Research is showing that diet plays a huge role in the development and maturation of ovarian follicles. In a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), studies have shown that dietary interventions can improve the symptoms of PCOS. A case-control study used a dietary analysis scale to determine the inadequacy of women’s diets in the relation to PCOS. The Preconception Dietary Risk Score (PDR score) was used in this study, where higher scores signified higher dietary inadequacy.
PCOS is a composition of symptoms related to hormone imbalances. These symptoms can include no menstrual period (amenorrhea), heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), excess body hair (hirsutism), acne, and dark patches of skin usually found in skin folds (acanthosis nigricans). Research has also shown that PCOS can be associated with other conditions such as type two diabetes, obesity, and obstructive sleep apnea, among others.
The study followed over 1200ncouples attending an outpatient preconception clinic. In the end, subgroups were made to comprise of a “PCOS group”, with a hyperandrogenic (HA) phenotype and non-hyperandrogenic phenotype subgroup, and the “subfertile group” of patients as the control group. What was found was that higher PDR scores were found in the PCOS groups than in the control group. Furthermore, participants in the HA phenotype subgroup showed higher PDR scores compared to the non-HA phenotype subgroup. Another showed that the HA phenotype group also reported higher inadequacies in meat and fish consumption.
These findings give importance to the role of diet when it comes to the association with PCOS. We are now able to prove the correlation of inadequate diet to the more severe forms of PCOS.