The correct diet to counteract insulin resistance

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The correct diet to counteract insulin resistance

Studies suggest around 60-85% of PCOS sufferers have IR (insulin resistance). Insulin resistance is a key contributor to metabolic disturbance and is a driver in the pathogenesis of PCOS.

The resultant high insulin levels play a key role in causing symptoms, such as irregular periods, difficulty with ovulation, acne and unwanted hair growth, which make PCOS such a difficult condition to manage. 

Having the correct diet to counteract insulin resistance by not allowing insulin levels to rise too high is what you should be aiming for. Less insulin being produced by the body will lead to reduced androgens (male hormones) in the bloodstream, resulting in good hormone balance. 

Breakfast Recommendations for PCOS

What should I eat?

  • Eggs with lentils, spinach and avocado 
  • Fruits that are high in fibre like apples, berries and grapes 
  • whole oats or oatmeal

What should I avoid?

  • Fruit juices and dried fruit 
  • Cereal bars with high sugar content
  • White toast

Lunch & Dinner Recommendations for PCOS

What should I eat?

  • Fish with brown rice and green vegetables
  • Stir fry with peppers, onions, carrots, and other vegetables 
  • Burrito bowl with brown rice 

What should I avoid?

  • Processed meats such as bacon, sausage and canned meat 
  • Refined carbs including flour tortillas, white bread, pasta, white rice etc.
  • Fried foods including donuts, chips, crisps etc.

Chapter 1/5. “All it takes is one time”

This is a story by Melania V, one of our readers. We receive many stories from our readers and patients, but this one struck us the most. It is a story of her fighting like a lioness for her family and happiness. We wish Melania to keep up the spirit and do what’s right. The story is published as an original text by Melania in 5 chapters with minor alterations. The full story is published on our website.

“Your body just isn’t responding properly, we may have to consider an egg donor.”

There I was. Sitting there in front of this doctor that I had put all my faith and money into for an entire year. My husband waited for me in the car during the height of the second wave of Covid-19. He wasn’t allowed to come in so I had to hear these results alone. I had just finished my 2nd IVF cycle which resulted in one embryo making it to genetic testing but coming back abnormal.

As soon as I was old enough to understand how to get pregnant, I had it drilled into my head it MUST be prevented. I started birth control when I was 13 years old. I was on and off of it for 11 years after that. When I was married and we were financially ready for a baby, I finally threw away my pills and imagined I’d be pregnant within a month. Because that’s what we’re raised to believe. “All it takes is one time” my doctor would tell me. Well here I am, over a thousand times, and nothing yet.

Tired of Having Sex for Conception?

Scheduled sex, when actively trying to get pregnant, can make it feel like a chore. As a result, it is natural for sexual spontaneity to all but disappears, and for one or both partners to end up feeling unsatisfied and/or struggling with sexual anxiety. It’s important for the sake of the relationship, as well as getting pregnant, that you continue to have sex but also that you continue to enjoy it. It’s a way that we can bond with our partner, show intimacy and a way that we can feel good about each other. If you are struggling with the routine of timed-intercourse and looking for ideas to maintain sexual intimacy, the following suggestions may help:

💝Define what good sex means to both of you and explore how you achieve that. For some people that means longer, harder, faster, for others, it might be having a giggle and enjoying the moment. Remember good sex doesn’t have to mean penetration, while it’s important when you are trying to conceive if your aim is also to have pleasure, intimacy, and connect with your partner, explore other acts that will help you achieve this.

💝It’s really important to communicate. If you are feeling sexually dissatisfied, discuss it with your partner but also give them a solution to the issue. Suggest a move, a product or getting help from a counsellor or therapist.

💝When we are having sex with somebody for a long period of time, we tend to get into a usual behavior pattern. If you are looking to spice things up in a relationship just choose one small thing to implement into your everyday behaviors that are different.

💝Make sure you celebrate what is working in your relationship. We can often get influenced by all the pressures around us that flaunt what other couples are doing or what we feel we are expected to be doing. Instead of focusing on what’s not going on in the relationship, celebrate what is, and make sure your mind is shifting from the negative to the positive.

💝Your mental state is also important. Women especially, if they are under stress, pressure and anxiety can pull away from their partner sexually. It can also stop them from experiencing sexual pleasure. It’s important to address any issues going on in the relationship but also to do a little bit of work to make sure each other feels desired, confident and comfortable in the relationship. It’s important that you not only feel desired but that you want to have sex and that you enjoy having it.

Mental Health on Your Fertility Journey

Focus on the present. You can’t change the past, so stop reliving the “should have’s” and “could have’s.” You can’t control the future either, so stop pre-living worries and anxieties. Try to stay in the present, because it’s the only place you can really choose to behave in ways that can reduce stress and anxiety.

Practice self-care. That means treating yourself even half as well as you treat your family and friends. Get enough sleep, exercise, time alone, and time with others to make yourself feel cared for. Practice being your own best friend! 

Talk to yourself. Give yourself a pep-talk, because what we say to ourselves is powerful. If others remind you that there’s always a way to build a family, it usually has little or no effect. But if you remind yourself that there’s always a way, your mood will usually lift. Try it!

Talk to others. There are many reasons to be reluctant about discussing infertility with family, friends, or in the workplace. You may want to keep medical issues private because you don’t want unsolicited advice, you don’t want to hear everyone else’s fertility stories, or because you feel there is a stigma attached to infertility. You may worry about keeping your job or even keeping your dating options open.

The result is that you may feel isolated just when you need understanding and support. Emotions are far more manageable when they are said aloud than when they’re buzzing in your head.

Focus on your work. As stressful and preoccupying as fertility treatments can be, work can provide an effective distraction from the persistent anxiety you may be feeling from infertility. Staying busy and active with projects can distract you, give you a sense of accomplishment, and help boost your self-esteem and confidence.

