Getting Started on Your PCOS Diet Plan

One of the most important things you can do for your PCOS is to change the way that you eat, but getting started on a good PCOS diet plan can be tricky. So, in this article, we’ll look at what your PCOS diet should look like and how to go about putting together a PCOS diet plan, with tips and tricks along the way.

Now, before your start putting together your PCOS diet plan, you need to have a rough idea of how you should be eating.

I talk a lot about how to eat and my top PCOS supplements in my free Masterclass, “How to Manage PCOS Naturally.” It will give you so much wonderful information on how to get started on your PCOS Diet.

What is a PCOS Diet?

Well, research has shown that diet and lifestyle changes are more effective than medication in managing PCOS (1). It’s a big bold statement but one that is true.

So, we know that we need to change the way that we eat to improve our PCOS and its symptoms. We need a PCOS diet. But what should we be eating and avoiding?

To fully answer that, we need to understand a fundamental truth about PCOS. Women with PCOS have inherent difficulties in processing carbohydrates and insulin. We tend to produce too much insulin which causes our ovaries to release too much testosterone, leading to a lot of the symptoms of PCOS (2).

So, we have to get our insulin levels under control if we are going to get our PCOS under control.


PCOS and Dairy

Dairy has a protein called IGF-1 that mimics insulin in the body. It’s primary function is to stimulate growth in newborn babies. The problem is that when we have dairy products, the IGF-1 in the dairy causes our ovaries to release testosterone, making our PCOS symptoms worse (3).

So, I recommend avoiding dairy for your PCOS.

PCOS and Gluten

Gluten tends to cause inflammation in our bodies and we already have higher levels of inflammation as a result of our PCOS. This elevated inflammation causes us to be more resistant to insulin.

The more insulin resistant we are, the more insulin we need to manage our blood sugar levels, the more testosterone we’ll produce from our ovaries.

So, giving up gluten-laden foods is a good option for PCOS.

PCOS and Low Glycemic Index foods

Another way that we can help to manage our PCOS and insulin levels is by making sure that we eat foods with a low glycemic load. This means that the foods that we eat will cause a slow, gradual rise in insulin levels, meaning that less testosterone will be produced by the ovaries.

So, how do you know if a food has a low glycemic load? Well, focusing on unprocessed unrefined whole foods is a good way to go. The more processed or refined a food is, the more quickly it is metabolised by the body and the higher the need for insulin will be.

PCOS and Soy

Research has shown that soy tends to cause a delay in ovulation in women who are trying to conceive. Now, you may not be trying to conceive but women with PCOS already have issues around ovulation (4). I would not want to delay ovulation further by consuming soy-based products so I recommend avoiding soy.

So, that sums up what a PCOS diet looks like. The next question is, “Why do I need a PCOS Diet Plan?”

Why do I need a PCOS diet plan?

When you start anything new, whether it be a new job, a new exercise routine or a new way of eating, it is always helpful to have a plan. You see, it’s when we don’t have a plan that things seem to go wrong. Let’s use an analogy here.

getting-started-on-your-pcos-diet-plan-why-you-need-a-planLet’s say that you start a new job. Before your first day of work you need to plan a couple of things. Like, what is the dress code and what are you going to wear in your first day of work? Where are the new offices and how are you going to get there? Can you drive there and do you have a map? Maybe public transport is easier. Which train or buses do you need to take and how much time do you need to get there on time? What about lunch? Are there places to get food nearby or will you need to take a packed lunch?

All of this planning needs to happen before you even set foot in your new offices on your first day of work. And without this careful planning and consideration, you’re likely to be late or dressed inappropriately and that’s not the kind of first impression you want to make.

So, let’s get back to your PCOS diet plan. Just like with your first day at a new job, there is some planning that needs to done when you start a new way of eating. For example: What can you and can’t you eat (which we’ve already covered but you can find out more about the Best PCOS Diet here)? What will you have for each meal? How do you make sure that you stick with it and not give in to the cravings when they come? Do you have enough food in your pantry and fridge that are compliant or do you need to do a grocery shop first?

All of these things need to be taken into account before you start your PCOS diet plan.

So, here are some tips to get you started:

5 Steps to getting started on your PCOS Diet Plan

1.     Know your why

I’m the kind of person who has to know why I’m doing what I’m doing. I really struggle if someone tells me that I need to do something without telling me why. I can feel myself digging in my heels in resistance. If you tell me WHY, though, I’m far more likely to do what I’ve been asked, and not just do it, but do it whole heartedly.

So, in doing all of my research I found some very compelling evidence to explain exactly why we need to change our diets and what our new diet needs to look like. I have shared pieces of this throughout this site but if you would like a really comprehensive look at why diet is so key to managing PCOS and what your diet should look like, why not signup for my free PCOS Starter Kit where I share the most important elements to managing.  These are things I wish my Doctor had told me about PCOS.  You can do that here.

2.     Throw Out or Give Away the Junk Foods

I think it’s really helpful to go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and work out what shouldn’t be there. If you don’t see it and don’t have it in the house, you are much less likely to crave it and if you do crave it, to get your hands on it.

So, what do I mean by junk? Start with the following foods:

  • Crisps
  • Chocolates
  • Biscuits
  • Potatoes
  • White rice
  • Pasta
  • Dairy products (you can read more about that here)
  • Frozen ready meals – they’re far too processed and contain too many additives
  • Rice cakes (very high GI and taste like cardboard – no thanks!)
  • Processed meats
  • Sodas (even the diet variety)

3.     Stock up on PCOS Friendly Foods

getting-started-on-your-pcos-diet-plan-pcos-friendly-foodYou don’t have to spend a fortune on food but unfortunately buying fresh, healthy foods does tend to be a little more expensive. You will be saving money on all the junk food you won’t be buying though. Also, try to go for lean, organic meat. If you can’t afford it, stock up on more plant-based protein as they tend to be less expensive and don’t have as many trans fats as meat does.

You will find a PCOS Pantry List and PCOS Substitutions List in the PCOS Starter Kit that I was telling you about. These lists will give you a good idea of what you need to stock up on when you do hit the shops.

4.     Plan your PCOS Meals

Planning your meals in advance should help you to be more organized when it comes to meal times. You’ll also have all of the ingredients you’ll need to prepare a healthy, nutritious meal that will help you get your PCOS under control.

