Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common female reproductive health conditions. A staggering 1 in 10 women deal with PCOS, and it impacts millions of women around the world. Yet, this common health condition is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed—many individuals have never even heard of PCOS.
There are three main symptoms of PCOS; however, some women only grapple with two of the three symptoms. Women with PCOS suffer from irregular periods, which means that their ovaries do not release an egg once every four weeks as women with regular cycles do. Women with this health condition also have high androgen levels, which causes them to exhibit ‘male’ traits like hair growth on the face and chest. Lastly, women with PCOS also have polycystic ovaries, which can make ovulation difficult.
Due to the diverse array of PCOS symptoms, this health condition can be challenging to live with. While there is no known cure, there are many ways to manage the various symptoms, many of which involve lifestyle changes. One of the best people to safely guide you through these changes? A PCOS nutritionist.
If you are currently searching for a PCOS nutritionist near you, then you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive article, we will discuss the best way to connect with the most compatible PCOS nutritionist for you.
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At a Glance
- Am I a good candidate to work with a PCOS nutritionist? – Most women with PCOS can benefit from working with a PCOS dietitian or nutritionist. Women with unwanted hair growth, women who are struggling to conceive, and women who have severe acne are all individuals who can benefit from seeing a nutritionist
- How do I find a PCOS nutritionist near me? – Rather than aimlessly searching on the internet for a registered dietitian nutritionist, ask your doctors, check out hospitals, nutrition centers, and universities nearby, inquire around your community, and utilize online portals
- How to choose the right nutritionist for you – Not only do you want to work with a nutritionist who is qualified to treat PCOS, but you also want to work with a nutritionist that you mesh well with
- Benefits of working with an online PCOS nutritionist – An online service will vet all of its nutritionists, match you with a compatible healthcare professional, and offer additional perks, such as a complimentary first session
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Am I a Good Candidate to Work with a PCOS Nutritionist?
Whether you are dealing with disordered eating, weight management, digestive issues, or mental health, most individuals with PCOS can benefit from seeking out a nutritionist. If you are grappling with any of the scenarios detailed below, you should strongly consider reaching out to a PCOS nutritionist.
Unwanted Hair Growth
Between 70% and 80% of women with PCOS have hirsutism, a condition in women that results in the excessive growth of dark or coarse hair in a male-like pattern. One of the side effects of high androgen levels is an overabundance of facial and body hair. The upper lip, beard area, breasts, lower abdomen, inner thighs, and lower back are all areas of the body that are particularly androgen sensitive. If you begin to notice unwanted hair on your body, it is important for you to reach out to a healthcare professional as soon as possible, as delaying action makes treating the condition much more difficult.
Hirsutism is often treated with a combination of approaches, including functional medicine and hormonal birth control, which blocks the effect of androgen on hair follicles and helps your body achieve hormone balance. A PCOS nutritionist can help walk you through a specialized treatment plan, monitor your progress, and adjust the plan accordingly.
Struggling to Conceive
While it can be harder for women with PCOS to conceive, it is not impossible. There are many changes that you can make to help increase your chances, and many of these changes involve simple modifications to your diet and lifestyle. One of the major reasons people with PCOS can’t conceive is that they don’t ovulate regularly enough.
People with PCOS who are also overweight are even more likely to struggle with ovulation issues. There is evidence to suggest that shedding weight can help increase ovulation. According to one study, losing 5% to 10% of your current weight can be enough to jump-start menstrual cycles.
A PCOS nutritionist can help support you through a healthy weight loss journey as you try to conceive. Getting in the habit of making healthier lifestyle choices, including eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, and reducing your stress levels, should improve your fertility odds. Rather than leaning on diet culture and restrictive diets, a nutritionist will help you healthily lose weight by creating a sustainable weight loss plan for you to follow.
Another side effect of high androgen levels is acne. More than one-third of women with PCOS develop severe acne that is difficult to treat. PCOS-induced acne commonly appears on your jaw, upper back, upper arms, and chest. Because these parts of the body are areas where girls and women don’t usually get acne, this makes PCOS-induced acne easy to distinguish from regular acne.
While PCOS-induced acne may be challenging to treat, it is possible with the right approach. A nutritionist may prescribe you hormonal birth control, which can reduce the quantity of androgen hormones produced by your ovaries and resolve hormone imbalances. Changes in your diet, such as reducing simple carbs, eating less meat, reducing fast food, and eating high-fiber foods, can also help alleviate acne and skin inflammation.
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How Do I Find a PCOS Nutritionist Near Me?
If you are on the hunt for a nutritionist near me, then you’ve come to the right place. Instead of spending hours scrolling through the internet, here are a few places that you can check instead.
Ask Your Current Doctors
One of the best places to start your search for a PCOS nutritionist is by consulting your doctors, whether that’s your general health practitioner or gynecologist. Your doctor is going to know the ins and outs of your medical history and health journey better than anyone, which will allow them to refer you to a PCOS nutritionist who is a good fit for you. Even if they don’t know of a PCOS nutritionist right off the bat, they most likely will be able to ask someone else in their vast network who can connect you to an expert.
If you don’t have an appointment in the books, call your doctor's office and leave a message expressing your interest in working with a nutritionist. Someone from the office may be able to offer suggestions over the phone.
Check-in with the Local Public Health Department and Hospitals
Your local public health department and the local hospitals in your hometown are two other worthy spots to look into. Local health departments frequently run programs such as WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) and health programs for senior citizens. If you are lucky, your local health department may even have a registered dietitian who specializes in PCOS. Even if there is no one there who can help you, people who work in the department might be able to connect you with someone who can.
