Insulin resistance : a root cause of PCOS
Problems managing polycystic ovarian syndrome? It may not be due to lack of willpower. Instead, you could be Insulin Resistant, a root cause of PCOS. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health, Stanford University and other research centers have clearly identified the existence and effects of Insulin Resistance, a biochemical condition that can cause excessive weight gain and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
PCOS and Insulin Resistance
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal imbalance linked to the way the body processes insulin after it has been produced by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar (glucose). Insulin Resistance could be caused by:
- genetic predisposition
- high stress
- unhealthy lifestyles
- environmental toxins (hygiene products, herbicides / pesticides / industrial growth fertilizers)
Insulin resistant cells
Over time, the above factors have damaged the complex ability of the body’s cells to properly utilize insulin to convert glucose to energy. This process creates Insulin Resistance.
Insulin Resistance vastly reduces the insulin sensitivity of cells, which impairs the processing of glucose through the cell wall for conversion to energy. As a result, glucose remains in the blood stream, causing elevated levels of blood sugar, which are sent to the liver. Once there, the sugar is converted into fat and stored via the blood stream throughout the body. This process can lead to weight gain and obesity, key factors in creating PCOS, which is also referred to as Polycystic Ovarian Disease or PCOD.
Insulin Resistance can also cause PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is by raising insulin levels in the blood stream. Unhealthy lifestyles and genetic conditions can lead to the pancreas overproducing insulin. This excess insulin stimulates the ovaries to produce large amounts of the male hormone testosterone, which may prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg each month, thus causing infertility. High levels of insulin also increase the conversion of androgens (male hormones) to estrogens (female hormones), upsetting a delicate balance between the two and having a direct effect on weight gain and the formation of cystic follicles or ovarian cysts.
Symptoms of PCOS
The symptoms vary widely from woman to woman. Because the symptoms vary so widely and not all women display all the symptoms, doctors very often misdiagnose PCOS. This became an issue of critical concern after a study in 2000 found that women suffering from PCOS have a higher risk of coronary heart disease.
- polycystic ovaries
- irregular or completely absent periods,
- Hirsutism (excessive facial or body hair),
- Alopecia (hair loss),
- skin tags (raisin-like growths on the skin),
- Acanthosis Nigricans (brown skin patches),
- exhaustion or lack of mental alertness
- decreased sex drive.
- high blood pressure
- high levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol
- atherosclerosis, which occurs when fatty deposits called plaque cling to the interior walls of the arteries, leading to blockages that can cause heart attacks or stroke. Not only do PCOS sufferers have higher rates of plaque buildup but those over 45 have thicker deposits of plaque.
- up to 40% of women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome have either impaired glucose tolerance or Type 2 Diabetes by the age of 40.
- Posted by : Goral Gandhi, MSc, Laboratory Director, Rotunda – Center for Human Reproduction (Pvt) Ltd, full article
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