When planning your meals, keep in mind that you’re looking for recipes that are:

  • Dairy free
  • Low GI with a low Glycemic Load
  • Balanced in terms of carbs and protein
  • Free of refined foods and sugars
  • Low in saturated fats

Let’s be honest. Sometimes finding the recipes that meet that exact criteria can be tricky. And once we know that a recipe doesn’t have gluten or dairy, how do we even know what it will do to our insulin levels? This is where PCOS Foodies comes in. PCOS Foodies is the most advanced and dynamic meal planning system, designed specifically for women with PCOS. Amazing delicious foods right at your fingertips. Nutrition data for any recipe at the touch of a button. Grocery lists done for you – and you’ll never leave them at home when you head to the shops cause you can just pull them up on a mobile app. It’s pretty darn amazing!

You can check out PCOS Foodies here.

5.     Get Support to Stick with It

getting-started-on-your-pcos-diet-plan-get-supportLet’s be honest. Starting something new like this can be tricky and when you get stressed or tired or hangry, it is so easy to fall back in to your old way of eating. Getting support is invaluable when you’re struggling.

So, get someone on your team. It could be your partner, your best friend, someone else you know who has PCOS. But doing it together is much easier than doing it on your own.

If you’re struggling to think of someone who you can do this with, the PCOS Diet Support Facebook Page is a good place to find the motivation and support that you need to keep going.

Okay, so just to summarise some of the key points:

  • Following a good PCOS diet is crucial to managing your PCOS and it’s symptoms (its even more effective than medication).
  • A PCOS diet is gluten free, dairy free, soy free and focuses on foods with a low glycemic load to help you manage your insulin and testosterone levels.
  • It’s important to have a PCOS diet plan to help you make the transition to a new way of eating smoother.
  • There are 5 steps that will help you get started:
  • Know your Why
  • Throw out or giveaway the junk food
  • Stock up on PCOS friendly foods
  • Plan your PCOS meals
  • Get Support

What other tips or tricks have you found helpful in getting started with a new way of eating? Let me know and leave me a comment below!

Join the PCOS Weight Loss Program:


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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.

346 Responses

346 Responses

  1. What about goats milk? I own a herd share and get fresh goats milk weekly. I drink about 2 cups a day.Is this as bad as cow’s milk?

    1. Hi Kavya! Women with PCOS often do well on a Paleo-style nutrition plan. Essentially eat whole foods, no processed foods, stay away from refined sugars, dairy, and bread. For me, the main foods that I eat are tons of veggies which I bake or eat raw or make in a soup, fruit in combination with a fat or protein like nuts or slices of turkey or egg, nuts and seeds, eggs, brown rice (I do eat grains and some with PCOS don’t), quinoa, or gluten free oats or gluten free pasta (very little as it can elevate blood sugar), beans (I make mine from scratch–it’s cheaper and you don’t have all the chemicals from the canned goods), and meat (beef, chicken, fish, turkey). I eat beef the least or just when I’m on my period as it helps me energy. I keep kosher so don’t eat shellfish but it has good nutrients in there like the omega fatty acids. I hope that helps! I have managed my PCOS really well with nutrition. I take no meds. Lots of love sister!

    2. I have to personally stay away from a lot of fruits because they make me feel sick, stay away from gluten and dairy. I bet you knew the gluten and dairy things but it’s just really the best thing to do for your body.

  2. Hi, i do hope i get answer. I am a lean pcos sufferer, i have too many cysts on my both ovaries but i am having a healthy diet but not super healthy as i am too lean i dont want to lose more weight,i have period every month thanks to God but now I am trying to have a baby it has been a year since I try no result yet. my last years diagnose was low testosterone and a bit high LH hormone. I feel lost as pcos is supposed to have high testosterone. my fertility doctor just doesnt care whats going on in my mind she just want me to try IVF. any recommendation for me? thanks

    1. I recommend seeing a dr who is primarily based on the natural medicine not just a fix for the symptoms but a real help for you – get on natural supplements to level and regulate your body. The diet for Ovid isn’t to loose weight but to regulate your hormones which regulates your symptoms including ovulation for conception.

      1. I completely agree with Amanda, I have Pcos and I have struggled with my weight for years and I’ve been a plus size and a size zero. Not only was I told at the age of 18 I had Pcos, I was also told I couldn’t have children. I’m 29 still struggling with my weight but I have a beautiful healthy little girl. The biggest thing I did to help was really look at my diet, I took up a realistic exercise such as yoga, as your mind also has to be in the right place ready to get pregnant, again I know this all to well as I have lost 4 children before I had my daughter. The other thing is a herbal/natural doctor will look at everything from diet to all the vitamins your low or high in, which make a huge difference. Some of the test can be costly however the end result is worth it.
        Good luck Esra.

  3. PCOS has a strange sense of humour. It gives us ‘extra’ hair where we don’t need it and shouldn’t have as women. Then one day it decides to ‘take away’ hair where we should have it. So we are kept constantly self conscious about our appearance.
    PCOS is not just about the physical state it put’s us in but also the ‘mental’ state. It’s a constant battle to keep loving yourself when you’ve got a condition that makes you feel self conscious ALL the time, because society doesn’t accept hairy, balding fat women. I’m venting, I’m sorry. Obviously I’m not in a happy place with this condition right now. The facts are cruel. People are cruel and judgemental. That will never change. It’s an emotional roller coaster. I find strength in my kids and husband. Thank god for them.

    1. I can definitely see where you are coming from. But you had kids. That is my most major symptom if I could have kids just one I would be okay weighing 300lbs with a beard like Abe Lincoln and hair like shaq. I’d get me a wig and some razors on my way to lane Bryant with my daughter (hopefully)

      1. Just because someone has had a child doesn’t mean that the symptoms of PCOS aren’t heartbreaking and horrible! I have PCOS and I had a child (he just turned 13) and I suffer through symptoms that are, for me, worse than infertility. Yes, I have a kid, great. I love him. But to say that one would be ok weighing 300 lbs with a beard IF they could only have a child is misguided and seeks only to marginalize those still struggling with symptoms after conception. It’s also very selfish: no kid wants a 300 lb mom who is so unhealthy they have a beard caused by imbalanced hormones and out of control insulin. I don’t want a wig and I don’t want to shop at Lane Bryant. What I REALLY want is to be healthy enough to live a full life, whether that includes more children or not. It’s very frustrating to see infertility placed above all the other symptoms that are, at least for people like me, more trying than infertility. Besides, at some point motherhood becomes less important and being able to actively engage with life trumps it all. It’s time for us to view PCOS as an overall attack on quality of life, not just something that affects our fertility.