Try cognitive restructuring. Cognition refers to thinking; restructuring refers to creating new views. Together these terms tell us that we can choose to think in a new way, and the result can be new behaviors and feelings.

For example, when we focus on hopeless thoughts, we convince not only ourselves but also everyone around us that hope is not worth wasting energy on, and our inertia can make it true. This thought process is one of the major reasons patients drop out of fertility treatment. On the other hand, if we choose to be hopeful, we are more likely to approach problems with strategic behavior that leads to results that justify our hope—positive self-fulfilling prophecies. 

Check for depression. Mild depression may make you feel tired and sad. More severe depression may mean frequent crying, loss of appetite, and despair.

All signs of depression should be taken seriously and addressed to make sure that the suffering is alleviated as soon as possible. Whether it is triggered by hormonal therapy, recurrent pregnancy loss, treatment failure, financial or relationship stress, there is help available. Speak to your physician about a referral for therapy, support, and/or medication. A change or break in fertility treatment may help, too.

Work and play will help you cope with this journey, so don’t wait until you are overwhelmed. Make your mental health a priority now

How to stay safe during the pandemic while being pregnant?

If you are pregnant, you might be worried about how to protect yourself and your baby during the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). Learn what you can do to limit your exposure and reduce your risk for you and your family.

❓I’m pregnant — should I be worried about COVID-19?

So far, evidence suggests that pregnant woman are not at any greater risk of serious illness if they get COVID-19. Only a small number of pregnant women have had COVID-19, but based on the current findings, it appears that pregnant women are at no greater risk than the rest of the general population.

However, any respiratory illness (such as influenza) can cause serious complications, so it is advised that pregnant women take extra precautions in practicing good hygiene and physical distancing to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19.

What happens if I get COVID-19 while I am pregnant?

Women who get COVID-19 while they are pregnant are expected to experience mild to moderate symptoms, similar to having a cold or the flu. But because of the changes that happen to a woman’s body during pregnancy, your symptoms will be monitored very closely. Most women will make a full recovery without any risk to your unborn baby.

Can I pass on COVID-19 to my baby while I am pregnant?

There has been some very recent cases that may suggest COVID-19 could be passed from mother to baby (called ‘vertical transmission’). However, this is still to be confirmed and is still in the early stages of being studied. Previous experience with other respiratory illnesses suggests your baby will not be harmed or at risk of any ongoing problems.

Should I still be going to my antenatal appointments?

Having regular check-ups during your pregnancy is important to monitor the health of you and your baby. However, it is understandable that during this time you might be concerned about going to your GP or hospital. Before making any changes to your appointments, it’s important that you speak to your doctor first.

Your doctor may recommend less frequent visits if you and your baby are healthy, or they might be able to offer telehealth consultations (video call) for some of your appointments.

Fertility Cloud will provide you with online consultations. Our Board-Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist Dr. Gary Levy is ready to help you and answer all of your questions. Dm us or book an appointment: https://myfertilitycloud.com/book-appointment

Partner support through miscarriage

Miscarriage is something that impacts both partners, with each individual trying to process their recent loss. Even though as the partner you might not have felt the physical changes of pregnancy or miscarriage, the emotional loss and self-blame is still just as significant. As partners, you can experience things very differently, but the important part is being there for one another. Find out some of the strategies our fertility experts and counsellors recommend for staying connected and getting through it, together.

✅ Connect with your caregivers and be kind to each other.

Communicating is the first step, but sometimes you may need an external ear and this is where counselling can come in as an important element to help couples process their loss together. For the partner who did not physically carry the baby, they can place a lot of pressure on themselves to provide support for the person who did, and push their own grief aside. When you speak to someone such as a fertility counsellor, it can help both individuals by voicing their feelings out loud to someone outside of their relationship.

✅ Recognise that people experience things very differently.

As difficult as it is, try to remember that individuals experience things very differently, and try not to have expectations that your partner will feel or act in a certain way. Oftentimes, the grief is the same, but the expression of that grief can be different. Even if you’ve known your partner for years, they may not act in a way that you expect. And you don’t need to have the answer. The most important thing is to listen to each other, and let each other grieve in their own way.

✅ It’s ok to let the grief fill the room.

This can be uncomfortable, and that’s ok. Pregnancy loss is a very difficult thing to go through. Let yourselves acknowledge the hurt and the pain, together, and don’t be afraid for the grief to fill the room when you’re in a safe space.

✅ Keep connected and ask each other what’s helpful.

Because miscarriage and pregnancy loss is something outside of anyone’s control, it can take a few extra strategies to learn how to cope, and how to support each other through it. If you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, it can be easy to assume how your partner is feeling. This is why it’s so important to ask each other what you can do to provide support. You can each think about what is helpful for you and share these ideas. Sometimes, the partner who didn’t physically go through the pregnancy loss can feel that they are on the sideline. Each person in the relationship can become focused on processing things on their own – staying connected is important to prioritise. So take some time to do things you would normally enjoy doing together.

✅ Find a way to acknowledge the pregnancy.

When it comes to pregnancy loss, whether it’s week 7 or week 20, there is so much more than the biology of that loss that needs to be grieved. The dreams of the future with the baby, the initial excitement of the pregnancy, the milestones that go with expecting. These are all suddenly taken away when miscarriage occurs. When a family member or loved one passes away, we have ceremonies and traditions to allow our grief to surface. Finding a way to acknowledge the pregnancy in a physical representation can be helpful. Couples may choose to do this by planting a tree in their garden, or having a memento that can be seen and taken out when they feel the need to honour their loss. Having a physical representation can also be used as a way to connect the loss of the baby to the parents’ children who are already a part of the family.