Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and other androgen excess-related conditions: can changes in dietary intake make a difference?

Nutr Clin Pract. 2008 Feb;23(1):63-71. doi: 10.1177/011542650802300163.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that involves the excess production of androgens. It affects up to 10% of all American women and can lead to the development of acne, hirsutism, and infertility. It has also been associated with coronary heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Over half of the women who are diagnosed with PCOS are overweight or obese. Recommendations are made for overweight/obese women to lose weight via diet and exercise. Women with PCOS should also consider maintaining a diet that is patterned after the type 2 diabetes diet. This diet includes an increase in fiber and a decrease in refined carbohydrates, as well as a decrease in trans and saturated fats and an increase in omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids. Foods that contain anti-inflammatory compounds (fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and red wine) should also be emphasized. Evidence is provided for the impact of these dietary changes on improvements in the androgen profile of PCOS patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / blood
  • Androgens / metabolism*
  • Diet*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / etiology*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / therapy
  • Weight Loss / physiology*


  • Androgens