          1. I truly understand that situation. I am 36 years old and last week had my second miscarriage. I was diagnosed when I was 14yrs old and this has been a nightmare up until now. I had a lap band placed and lost weight well and then 3 years later it started to come back. Now I’m back overweight hair growing out of control and I’m still childless and unhappy.

    2. Totally agree ElleMari!
      We have been trying for 7 years for a baby – had one success but unfortunately miscarried at only 7 weeks 🙁

      1. I tried to conceive for two years and the only thing that ended up working for me was the combination of clomid and Myo-Inisitol. It’s a supplement from the B vitamin family. Google it in relation to PCOS and see if it’s a good fit for you. It can be purchased as a pill or powder (the powder is just Inositol”.

    3. I’ve so felt like the old, fat and balding man right now. But I’m grateful with dx pcos and endometriosis. With God and IVF had a little girl. I just hate having no hair.

    4. I totally sympathize with you. I too am in a bad place with my pcos right now. I use to be annoyed that because of my pcos i couldnt fall pregnant, but after 11 years of trying i finally gave birth to my son and now 5 years later i have a second son. My issue with my pcos is my weight now. No matter how much i exercise and eat all the right foods i cant seem to lose the weight. My husband is amazing, he tells me every week before weight watchers, its just numbers on a screen, i didnt marry you for your weight i married you because of the beautiful person that makes you who you are. That is what keeps me going. I am determined to lose the weight so that my boys never remember me as being their fat mum. Its all about staying strong and perseverance or so my doctor tells me.

      1. Oh i can so relate to your story. I was the same – first child wasn’t actually a problem (although the doctor told us afterward that she was a miracle) but 2nd baby was 6 years later. I finally lost some weight & bingo something happened somehow (once again – really a miracle) but I am now the heaviest i have ever been (along with bad acne, hair & periods at the moment), and totally frustrated… Thank goodness my husband is so supportive and he says the same – i married you for you – not your weight. As you say i want to lose weight for me, but also for my kids so i can play & be active with them more. I would say for everyone who finds they have PCOS – find someone who will support you – whether it is your husband, partner, mother, friend, doctor – that is truly a huge help.

    5. You really hit the nail on the head with what you just said, it describes exactly how I feel. It certainly is a constant battle to love myself, when I’m fat and hairy all over! Whenever I complain to my doctor, I’m told to try harder to lose weight, or go get some electrolysis. Whenever I complain to a loved one, I’m told “It could be worse, at least you don’t have cancer!” Yes, I am lucky to not be faced wit a horrendous illness such a cancer, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with this every single day. I hope that you are in a happier place now than you were when you posted this in January 🙂 You are blessed to have your husband and kids with whom you find strength, I hope to be able to say the same some day! Stay strong, you are beautiful!!

  4. I’m 41 and was diagnosed at 14 with PCOS. Nothing has changed in regards to how to ‘manage’ this condition. It’s always ‘diet and exercise’ and getting the ‘look’ of ‘you’re just lazy and not really trying..’ Makes me so angry. I’ve struggled with the weight issue since turning 21 and especially after having kids. With my second child (3yrs ago) I had gestational diabetes and my body has never bounced back. All the exercise and dieting in the world has not gotten rid of my stomach. I’m so sick of this condition and it just get’s harder as you get older. Sorry to be a downer ladies but I’ve seen soooo many Doctors, Specialists, Dieticians etc. and they give the same answer every time, nothing new, nothing magical, because they really DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT.

    1. It sounds like you are frustrated because you aren’t seeing much, if any, progress. Unfortunately, diet and exercise ARE the answers, but that doesn’t make it easy. Losing weight isn’t complicated, but it isn’t easy. Especially at our age and especially having PCOS. I don’t know how long you have stuck with a PCOS diet, but it is a definite “Trust the Process” sort of thing. It takes time. In fact, you can’t look at it as a short term diet, but it should be the “PCOS Lifestyle Plan.” It may also be helpful for you to have a metabolic test done by an exercise physiologist (some gyms offer this). It will confirm your metabolic rate, which makes a difference in how many calories you can eat in a day. Even if you eat 100% PCOS-friendly foods, if you consume at or above your necessary intake, you won’t lose weight. Anyway, it is worth looking into. Best wishes & keep your head up!

  5. Hi tarryn I’m just afraid now cause all the symptoms that tell for positive in pcos was have like infertility gain weight sleep apnea…tnx

  6. Hi Tarryn my name is Suganya and I have been diagnosed with pcos and I’m 17 I just have few questions. I know this cannot be cured but can control the symptoms, but my doctor said if I lose weight I can get rid of it, is that true? And after you have lost weight will your body hair disappear? And if you stick to a good diet and exercise will I be slim and fit enough?7
    please I really want to know, please help me.

    1. Weight gain is only a SYMPTOM of pcos not a cause of it. Losing weight and sticking to a good diet would help to keep the weight gain symptom at bay, but she will likely still have pcos.
      Hopefully that helps!

    2. I have PCOS and when I was a teenager my doctor told me picking up weight would cause me to have regular cycles and take away the excess hair. I was really fit and lean and still struggled with the rest of the symptoms. So no, I don’t believe losing weight will take all the other symptoms away.

    3. Hi Suganya

      There is no way to cure PCOS, but rather diminish some of the symptoms. The best way is to be put on the birth control pill to lower your levels androgens ( male hormones) that you are producing due to PCOS. The pill will help with hormonal imbalance. It will not help with weight loss. PCOS is directly linked to high levels of insulin resistance, meaning your body is not using/ regulating its levels of insulin correctly, so a large amount is being stored as fat, hence the weight gain. The doctor has put me on metformin 1000 mg daily and it helps regulate my insulin levels. Chromium is an over the counter supplement that you can take to also help with your insulin levels

      Other than the medication side of things, you need to exercise EVERYDAY for atleast 30 min and some weight training in addition to this. You also need to be eating very healthy. I like to use a diary and write down all the stuff I ate, that way I can watch what I am eating. I stopped eating out, even buying a salad from the shops is risky because you don’t know how they make it and whats in it, best to make your own clean meals.

