Ovarian Cysts are substantial sacs located on outer surface of the ovary/ies. The development of these cysts is caused by unsuccessful or intermittent ovulation process, in which the follicle is incapable of releasing eggs, gradually transforming into a cyst. Most ovarian cysts are asymptomatic (harmless/no symptoms), while other can become painful. As it is normal for cysts to emerge as part of the menstruation cycle. (reference). Consequently, some cysts mature into other health conditions associated with ovaries. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is one of them. In response, to other types of cysts, research shows that they are likewise more manageable. Whereas, on the other hand, PCOS falls into the category of advanced complication, due to the particular type of cyst borderline functional and pathological. This specific concern is a relevant topic of importance as it affects a high percentage of women and without appropriate assistance, could lead to other major health concern such as; Infertility or Cancer. (reference).
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), or also referred to as the ‘Stein-Leventhal Syndrome’, can be described as an extremely complex endocrine disorder identified in women of reproductive ages. A commonly known disorder, associated with metabolic and reproductive dysfunction of the endocrine system. PCOS is currently a large-scale economic wellbeing concern, affecting at least 5-10% of women within the UK population, between the ages of 18-44, but can also affect menopausal women. Exact numbers of affected women, is limited, as the current key guidelines of diagnosis alter every year. (reference).
American Gynaecologist, Irving Freiler-Stein, and Michael Leo Leventhal, first established and reported findings of the condition around the year of 1935. They both analyzed and evaluated the abnormalities presented by women’s ovaries. Both noticing specific characteristics presented by women, such as; weight complications, oligo/amenorrhea, hirsutism (excessive body hair), irregular or delayed menstruation cycle and multiple cysts formation on the women’s ovaries. (reference). PCOS also appears to have a higher relative association with a condition called Hyperandrogenism (excessive levels of androgen hormones) and/or Insulin Resistance. (reference).
In the 1990’s, throughout a National Institutes of Health (NIH) conference, defined and deliberated that a criterion should be implemented in order to distinctly categorize women with and without PCOS, as it was noticed from Stein and Leventhal, that both lean and obese structures of females are affected by the condition. (reference). The combination of hormone imbalance and contributing factors like obesity and dietary intake were matched to be the most valuable sources of origin for this condition. Many assumptions have been made to the additional interference of genetic and environmental factors, however, not recognized to be a sole origin or critical measures. (reference).
The exact etiology of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome still stands uncertainly to researchers. However, in the course of this research, it has become ostensible that PCOS is a questionable issue, hence, the literature review should be attempted throughout the duration of this research and review. There is a wide range of research comprising of applications of nutrition, in the perception of management aiding the reduction of symptoms presented by PCOS and Ovarian Cysts. Researchers have made use of previous studies based on nutritional management, to optimize the designing of new effective diet interventions, which can be used to decrease the PCOS side-effects for all affected women. Presenting positive health benefits on a long-term basis. However, involving the intake of prescribed pharmaceutical medication.
Researchers have established that PCOS is incurable. However, there is no form of nutritional management recommendations, without medication, available. Therefore, this literature review will explore and summarise, optional nutritional dietary interventions alternatives, combined with a modified lifestyle application, understanding the long-term physical influence on the body of women affected by PCOS.