In Episode #196, Dr Nitu Bajekal offers her wealth of knowledge on PCOS.
Hormonal health is an area that is often underdiagnosed, undertreated, and stigmatised. Dr Nitu Bajekal has dedicated her career to helping people manage their hormonal and reproductive health, and in Episode #196 she joins me to offer her wealth of knowledge on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Dr Bajekal, MD approaches her practice by fusing lifestyle treatment with modern medicine.
She is a Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in the UK with over 35 years of clinical experience in women’s health, with special interest in PCOS, endometriosis, period problems, menopause, precancer, complex vulval problems and medical education. Alongside a host of other achievements and qualifications, she co-authored the Living PCOS Free (available in April this year) with her daughter, nutritionist Rohini Bajekal.
The last time Dr Bajekal was on the show, in Episode #155, we explored endometriosis and the female reproductive system. In this very well-received episode, we ran out of time to discuss PCOS – but today, Dr Bajekal returns to explore PCOS in more depth.
She explains what PCOS is and why it is important to understand, getting to the root causation and exploring insulin resistance. We discuss how it affects the people who have this condition, how you can seek help, and the challenges people with PCOS may face.
Specifically, we cover:
- Why PCOS education is important, both to the public and to Dr Bajekal [3:35]
- What PCOS is and its prevalence [7:15]
- Symptoms and the clinical presentation of PCOS [12:50]
- The genetic role of PCOS and how we discuss it [21:40]
- Diagnosis criteria [24:45]
- The causes of PCOS [39:25]
- Defining insulin, insulin resistance, and its role in PCOS [41:35]
- Approaching insulin resistance from a diet perspective [53:25]
- Concerns around low carb, animal-based diets [1:01:20]
- Focusing on long term health & clearing confusion on lifestyle recommendations [1:07:40]
- Fermented foods, soy, and other superstars [1:17:45]
- The full story of estrogen dominance [1:24:35]
- Food and lifestyle recommendations and where to find recipe resources [1:32:30]
- Supplement recommendations [1:36:05]
- The privilege of health and how to seek care [1:44:00]
- Notes on the pill and where to find more resources [1:47:10]
- And plenty more.
It is incredibly important that we draw focus to conditions like PCOS – not just for people who have the condition, or know someone who does, but for everyone. As Dr Bajekal notes in this episode, at least one in 10 people suffer from PCOS, and three quarters of them are undiagnosed. Universal education on this incredibly prevalent syndrome pushes communities towards improving diagnosis, treatment, and understanding its gravity.
I’m grateful to have the opportunity to speak to Dr Bajekal on the Plant Proof podcast to help bring women’s health into the spotlight. I hope your understanding of PCOS is expanded by listening to this episode.
To learn more or connect with Dr Nitu Bajekal, you can access her website and Instagram. Her book, Living PCOS Free, is now available for pre-order Book Depository and Booktopia. You can listen to her previous episode here.