      I was diagnosed with PCOS a few months ago and I am obsessed about being healthy and losing weight, with my medication it is working but slow progress.

  7. Hi, I’m Marimone’t (But I go by Mari) I’m 17 and I have PCOS. But only the menstrual symptoms affect me. I have been noticing some weight gain but I can never shake it off. I’m not overweight just a little chunky. For me I have difficulty with diets because I have such a sweet tooth and no will power. I have no idea how I’m going to stick to the diet

    1. Hi Mari. I am 24 and got diagnosed with PCO’s about 3 weeks ago. I have the same problem as you…I have a sweet tooth and no will power but quite frankly being told that I possibly am going to struggle having children is quite a shock to the system, Having children is more important than the sweet stuff for me. I have reduced my sugar intake and after a few days(the struggle is real) it does get better/easier. It is a matter of finding ways that suit you. If i mention the word body goes into a junk food binge, so for me it is about adapting and making a day to day life style change. What does your diet plan entail? no sugar, no diary and no starch?
      Warm Regards

      1. We’re in the same boat Brigitta, No sweets and dairy. I’m not sure about starch though. The no children thing kind of scares me a little bit. Even though I’m 17 I still plan on having a family. To me (A future nurse midwife) I think that pregnancy is beautiful and I hope to one day have a child. Hopefully as this pcos journey plays on we’ll have control of our sweet tooth. I found this awesome recipe that I think you would enjoy. I tried it and it was awesome It’s for a dairy free red velvet cupcake (My favorite!!!!!) Hope you enjoy it!

      2. Hi Brigitta, I was diagnosed with PCOS at age 22 in 2012. My biggest concern was not becoming pregnant too. I started taking metformin as soon as I was diagnosed. I took it with birth control until November 20 2014. On January 6 2015 my husband & I found out I was expecting. Literally got pregnant days after going off the pull!! Now I have a 3 month old girl. I spent 3 year worried if never be a moms & it happened in days. That part is so scary but there is hope. Now I’m back to dealing with hair loss concerns & weight problems these problems actually cleared up during my pregnancy. PCOS is a battle, but there is always hope. Best of luck

    2. Mari, I have to say the supplement, chromium-picolinate has helped me tremendously with cravings and appetite and is a supplement available at health food stores and so far, seems to be worth its weight in platinum in supporting my adherence to PCOS-friendly eating approaches.

      You are not alone!

    1. I haven’t technically been diagnosed with PCOS but my nurse practitioner believes that I have it because I have cystic acne and some changes in my period. I have been on birth control for almost two weeks and I woke up with worse acne this morning. I haven’t had any weight gain that I know of but I have been working out, and now I am looking to change my diet. I am very nervous that I have this PCOS, and my acne is so bad I will most likely be put on Accutane which is a powerful medication. Anyone else experience extreme acne where without weight gain?

      1. If your NP thinks you may have PCOS she either needs to start the work up or send you to someone who can.

        There are risks beyond acne and infertility. Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and endometrial cancer are all on the list. Starting you on Accutane is not the way to go.

        1. Hi Samantha,

          You need not worry. I had all these same problems. But our doctors do not now the actual way of treating this hence they put us on BC pills.
          These pills just mimic as u are alright with ur periods.
          There are side effects related to BC pills like Severe Acne,hair loss,facial hair growth,dark skin/patches and some times weight gain.

          Me too had issues with BC pills.
          But now my skin is crystal clear and baby soft.
          It was possible bcoz of “Low Carb-High Fat diet”.
          I hope my periods will also be back..Wait for it 🙂

          Try eating healthy fats as ur hormones are made up of not go on a low fat diet when you have hormone related issues like PCOS.

          Good luck..

          Priya 🙂

      2. Hi Samantha,

        You need not worry. I had all these same problems. But our doctors do not now the actual way of treating this hence they put us on BC pills.
        These pills just mimic as u are alright with ur periods.
        There are side effects related to BC pills like Severe Acne,hair loss,facial hair growth,dark skin/patches and some times weight gain.

        Me too had issues with BC pills.
        But now my skin is crystal clear and baby soft.
        It was possible bcoz of “Low Carb-High Fat diet”.
        I hope my periods will also be back..Wait for it 🙂

        Try eating healthy fats as ur hormones are made up of not go on a low fat diet when you have hormone related issues like PCOS.

        Good luck..

        Priya 🙂

      3. I’m 33 and have had pcos since I was 15 my only problems to begin with was not having periods, I’ve never had weight gain issues quite the opposite really I was always tiny. I had two children at a young age and I still went back to a size six after that, however now I’m older I suffer with acne and I’ve been trying for a baby for 4 years but I’m still only a size 8.

  8. I was just diagnosed with pcos im not obese and the doctors werent even going to test me my blood sugar and insulin is very high though i have anxiety and depression i have the acne and irregular periods so they did an ultra sound and said i deff do have pcos….I have never had any medical issues in the past so im very scared and I dont no much about what i should and should not be eating i do go to the gym…so thats a plus…what are good foods to buy? and what kind of meat? red meat is bad i hear. im scared about having trouble having kids my bf is to…this news came as a shock and im still trying to let it sink in:(

    1. Hi taryn,not be scared for it,many women suffer for this.after having kids,cysts get reduced or completely gets vanished.

    2. Hi tarryn,i am taking myo inositol with metformin.but not came my periods this month.can i get peregnant while taking myo inositol with metformin?plz reply

  9. hi tarryn,
    i m from india and i have a problem of mild pcos i m 16 now and i have irregular periods.
    i have some queries.
    will i need to follow the diet for lifetime or the mild pcos will be cured?
    will i ever be able to eat the food which is being avoided?
    will the pcos problem be with me forever?

    1. PCOS is a life long and you can manage this only by diet and change in life style like exercise regularly, no stress, etc

  10. hi tarryn
    my name is sneha and i am from india.ihave problkem of mild pcos
    i have irregular periods.i amm watching your videos i am gonna work on it but will the mild pcos be removed or will it stay forever.
    can i drink milk as i found that you asked to avoid dairy products.
    with your diet plan how much weight will i i need to follow the diet plan for life.will i ever be able to eat the avoided food.
    please reply tarryn

    1. Actually, my gynecologist told me that it IS NOT permanent. He said I can make it go away by losing weight, which I know is true. I have a friend that had it and after having gastric bypass and losing about 150 pounds, her PCOS is gone.