Many hospitals have registered dietitians and nutritionists who are full-time staff members. These health experts are commonly part of various medical teams. Your hospital may have polycystic ovarian syndrome nutritionists on staff who you can work with.
Inquire at Nearby Colleges or Universities
It’s also worth your while to inquire about PCOS nutritionists at any local college or university in your town. Many colleges have nutrition departments that train future nutritionists. A professor or researcher at the university may be able to connect you with one of their former students. This former student may now be a top-quality expert in their field.
Often, doctorate-level nutrition experts also work at universities, including certified nutritionist specialists. These individuals may have previous experience counseling patients and may be willing to work with you.
Consult your Insurance Company
An increasing number of health insurance companies are providing coverage for nutrition counseling. Call up your insurance company or check your policy and see which services and providers are included in your network. This information might give you a good starting point on where to begin searching for a PCOS nutritionist. Connecting with an affordable nutritionist can be a challenge for many people, and finding one that is covered by your insurance will help you overcome this hurdle.
Ask Around Your Community
Whether it’s your neighbor, a relative, a mutual friend, or a co-worker, there are bound to be other individuals in your community who have PCOS. While it may not be something that is commonly talked about, 10% of women live with this health condition. By asking around, you may be able to find someone who has previously worked with a PCOS nutritionist or dietitian. The information you gather from women with PCOS can help you determine where to look (and where not to look) for a nutritionist.
How to Choose the Right PCOS Nutritionist for You
When searching for a PCOS nutritionist, you want to be looking for the most compatible PCOS nutritionist for you. The best PCOS nutritionist for someone else might not necessarily be the right fit for you.
Before anything else, ensure that the expert you are working with has the appropriate credentials (look for a nutritionist who has the letters “RD,” “RDN,” or “CNS” in their title). You will also want to make sure that the expert you are working with specializes in treating polycystic ovarian syndrome. Most nutritionists have a specific area of expertise, whether that’s sports nutrition or prenatal nutrition.
After confirming that your nutritionist is qualified to help you treat your health condition, you can then move on to compatibility. Every nutritionist has a certain working style. While some nutritionists may have a nurturing and gentle approach, others may be more stern and no-nonsense with their clients. If you work best under pressure and need a firm hand, you most likely do not want to match with a nutritionist who is more laid back and easygoing.
Lastly, you also need to find a nutritionist within your budget. You may find a nutritionist who is perfect in every way but whose services are too expensive for you. Sit down and consider how much you can reasonably spend on a nutritionist before hiring someone for their services.
Still not sure? Read more about what to look for in a PCOS nutritionist.
Benefits of Working with an Online PCOS Nutritionist
If you are struggling to find an in-person PCOS nutritionist, opting for an online service is a great alternative. There are many benefits of working with an online PCOS nutritionist, making it a better option for most individuals compared to connecting with someone in-person.
One of the trickiest parts about finding a PCOS nutritionist is ensuring that they are qualified.
Unlike registered dietitians, nutritionists vastly differ in their levels of expertise. The title “nutritionist” can be applied to anyone who offers general nutritional advice in the United States.
While some nutritionists have advanced degrees and have passed nutritionist certification boards, others will have little to no professional training.
By opting for an online service, you don’t have to worry about conducting a background search on a nutritionist by yourself. All online services will have completed the vetting process for you. Therefore, when working with a nutritionist through an online service, you will always have peace of mind knowing that they are a leading expert in their field.
Not only will online nutrition services rigorously vet their nutritionists, but these companies will also match you with a nutritionist. Most online services will ask you a series of questions regarding your goals, working style, budget, and schedule to help match you with the most compatible tutor in their tutor. This will allow the service to match you with someone who specializes in PCOS treatment and with someone that you will get along well with.
If you have any prerequisites about who you want to be working with, make sure to be vocal about these criteria upfront. This will allow the online service to make an even more informed decision about who to match you with.
Most online services can afford to offer certain perks that private practitioners cannot. For instance, many online services will offer customers a free consultation. Every customer can enjoy one complimentary session, which allows the customer to get a feel for what a typical session might look like. If the client does not like the session for whatever reason, they will receive a full refund. If the client wants to continue working with the company but would prefer to work with another nutritionist, they can request a transfer at no cost.
Your PCOS Nutrition Plan Checklist
Now you have all of the information you need to begin searching for a PCOS nutritionist! Throughout your search, make sure to consult this checklist periodically for guidance.
Where to Look
Before anything else, you first need to find candidates who have the potential to become your PCOS nutritionist. Instead of aimlessly scrolling through searches on the internet, here are some more effective places to look for a qualified PCOS nutritionist.
- Ask your current doctors
- Check in with the local public health department and hospitals
- Inquire at nearby colleges or universities
- Consult your insurance company
- Ask around your community
Conduct a Background Check
Unless you choose to work with an online service, you are going to need to conduct your own background checks on each candidate you consider working with. If you skip this step, there’s a risk that you will end up working with a nutritionist who has little to no expertise.
- Inquire about their credentials, education, and years of experience
- Ask about their customer service and preferred communication style. How soon can they promise that they will get back to their clients?
- Make sure that their area of expertise is PCOS. You do not want to work with someone who has another specific specialty or who specializes in general nutrition.
Find a Compatible Nutritionist
Skills and qualifications are certainly important in a nutritionist, but so is compatibility. You will face many ups and downs throughout your PCOS journey, and you want to have a healthcare expert you feel comfortable with by your side.
- Make sure that your work styles mesh
- Guarantee that working with this nutritionist is within your budget
- Ask to do a quick phone call beforehand. Even a short conversation with someone will give you an idea of whether or not you can see yourself working with this person long-term.
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