Dairy and PCOS: Debunking Myths and Understanding the Impact on PCOS Symptoms

Nishi Kashyap
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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dairy and pcos

All of us have grown up hearing dairy products provide a variety of nutrients and are highly beneficial to our health.

However, a gluten and dairy-free diet is recommended for some individuals, such as PCOS patients.

It is important to note that the impact of dairy consumption varies from person to person.

PCOS patients should consider their individual responses to dairy and consult with a healthcare professional.

This article will help you understand whether dairy products are suitable for PCOS.

Additionally, we will provide alternatives you can choose in place of gluten and dairy -containing meals.

Dairy and its impact on PCOS

You might have heard dairy products are a good source of calcium and essential to include in your diet.

However, it is essential to note that they are not vital for everyone’s diet, especially for PCOS-afflicted women.

Dairy consumption has shown many increased symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

You may reduce the intake of dairy products if it affects the PCOS symptoms. It is advised to seek a consult from a healthcare provider for alternative nutrient intake to maintain a balanced diet.

A study published by The International Journal of Preventive Medicine finds an association between dairy and PCOS. 

The research was conducted in Iran, with 400 women who were evaluated for their dietary intake.

Data was collected through validated questionnaires and analyzed by software.

It was found that a direct relationship exists between milk intake and the risk of getting PCOS.

Dairy can affect the PCOS condition in many ways, a few of which we have described here:

Insulin resistance

A research published by The National Library of Medicine examined the effects of low-starch and low-dairy diets in PCOS women.

In this study, 24 obese women with PCOS were enrolled in an 8-week dietary intervention.

The participants followed an ad libitum low-starch or low-dairy diet, meaning they could consume foods that are low in starch and dairy products.

The study showed significant improvements in weight reduction and improvement of Insulin sensitivity.


PCOS AcneSource: Africa_images

PCOS patients may experience acne due to high levels of male hormones known as Androgens.

A study published in The National Library of Medicine evaluated a link between dairy consumption and acne. 

The results concluded that there is a positive relationship between dairy, total milk, whole milk, low fat, skim milk consumption, and acne. 

American Academy of Dermatology Association has shown that women who drink two or more glasses of skim milk daily are 44% more likely to have acne than those who don’t.

Because of this, it may be helpful for some women with PCOS to reduce their consumption of dairy products to manage their acne.


One of the most common problems faced by PCOS is infertility.

Recommended Article:
To explore the connection of PCOS with fertility in-depth, you can read our article on Does PCOS Cause Infertility: Examining Factors and Treatment Options.

A study was conducted to analyze the association between dairy food and anovulatory infertility.

It was concluded from the study that while high-fat dairy foods may reduce this risk, a large intake of low-fat dairy foods may raise the chance of anovulatory infertility. 

More research is yet to be done to understand the role of dairy consumption in fertility completely.


PCOS is often associated with low-grade chronic inflammation.

A lot of PCOS women have a dairy intolerance, but they are unaware of it.

In such cases, milk consumption can have pro-inflammatory effects.

Gluten-free for PCOS

Gluten is a protein group that occurs naturally in certain grains like wheat, rye, and barley.

Some gluten foods are pizza, pasta, bread, cookies, and pastries.

Inflammation and infertility, symptoms of PCOS, are the problems that are associated with gluten-containing foods.

Gluten can cause inflammation in the bodies of people with Celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).

What is Celiac disease?
Celiac disease is an immune disorder where individuals cannot consume gluten because it harms their small intestine.

If someone with celiac disease eats gluten-containing foods, their immune system reacts by causing damage to the small intestine.

Gluten-free society organization has stated that gluten can cause fertility problems.

That is why it is essential for PCOS women need to opt for gluten-free diet plans.

Dairy and gluten-free meals for PCOS

fresh vegetablesSource: bondarillia
Fresh Vegetables

You need not eliminate gluten and dairy consumption from your diet. Instead, try to reduce the number of servings per day.

In case of lactose intolerance or Gluten sensitivity, avoid having it completely.

If you eliminate dairy and gluten from your diet, including other foods that provide similar benefits for the body is essential.

Some alternatives to Gluten and dairy meals are: 

  • Grains: quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, rice, corn, and oats
  • Dairy-free ice creams
  • Soy cheese
  • Nut-based milk
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Fruits and vegetable


Every individual’s response to dairy consumption may affect PCOS symptoms uniquely.

According to several studies, dairy consumption is associated with increased PCOS symptoms like insulin resistance, acne, and infertility.

Gluten-containing meals can cause inflammation and affect fertility in people with Celiac disease.

Seeking advice from a doctor can help you decide if reducing dairy or Gluten intake helps treat PCOS symptoms.

To help maintain a balanced diet, other nutritional sources, including soy milk, quinoa, and corn, can be suggested, along with vegetables and fruits.

Individual responses to dietary changes can vary, so paying attention to your body and making decisions based on your specific situations is vital.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can PCOS patients eat dairy?

PCOS patients can eat dairy, but the impact may vary for each individual. Some studies suggest that reducing dairy intake may help manage specific PCOS symptoms. It is advised to consult with a doctor to find the most suitable dietary approach.

What gluten-free grains are suitable for PCOS?

PCOS patients can eat gluten-free grains like quinoa, amaranth, rice, and gluten-free oats.
It provides essential nutrients without causing the potential inflammatory effects of gluten.

Is gluten bad for PCOS women?

Regular gluten consumption may contribute to inflammation and autoimmune diseases in PCOS women. Individual responses to gluten can vary, so listening to your body and seeking medical advice is essential.

What are dairy-free foods for PCOS?

Dairy-free foods for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome include plant-based milk, nut-based cheeses, dairy-free ice creams, plant-based proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

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