    2. Don’t drink milk! Dairy products only make symptoms worse. Concentrate on a plant based diet, and of course reduce refined sugar as much as possible. Good Luck!

  11. So when you go on the diet and help balance out your homones again. Does the excess hair like the ones on your back and stomach, just fall out?

  12. Hi everyone, what a great site. I haven’t been diagnosed with PCOS just yet but im expecting it next week. Had an ultrasound that shows way more follicles than normal and I have been losing my hair for a few years now.

    Is there anyone else who has experienced hair loss and has found anything that helps?

    I spoke to my doctor and said if I am diagnosed with PCOS it would explain the hair loss but she said there is no link to hair loss only the growth of facial hair!!! Really?? Not from what I have been reading. I will be getting my testosterone levels checked this week so will be able to get a deifinite diagnosis.

    This is the best site I have founf so far, keep it up!

    1. hi lisa,,there is no link between these two condition. it may be due to deficiency of iron and ferritin in blood. better you check your hemoglobin ,serum iron and ferritin.
      i have the same experience that you have. i have been diagnosed as PCOS since 6 yrs. now i am on iron supplement, dietary management and yoga & exercises.

  13. I was diagnosed with PCOS at 18, but it seems like my story is VASTLY different from everyone else’s. I showed a positive pregnancy test, despite not being sexually active until almost a year later, when I went to the emergency room for horrific pain in my abdomen and a high fever. After running a bunch of tests (including one that came with a surprise enema), they basically didn’t give me a chance to consent and removed both of my ovaries as an emergency procedure. Each was the size of a large grapefruit, and each contained fully formed intestines, functioning eyes, hair, fingernails, parts of brains, etc. Five years later, one has grown back and is the same size now as it was when it was removed. After the surgery, my periods went back to normal, I lost over a hundred pounds, and felt much better, but about a year later, I started gaining weight for no reason and am now (5 years post-op) about 25 pounds heavier than before. I feel like there is no hope. I haven’t changed my diet and have only changed my activity level slightly, as the constant pain and cramps keep me from going on hour-long runs. When I first had my surgery, I switched to a vegan diet, and it had been working amazingly, but now I’m truly afraid for my health. Am I the only one with this experience with PCOS or are there others like me out there?

      1. This is very interesting!? was there a teratoma forming on both our ovaries? did you ever see it? What hospital did they do this at?

  14. Hi everyone, I really need your help. I was diagnosed with PCOS (normal insulin, higher testosterone) and I have a bad case of hirsutism. I’m now on the pill for three months and have started paleo diet about a month ago. Could anyone please tell me some success-stories regarding the low-carb diet and hirsutism? I really need some hope that it works..

    1. Hi Leaf,

      I was diagnosed with PCOS about 10 years ago, like you, my testosterone levels are high and my blood sugar is considered borderline. I’ve lost and gained weight many times. All of my symptoms lessen when I follow a natural low carb diet and drink water, cutting out caffeine seems to help too. When I stick to a mostly healthy diet with moderate exercise, I notice changes in hair growth within a few months! When I don’t follow a diet plan I can easily gain 10-20 pounds in a short period of time and all of my syptoms come right back. It’s definitely a life time battle but I’m hoping practice makes perfect, so I keep on trying! Good luck and keep your head up!

    2. Hi, I also have PCOS and I had a bad case of hirsutism. My gynecologist put me on Diane 35 wich is a birth control pill and it really helped.
      The Paleo diet I also did for about 2 months and it made me feel really good…my finances didn’t like it as much because its pretty expensive to eat so well everyday.

  15. I am suffering from pco, i am bit confused about the diet, some people say to avoid carbohydrates, so i stop eating bread in breakfast and started drinking milk, now your website says a”dairy free”, milk, paneer(cottage cheese) are allowed or not, as i am a vegan, only paneer is an option for protein. Please suggest diet.

    1. Hi, I have recently been diagnosed so I thought I would share with you what my doctor told me. I will try to make this apply to vegans. She said nuts and yoghurt are a really good thing to have. Not sure whether you can get vegan yoghurt or not? She also said fruit is really good to have. And also to have COMPLEX carbs (e.g. foods with lots of grains, brown rice, kumara etc.) Wouldn’t over do the carbs but she did say to have complex carbs.
      Also try and stay away from sauces. The main thing she told me was no sugar whatsoever, and when looking for foods look for decreased sugar and increased fat instead of the other way round.
      She said for breakfast porridge is really good, but not flavoured, just to make your own from oats, could put yoghurt and banana in the porridge instead of brown sugar.
      For lunch she said heaps of yoghurt, fruit and nuts.
      I hope this helped you 🙂
      P.S.try looking under vegan diabetic diets as they have the same requirements as people with PCOS.

      1. I’m sorry but your doctor is completely wrong. Your body treats so-called ”complex” carbs the same as it would a chocolate bar. It doesn’t matter if you eat bread, rice, or sugar – it all turns to glucose in your system.
        The absolute WORST thing you can do for PCOS is to eat a diet heavy in carbs. You must cut back on them and instead eat more protein and fat.
        If you eat oatmeal for breakfast, you are feeding your body sugar with milk. Lunch of yogurt and fruit is more milk products and sugar. Dinner of protein and brown rice is just more sugar, even if it looks brown.

        To succeed in reducing your insulin levels, you must stop feeding your body large doses of glucose – no matter WHAT type of food source it is.
        So this looks like bacon and eggs for breakfast instead of toast or porridge.
        For lunch it means salad with plenty of animal protein and fats, or leftovers from dinner before.
        For dinner, it means lots of veggies, plus animal protein and fat.
        It’s ok to eat fruit – I eat a few servings of it every day – but it’s extremely important to stop eating grain products at every meal.
        If you want to be convinced, look up the Glycemic LOAD index. Compare the glycemic load of an orange vs a slice of whole grain bread. The bread dumps WAY more glucose into your system than the orange.

