Dietetics is the science (and art) of applying the principles of nutrition to what you eat. It centres around nutrition knowledge, food preparation and enjoyment to meet your personalised nutrition requirements whilst considering your medical needs, culture and relationship with food. Nutrition therapy is one important puzzle when wanting to reduce pelvic pain, regulate periods, optimise fertility, have good gut health, help manage polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), manage endometriosis and more.
Dr Stephanie Pirotta (Maven Centre’s resident dietitian) offers evidence-based female nutrition services for all patients. Stephanie studied Masters of Dietetics at Deakin University, followed by a PhD at Monash University focusing on dietetics for women with PCOS. She is one of the few practising dietitians in Melbourne with such high-level qualifications in women’s health and has been practising clinically for nearly a decade. With such a deep understanding of female nutrition, Steph is able to provide specialised dietetic advice to women with endometriosis, subfertility, and chronic pelvic pain.
How can our dietitians help you?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Dietetic advice for women with PCOS often focuses on key principles such as: improving insulin sensitivity, optimising gut health (irritable bowel syndrome is common), reducing androgens and low grade chronic inflammation in the body.
PCOS is associated with an increased risk of disordered eating, eating disorders and poor body image, so nutrition therapy may also help to better relationship with food and sense of self. Normally this is done to complement psychological therapies, as required.
There are several underlying causes of subfertility that can be aided by dietetic management. For example:
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Insufficient energy intake
- Poor gut health
- Irregular ovulation
Dr Steph Pirotta can help support your fertility journey by providing personal nutrition therapy to ensure you are meeting your dietary requirements through food, with or without supplementation.
Fertility and lifestyle management of the partner is also important when wanting to conceive. Nutrition therapy is able to be provided for partners at Maven Centre.
Peri-menopause and menopause
The years leading up to menopause may involve a range of unpleasant symptoms for some. After menopause, weight gain can occur in some women.
Dietetic guidance during this time in life may help to:
- Optimise bone health
- Manage hormone changes
- Better mental health
- Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
- Alter weight
- Increase understanding and knowledge in how nutrition may better your health for healthy ageing
Severe period pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. There is often crossover with irritable bowel syndrome and food sensitivities. Often people are over restricting their nutrition to avoid additional pain or discomfort.
Nutrition therapy can help all people with endometriosis. Therapy is individualised according to presenting symptoms and personal health goals. Nutrition aims may include: reducing chronic inflammation, helping balance hormones, increasing energy levels, reducing pelvic pain, improving fertility, bettering gut health, reducing food sensitivities and correcting nutrient deficiencies common with endometriosis.
Chronic pelvic pain
While the causes of chronic pelvic pain are many and varied, there is often a gastrointestinal element to many patients’ symptoms.
By guiding you through realistic and evidence-based dietary changes in a step-by-step manner, Dr Pirotta can guide how you can alter your diet, in an effort to minimise your pelvic pain.
Nutrition may help manage pelvic pain due to endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, pelvic floor dysfunction and more.
General wellbeing and health
There is so much more to wellbeing than just eating vegetables or weight management.
A thorough dietetic assessment can provide insights into how you can improve the quality of what you are eating and your relationship with food to help you to achieve a healthier lifestyle, your quality of life and overall reduce your risk of future disease.
How can we help you?
- Evaluate your lifestyle preferences and dietary intake
- Guide you to meet your nutrient requirements and highlight what your current gaps are
- Provide practical and easy-to-implement suggestions to meet your nutrition needs
- Consider use of supplements and evaluate whether they are appropriate for you
- Provide dietary recommendations to overcome any nutrient depletion due to medication use
- Educate you on the ‘why’ and what practical dietary changes are best for you
- Provide a summary of the main points we discuss
- Provide recipes to guide at home
- Help improve your relationship with self and food – especially if you have disordered eating practices or a history of an eating disorder
Why choose us?
Dr Pirotta is one of the few dietitians working in Melbourne’s west who has higher degrees in women’s health. She is an expert at helping
women with PCOS, endometriosis and conditions associated with these
conditions through nutrition therapy to improve your symptoms and
overall quality of life. Stephanie has a lived experience of endometriosis
and shares the struggles that may come about with chronic conditions
and related symptoms. Dr Steph also keeps up to date with the latest
research whilst working in clinical practice by working at Monash
University across PCOS and women’s health projects. She also attends
research / clinical conferences to help inform her clinical practice
according to the latest evidence.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is dietetics?
