Momentum in the Mountains 2024


What is PCOS? Dr. Berg Interviews Dr. Nadia Pateguana

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/22/2024

Living with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can be difficult. Understanding PCOS is the first step in supporting your overall health.

Learn about how PCOS affects your body, common symptoms, and what you can do to manage this condition.

Understanding PCOS: Prevalence and Impact

PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is a noteworthy medical issue for ladies during their regenerative years.

Data suggests that between 8% to 30% of premenopausal women are dealing with PCOS.

The Diagnostic Criteria for PCOS

Diagnosing PCOS is difficult but critical for managing the condition.

Doctors evaluate clinical signs such as abnormal menstrual cycles, high concentrations of androgens (which may lead to excess hair growth), plus polycystic ovaries observable on an ultrasound.

Health Risks Associated with PCOS

You may ask yourself why there’s so much fuss about managing PCOS. Well, here’s the kicker. If not managed properly, ladies with PCOS face higher risks for infertility, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and even certain cancers.

The Role of Insulin in PCOS

Insulin's influence on PCOS is undeniable, and it goes beyond just regulating blood sugar levels. This hormone, famous for its part in regulating blood sugar levels, has a less known but significant influence on PCOS.

Insulin Resistance and Male Hormones

In women with PCOS, high levels of insulin can cause problems. The body's inability to respond correctly to insulin triggers the pancreas to overproduce it, resulting in higher levels of circulating insulin that stimulate male hormone production.

To compensate for this resistance, your pancreas works overtime to produce more insulin. This increase is problematic because high circulating insulin levels stimulate the ovaries to produce male hormones, such as testosterone.

An excess of these hormones leads to many classic symptoms of PCOS, like irregular periods and excessive hair growth.

PCOS is an insulin-resistant condition, meaning that most people suffering from it have higher-than-normal amounts of insulin flowing through their bloodstream.

Dietary Management of PCOS

Managing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) requires dietary changes.

The Ketogenic Diet for PCOS

A ketogenic diet, known for being low-carb, may offer some relief from symptoms of PCOS.

Insulin is an important hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. With PCOS, your body may not respond well to insulin and produce more than it needs – leading to high insulin levels.

Focusing on fat rather than carbohydrates as a primary energy source, the ketogenic diet may help reduce your body's demand for insulin. This switch can help lower your body's demand for insulin - giving those overworked pancreas cells a much-needed break.

Intermittent Fasting as a Tool for Managing PCOS

Intermittent fasting is another tool that might just fit into your lifestyle. Like the ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting aims at reducing elevated insulin levels common in women with PCOS.

Fasting gives your body time to use stored glucose and tap into fat reserves, again lowering the need for constant production of insulin by pancreatic cells.

Lifestyle Changes for PCOS Management

For PCOS management, lifestyle changes extend beyond diet modifications. It's also about adjusting other aspects of your lifestyle to support better health.

Exercise and PCOS

Moving more often can help manage symptoms of PCOS. Regular strength-training workouts can help decrease insulin levels and enhance the body's responsiveness to this hormone.

Studies show that regular physical activity can reduce testosterone levels in women with PCOS, too.

Start small if you need to—just a few minutes each day—and gradually increase as your fitness improves. And remember that any exercise beats no exercise at all.

Sleep Hygiene for PCOS Management

Better sleep patterns are crucial when dealing with hormonal imbalances like those seen in PCOS. High-quality sleep helps regulate hormones in appetite control, mood stabilization, and insulin resistance—critical factors in managing this condition effectively.

Stress Reduction Techniques Can Help Manage Symptoms

Stress may exacerbate symptoms of PCOS by negatively affecting hormonal balance. Research suggests that mind-body techniques could be beneficial tools alongside traditional treatments for reducing stress-related symptoms associated with this disorder.

Probiotics and PCOS

The relationship between probiotics and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is an area of growing interest among researchers and individuals dealing with this condition. PCOS is often associated with hormonal imbalances, including irregular menstrual cycles.

While more studies are needed to establish a direct link, some research suggests that probiotics may play a role in hormonal regulation and metabolic health, critical factors in PCOS management.

One of the questions raised in this context is, can probiotics affect your menstrual cycle? While there is no definitive answer yet, the potential connection between gut health, probiotics, and hormonal balance is an intriguing avenue for exploration.

For individuals with PCOS looking for complementary approaches to manage their condition, consulting with a healthcare provider to discuss the potential benefits and risks of incorporating probiotics into their wellness routine is advisable.

Personalized guidance can help determine the most appropriate strategies for addressing PCOS-related concerns.


Living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) presents various challenges, but understanding the condition is crucial for effective management.

PCOS affects a significant number of women, with diagnosis based on clinical signs like irregular menstrual cycles and hormone levels.

Insulin resistance plays a key role, emphasizing the importance of dietary and lifestyle changes such as the ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, exercise, sleep hygiene, stress reduction, and potentially probiotics.

By addressing both medical and lifestyle factors, individuals with PCOS can improve their quality of life and minimize the impact of the condition on their health.

Healthy Keto Guide for Beginner

FREE Keto Diet Plan