        1. To be fair, i saw a nutritionist who told me low carb low carb low carb. So i cut out almost all starches and kept carbs to 12g or less per meal. My pcos symptoms did improve in the first month (better blood sugars, small weight loss, symptoms of anxiety and depression gone), but i introduced new problems like occasional hypoglycemia and digestive issues like heartburn & acid reflux (proteins and fats are harder for the stomach to process). So my endocrinologist told me to have a SMALL serving of a complex carb every day, to eliminate those problems. I go with brown rice, gluten-free oatmeal or granola, lentils/beans, or (fresh) corn to keep the benefits of gluten-free. So far i’m doing well – we’ll see how it goes, but it’s important to maintain starch in your diet for digestive balance. I say stick to 80-90g carbs daily for the most balanced benefits.

  16. Hi Tarryn. I am suffering from pcos too..
    Your site really seems appealing but where I go stuck is I stay away from home in a hostel and have no sources for cooking my meal or even store good green veggies…
    I have been doing Zumba to keep myself into burning extra fat Nd dieting but can you please help me out with what else can the girls who stay outside away from home should do??

    1. It is complex carbs that should be avoided which are found rice,pasta,and breads these kind of carbs break down into sugar and are stored as fat generally and that is the problem. You don’t have to avoid all carbs because that is unrealistic carbs are found in most foods and are needed for energy. The good carbs are found in whole foods such as green vegetables, quinoa which is a great source of protein and also a great noodle substitute, nuts,tofu again protein actually 10g grams of protein and because it is generally flavorless you can flavor it to make it taste like anything, this is just a few examples off the top of my head I’m sure u could find a long list on the internet. As far as milk goes in my opinion milk does not have any beneficial in any way I mean let’s be honest it’s made by cows to feed there young and help them gain over 600lb in the first year of life if that tells u anything and also has sugar in it actually 12.3G of sugar in a single serving which totally out weighs the 8.7G of protein and that’s what’s in skim milk so just imagine what’s in 1% or whole no thanks!dairy in generally just has a lot of fat and sugar in it as I already said with just the skim milk… low GI diet is the best

  17. Hey,

    I’ve been skimming through your page and can’t help but wonder if I should be taking inositol, as it seems that everyone talks about it being good for managing pcos. I’m taking metformin, should the two be mixed?

    Also, I read somewhere here that we should stay away from Diary products, but I always hard right the opposite, that low fat cottage cheese and cheese is completely fine and should be included in a weekly diet? I also love a cup of coffee in the morning, what is that about that we shouldn’t have it? Is it a complete big no or just a thing that should be avoided or not over drank?

    is it common for women with pcos to have low blood sugar and low blood pressure? it is quite a struggle.

    also, my periods have completely stopped the past few months, and no I’m not pregnant. it gets me quite worried, like… like I’ve reached the pcos bottom in a way and now I gotta say, I feel a bit like I just got sterilized.

    my doctor seems totally unbothered about that, and all I’ve heard is that “oh well, that’s just how it is with pco, and no, she won’t do anything about it cause nothing can be done” Needless to say, I have quite a crappy doctor.

    is it really as bad as it seems? is it hard to get back to actually have a period? how long does it take with the right diet? is it time to find a fertility clinic? I would really appreciate some help on the topic, as I don’t really have a person around me that knows anything about pcos and my only chance for info is google, which can scare a person more than calm one down.

    it seems like my comment has been added to someone elses question, sorry 🙂

    have a great day,

    1. I’m not going to lie managing pcos is quite the struggle; it takes a lot of determination and perseverance. The thing about certain dairy products is they contain a lot of Sugar( ie skim milk 12.7g of sugar in a single serving)the sugar in skim milk is equivalent to eating 3 teaspoons of sugar and if the max sugar intake for someone without pcos is 40g and someone with is only 32G this is why it is recommended to stay away from dairy.

      I have always drank coffee in the morning but I use a sugar alternative like stevia or truvia and add ground cinnamon. Yes, at first it will take some time to get used to but eventually you will prefer it this way, or at least I do. Limit to 2 cups a day.

      My sugar levels have always been normal but, my blood pressure elevated. What I come to find out is that PCOS has a lot of symptoms you cannot see high blood pressure, sugar peaks, high tryglicerides, high cholesterol, depression, anxiety, high cortisol, low metabolism, lack of energy, etc … its so much more than missing periods, so believe me you have not reached any bottom. I understand that it can feel that way but you can take control believe me. I’ve done it!

      Yes, you will go lengthy time gaps without getting your period and doctors will not get concerned and tell u shouldn’t be either and then the feeling of your woman hood being striped from you washes over you and you think to yourself wtf how are the docs so calm? Do they really know what they are talking about?they don’t understand how I feel and your right they don’t. I’ve been there too! But, that’s not ” just things are with pcos” find a primary doctor that also specials in endocrine disorders they are quite familiar with pcos and will be able to ease most of your concerns.

      Getting your periods back are sometimes as easy as starting birth control or even taking a medicine called Provera which I can’t remember exactly but I think is 5-7 pills and then a couple days later you get your period. But if you want to get it naturally losing 10-15% of your body weight is a good way to get your periods to return. That is what I did after numerous trial and error and every pill that could throw at me including Phentermine (diet pill), metformin, Provera, clomid (fertility medication), and numerous birth controls and nothing worked fed up with all the pills, I decided to do my own research on pcos and diet. I found that eating clean on 1500 calorie diet a day works. Women with pcos need far less calories than women who do not have pcos because we tend to hold on to calories and not burn them as fast. You asked is it hard to get bk to getting your periods well yes and no …no if you u take the pills but it is then chemically induced ..,yes if u do it natural loosing weight is a struggle for anyone but especially hard for pcos women. You have to stay determined. Research clean eating put together a high protein clean eating menu and follow it. I did that for 2 months and my periods returned and then at 6 months I was pregnant with my now 9mo old daughter. In that two months I was able to drop 25lbs wich about 3lbs a week and in total dropped 48lb.