Dietetics is the study of how food and nutrition affects the overall health.
“Dietetics and Fertility Nutrition for Women” refers to the field of dietetics and nutrition that focuses on supporting women’s fertility and reproductive health through proper nutrition and dietary choices. It recognises the impact of nutrition on a woman’s reproductive system and aims to optimise fertility outcomes through a well-balanced diet and lifestyle modifications.
What should I expect during a dietetics consultation?
You can expect a thorough assessment of your current diet, health goals, and medical history. With proper assessment, our dietitian will be able to provide individualised recommendations, educate you about proper nutrition, and help you develop a realistic and sustainable plan to achieve your goal or manage your condition.
Will I have to follow a strict diet plan?
Having a dietary plan may mean making dietary changes, but it doesn’t necessarily mean following a strict or restrictive diet. Dietitians aim to create a balanced and sustainable eating pattern that will suit your individual needs, preference,s and health goals. At Maven Centre, our dietitian will work with your to develop a plan that is realistic and fitting to your lifestyle.
How many dietetics sessions will I need?
The number of dietetic sessions you will need varies depending on your goal, health needs, and progress throughout the process. To determine the recommended number of sessions for your situation, it is best to consult with Maven Centre’s dietitian.
Can nutrition impact fertility?
Yes, it can. A balanced and nutrient-rich diet is important for supporting reproductive health and optimising fertility. For example, an adequate intake of essential nutrients, maintaining a healthy weight, managing insulin levels, and reducing inflammation are some ways nutrition can influence fertility.
What are some factors that affect fertility that a dietitian or fertility nutritionist can address?
Fertility factors that a dietitian or fertility nutritionist can address include:
- Weight management
- Hormonal balance
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Blood sugar regulation
- Gut health
- Overall lifestyle factors such as stress management, sleep quality and physical activity.
Why should I consult a registered dietitian?
A registered dietitian can provide personalised and evidence-based guidance for your nutritional needs, whether it’s for weight management, improving overall health, managing chronic conditions, improving fertility, or addressing other specific dietary concerns.
Can dietetics help me manage chronic conditions?
Yes, dietetics can help in managing chronic conditions. For example, a registered dietitian can help develop a dietary plan that accounts for your specific condition, such as gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, or food allergies, and provide guidance on managing the symptoms and improving overall health.
Do I need a referral from a doctor to see a dietitian?
No, you do not need a referral to consult with Stephanie Pirotta. Please call our reception team on 9958 5636 to make an appointment to see Steph.
Does Maven Centre’s dietitian also qualify as a fertility nutritionist?
Yes, our dietitian at Maven Centre is also a fertility nutritionist, with expertise in the intersection of nutrition, reproductive health, and fertility.
As such, she is able to work with individuals or couples to optimise their nutritional status by developing personalised dietary plans with consideration to factors such as nutrient deficiencies, hormonal balance, weight management and other specific fertility-associated nutritional needs. We aim to enhance overall health, increase the chances of conception, and support a healthy pregnancy.
Can a dietitian or fertility nutritionist help with specific fertility issues, such as PCOS or endometriosis?
Yes, a fertility nutritionist, who is also known as a reproductive nutritionist, can help with these fertility issues. They can provide dietary recommendations tailored to these conditions to help manage symptoms, improve hormonal balance, support ovulation and hence, enhance the chance of conceiving.
How can a dietitian help with fertility and conception?
A dietitian or fertility nutritionist can help in the following ways:
- Nutritional assessment – Assessing your current diet to identify nutritional deficiencies or imbalances that may impact fertility. They can provide recommendations to ensure you’re meeting nutritional requirements for reproductive health.
- Weight management – A balanced eating plan that supports healthy weight management is important as both being underweight and overweight can affect fertility.
- Hormonal balance – Diet can influence hormonal balance, which is crucial in fertility. A dietitian can guide you in making dietary choices that support hormonal balance.
- Nutrient supplementation – For some women, specific nutrients or supplements may be beneficial for fertility. A dietitian is able to access your specific needs and provide guidance on appropriate nutrient supplementation. For instance, folic acid, iron, or omega-3 fatty acids.
Managing medical conditions – Conditions such as PCOS or endometriosis can affect fertility. Dietitians or fertility nutritionists can help develop a dietary plan that supports managing these conditions and optimise fertility outcomes.