hand in hand. I was diagnosed in 2011 with PCOS, and went gluten free in March of 2012. I have never been happier.. Best decision I ever made! I lost 25 lbs, periods returned to normal, got my energy back, and I feel so much better overall. There are so many options that are gluten free, its a must try!!

  33. I just read your article and found it really interesting. I have just gone gluten and dairy free 7 days ago and I feel amazing already. I lost a kilo (working out a lot aslo) and I’m not bloated or tired and feel like I have lots of energy. This is now a lifestyle I plan on keeping up.

  34. Tarryn… Thank you so much for your amazingly helpful website. I wonder if you might be able to help answer a query? I have recently changed my diet to help with suspected PCOS and have cut out dairy and am eating Low GI i.e wholegrain/ wholemeal high fibre foods. I wondered about going gluten free but when I looked into gluten free products everything seemed to be ‘white’ ie no wholegrain options. Is it better to eat wholegrain/ wholemeal bread, crackers, cereals etc. or is it better to go for gluten free options even if they aren’t high fibre/ low GI? Many thanks.

    1. Hi catherine, you have exactly the same question that I have it is like you read my mind. So anyways did you get an answer on that? Thanks alot

      1. Hi sherine,
        I know u posted this a while back but i figured u or someone else might be looking for a response. I went “healthy” about 2 years ago, only eating whole foods etc. I ate lots of oats, whole spelt etc.I did not see any improvement in my pcos issues. A few weeks ago i discovered the pcos-gluten link and have since gone off gluten. My goodness. Its a game changer. Its only been a few weeks and i havent gotten my cycle back in order just yet but i feel a difference in symptoms and overall feel healthier. Of cource, junky gluten free alternatives are best to avoid and you should stick with the real stuff.. but gluten is the real source of trouble for most of us with pcos

  35. THis has been beyond helpful. When I was diagnosed I just kind of brushed it off. I thought it was just about irregular menstruation and extra hair growth. This site has been so educational and has helped me to understand what’s going on with my body. I didn’t know that all these things could be factors. Thank you so much. SO much frustration just left my heart haha. I feel like I can actually do something to change the way I’ve been feeling.

  36. Does this gluten free concept of eating need to be as strict as a diet followed by someone who has celiacs disease? (As in never having anything with even a trace or chance of contamination again?)

    1. I think it’s a personal choice. I personally have not been THAT strict. I avoid it completely, but don’t go to the extreme of not ordering food if the grill at a restaurant has had contact with gluten containing items. But if there is obvious gluten product in it, I will not eat it.

      1. Cami, I think Breezie hit the nail on the head. We’re not going to have a major reaction like someone with Celiac’s might. But, even a little bit can cause inflammation so it’s best to avoid it if you can. If I know I have been GF for at least a few weeks and there’s a chance of cross-contamination, I might still go for it because my body has had time to heal from my previous exposures. I try to limit any exposure to once a month or less. It really does do wonders! I have lost all semblance of psoriasis and eczema, as well as that dreaded random “under the skin” persistent itch that I know so many of us experience! The itching comes back with a vengeance as soon as I’m exposed, which is a great warning sign, even if it’s annoying.

        Tarryn, have you studied or experienced the benefits of coconut oil in your diet having PCOS? I’m curious if anyone else has noticed increased weight-loss and better skin and hair hydration?

        1. I’ve found evening primrose oil pills (one pill 2ce a day) to make a dramatic difference in skin. My naturepath recommended it but definitely check with someone in the field before taking

  37. This is so helpful! I just cannot get enough of the information you are sharing. My husband and I went gluten free for a period of time and felt really great. Circumstances made it impossible to maintain the diet at the time, but we are in a position to do it again and I can’t wait! Thank you!

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