      As, far as the fertility clinic goes they were not much help except for sending me a huge bill confirming that I had pcos and my husband wasn’t the problem. When called to set I asked to meet with someone who specializes in pcos … when I got there I was explaining to the specialist what it was and told her that only about 7% of women have it and said that was probably why they weren’t familiar with it … I just think she wasn’t a good specialist … I never went back. Generally the gyno at your clinic can help with fertility or staring your periods with meds

      Hope this helps ..I could go on and on

      P.s. managing pcos is a lot more simple than it sounds

      1. Hi. Thanks for your lengthy informative info! My endocrinologist advised me to have a baby as soon as possible. I just want to know if your PCOS dissapeared or lessened since you had your baby? He says that being pregnant can decrease follicles and even hopefully remove them completely. Thanks, Ashleigh.

  18. Hey,

    I’ve been skimming through your page and can’t help but wonder if I should be taking inositol, as it seems that everyone talks about it being good for managing pcos. I’m taking metformin, should the two be mixed?

    Also, I read somewhere here that we should stay away from Diary products, but I always hard right the opposite, that low fat cottage cheese and cheese is completely fine and should be included in a weekly diet? I also love a cup of coffee in the morning, what is that about that we shouldn’t have it? Is it a complete big no or just a thing that should be avoided or not over drank?

    is it common for women with pcos to have low blood sugar and low blood pressure? it is quite a struggle.

    also, my periods have completely stopped the past few months, and no I’m not pregnant. it gets me quite worried, like… like I’ve reached the pcos bottom in a way and now I gotta say, I feel a bit like I just got sterilized.

    my doctor seems totally unbothered about that, and all I’ve heard is that “oh well, that’s just how it is with pco, and no, she won’t do anything about it cause nothing can be done” Needless to say, I have quite a crappy doctor.

    is it really as bad as it seems? is it hard to get back to actually have a period? how long does it take with the right diet? is it time to find a fertility clinic? I would really appreciate some help on the topic, as I don’t really have a person around me that knows anything about pcos and my only chance for info is google, which can scare a person more than calm one down.

    have a great day,

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  20. Taryn,

    I was diagnosed 13 years ago with PCOS, but know I have been suffering with it since I was a preteen….. I have tried all the things your talking about and struggled with severely low Blood sugar while doing a low glycemic diet. Do you have any suggestions for handling this? Even increasing meals and protein I struggle with low blood sugar….

  21. I was wondering if I were to cut out dairy, does that include soy and almond milk? Also, do you cut out breads too?

  22. Hi Tarryn!

    First, I just want to say that I have really benefitted from your site, as so many people have. By following only a few of your suggestions, I was able to fall pregnant last year and will be giving birth to my first child any day now! THANK YOU!

    I’ve been watching the video training series and I wanted to try following one of your meal plans. I signed up for the free membership about 2 years ago, but can no longer access the meal plan that comes with the free membership. I am continually redirected to the page to view the new videos.

    How can I access the meal plans? I am already a meal planner and think this would work well for me, but I’d like to try out a week’s worth before becoming a full-on paid member.


  23. Hello Tarryn,

    I am 19 and suffer from both PCOS and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
    You’ve given advice for PCOS but some of the things that you have recommended be cut are suggested for those who suffer from IBS. Is there any other advice that you can offer to help, please??


    1. Shella- I suffer from PCOS and Crohns (found out both within a couple months of each other this year). I too am struggling with what to eat since the 2 seem to be in contrast of each other when it comes to many foods. Sometimes I just yell, “Then what am I supposed to eat?!?!”

      Any guidance would be awesome from anyone!!!

  24. Hi tarry..
    I just signed up for the free starter kit and I am a pure vegetarian so could you tell me a vegetarian option?? And can I wanted to know if I could include bread in my diet??
    Thank you

  25. Tarry, I can’t tell you how happy I am to have found your site! My daughter was recently diagnosed with PCOS and it’s been so much to take in. We are still trying to figure it all out and get on the right course, but reading through your site has been so helpful! Looking forward to reading through it all and learning more. Thanks so much. xo

  26. Hi Tarryn,

    I just signed up for the free starter kit. I would love to join however, I don’t eat meat; so I wanted to know if you offer vegetarian option.


  27. Hello Tarryn,

    I have already registered to get your free starter plan and now I cannot find it. IS there any way you can resend it to me. I would really appreciate it. Thank you.


  28. hi, i have made my account. But its not opening now.whats going on.i didnt get any confirmation on my mailing adress.

  29. I just stumbled upon your website. I was diagnosed with PCOS last year at 31 by both an ultrasound and blood test. I’ve been struggling with my weight but not having much luck. I am not allowed to use birth control so they tried Metformin but I had an adverse reaction to that so now they have me on Dexamethasone but this is causing me to rapidly gain weight. I never feel hungry and pretty much have a vegan protein shake for breakfast and something small and healthy closer to dinner. I’ve been adding Maca into my protein shakes cause I’ve heard that can naturally help balance out female hormones. I feel like my doctor has given up on me and doesn’t know what else to do. I saw a nutritionist last year and she told me I couldn’t have any type of sweeteners, no fruits, no juices, etc and wanted me on a 1100 calorie diet with really low carbs and high protein. I have stomach problems so the things she wanted me to eat a lot of like beans caused more problems for me. I almost ended up in the ER because my blood sugar went too low without some sort of sugar in my diet. I really don’t know what to do at this point because I don’t eat the things on the list of things you said to give up except for cheese and that’s only a little bit and not every day. 🙁

  30. Hello everyone,

    There’s a huge confusion regarding chicken. Is it okay for people with PCOS to have chicken or not? because i’ve heard about it from many doctors on talk shows that people who suffer from hirsutism shouldn’t eat chicken because of some kind of injection they give to hens which increases some kind of hormone(which is not required because that particular hormone present in the body is enough and more of it isn’t required) in hirsutism sufferers, which then leads to excess hair growth.Because chicken is mentioned in the meal plans so that’s why i wanted to clarify whether it is safe or not.

  31. Hello,

    I’ve got many questions: Is low fat cheese okay for PCOS? Is corn good for PCOS or not ? and I’ve read about whole grain-food’s effect on PCOS but is it okay if i take 2 slices of whole-wheat bread a day?and what about brown bread?is it harmful for PCOS. Please let me know the answers if anybody knows.It would be REALLY hepful because i’ll cut these foods out of my diet if they’re not PCOS friendly

    and also :which kind of sunscreen best suits acne prone and PCOS skin?lately please list some if possible (rather than NEUTROGENA SUNSCREENs because they’re not available in my place)

  32. I noticed that you say no dairy, yet other pcos things i’ve read have said that pro biotic yogurts where good for you. What is your stance on say Greek Yogurt?

  33. HI,

    Just a question in regards to hair loss , has anyone had hair loss and how bad? Also what are high levels of testosterone and Free Testosterone that would be classed as a problem with POCS ? Looking forward in hear from you.

  34. Dear Tarryn,

    My name is Karrissa and I am 22 years old. I was diagnosed with PCOS whenever I was 18 years old. Im what they call obese. Im weighing in at 275 pounds and they say I should weigh around 160 pounds. Ive tried diets before,Ive tried exercising and none of it seems to work. Ive had over 4 miscarriages and its devastating. I want to have a child so bad and I keep miscarrying. Please help me. I just want to be and feel healthy for once in my life. A start the family Ive been waiting for.

  35. Hi,

    I recently found out I had Pcos and started a diet plan a few months ago – I dropped 2 stone but now I seem to be craving junk food and getting dizzy spells and feeling like I need a sugar hit!!
    I dont know how to control it is there anything I can do to stop me wanting carbs – it comes in waves and then i eat way over the amount of carbs i should be! I just dont seem to be dealing very well with my diet 🙁 and my hair is falling out which isnt helping how i am feeling!!

    Anybody have any advice for me?

    Thank you x

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  37. Hello Tarryn,

    Thank you for this great site full of very helpful information. For the past 3 years I haven’t had a period…docs said, “oh, most women would be happy to not have periods” and brushed me off. I continued to feel off and then at age 38 began to have, what I thought to be symptoms of early menopause. Again, docs brushed me aside saying it wasn’t possible to have hot flashes, tiredness, weight gain,absent periods since I am on birth control. Long story short, I kept pressing my gyno to do further tests, and finally blood tests and ultrasound were ordered to check hormones and ovaries. Sure enough, clear signs of PCOS. Since I don’t want children, I was actually relieved to understand the reason for my symptoms. The doc could only offer diet and exercise with no specific suggestions. This is where your site has been so helpful. I’m already feeling better having the proper diet and supplements. I’m confident I will continue to feel better, lose weight, and get control of my hormone and insulin levels.

    For those struggling with a diagnosis, keep pressing your doc or find a new one who will listen. You know your body best and know when something isn’t right.

  38. I have 2 beautiful children and had no troubles falling pregnant, in fact they were both a “surprise” after 2 years of trying for a 3rd I went to my doc to get checked out. I didn’t even know PCOS existed until a month ago. I am ALWAYS tired and have stacked on the weight in the last 12 months. 2 yrs ago I was a size 8 now I’m a size 14!! I have 65 cysts and have just had my third miscarriage. Going on a diet is impossible as there are 3 other adults in the house that LOVE carbs and with the hours I work getting to the gym is near on impossible. I live in Australia and can’t find any support groups or local interactive websites like this one, I know I’m not but I feel very alone in my journey. I have a specialist appt next month to see if I every will be able to have another child and just how serious this is. I don’t know what levels of what is high or “normal” for PCOS and if 65 cysts is high (sounds like a hell of a lot to me!!) Thankfully no facial hair or acne yet but I’m sure it will come. Coping is going to be very very hard…….Any advice??

  39. Hello Tarryn,

    I am suffering from pco since i was 19.Initially docz gave me metformin and diane 35 which made me very weak.I almost got fine and left the treatment but now when im 28,again having pcos.My periods are very regular,im very slim weighing 46 kg,rather weak.Now I don’t want to go back to metformin and diane as they prove to be more bad for body than being good.I am following your diet plan,more veggies,dairy free,less processed and starchy foods but I am just feeling very weak nowadays.I take multi vitamin and zinc daily.I started brisk walk last month but for the first time I had periods for just 2 days,followed by leucorhia and constant abdominal pains. I also take mint tea daily.I eat alot but still i am weak.Kindly advise me what to eat to become healthy,get rid of weakness and is mint tea and walk beneficial when i am very slim also?Is the brisk walk reducing my menstrual flow?and can we take ‘ENSURE’ or some energy powdered milk prescribed by some doctor or not?
    Looking forward to your kind response as nobody except you can guide me.

  40. Hello everyone,

    I am 22 and have just been diagnosed with PCOS. It’s very scary and so I am glad to have found this site as I think I will need a lot of support at the moment.

  41. Hi Tarryn,
    I am very happy I came across this site, I’m also looking forward to start the pcos diet, but I’d like to know if honey is a good replacement for sugar, and also is it ok to drink coffee?

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  43. I am 33 years old. Was diagnosed with PCOS at 21…put on birth control to regulate periods…I didn’t think I would ever get married so I didn’t care if I was on birth control for the rest of my life. I married the love of my life when I was 30! Stopped birth control because we wanted a baby ASAP. Three years later and no baby! I have PCOS, absent periods , and a fibroid tumor in my uterus. I a very overweight and can’t lose weight! I am gonna try this diet with hope of a returning period and conceiving!

  44. Hi Tarryn,

    first of all congratulations on your website. It includes an impressive amount of useful information.The relevance of your website can be assessed when reading the following abstract: : an article by medical researchers published a few days ago (september 2014) that is recommending pretty much what you’ve been recommending for PCOS since you started the website, i.e. low glycemic load diet with omega-3 and vitamin D supplementation. Thanks for keeping us up to date on the latest medical research. You’re doing a very good job!

  45. Hello Tarryn

    this site is awesome! the best I’ve come across for PCOS!
    i’m from Germany and live in the UK now where I’ve been diagnosed
    with PCOS just over 2 month ago. Got the diagnose on the phone from someone at my GP practice I hadn’t seen before.(which already made me think that I won’t get much help from them) After that I had a letter in the post to tell me I had an appointment with a Gynecologist end of October! that is far too long a wait for me to sit around and do nothing so I decided I had to help myself in the meantime and found your incredible website!
    i’m still busy reading all the brilliant encouraging posts etc.
    I’ve started the diet yesterday! very much looking forward to seeing some results!! (I have all the symptoms that are named…)

    please keep up this excellent support for us fellow cysters!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Stella! I can’t believe you were given the diagnosis over the phone! That is shocking!

      Hope you are enjoying the change in diet and that you’re starting to see an improvement in your symptoms!

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