PCOS and Insulin Resistance
If you are suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), you may be experiencing difficulties with your fertility. Many women with PCOS have difficulties maintaining ovulation because of imbalanced hormone levels in their bloodstream.
This can make pregnancy extremely difficult to achieve. However, recent research on PCOS has discovered a new cause for the disorder in some women. It appears that insulin resistance may actually be triggering PCOS in a large percentage of sufferers. It is hoped that by treating this insulin resistance, fertility can be restored in some PCOS patients.
What is PCOS?
PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a disorder of the menstrual cycle. Affecting between 6% and 10% of the population, PCOS causes ovarian follicles to rupture improperly. As a result, eggs are not released during ovulation, but instead build up within the ovaries, forming cysts. These cysts continue to grow, covering the entire ovary and affecting the production of reproductive hormones in the body.
What is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance occurs when your body is unable to use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps us to regulate our glucose levels. Insulin helps to transfer glucose from our blood stream to our tissues and cells.
It is necessary that your body has the right amount of insulin in order to maintain appopriate glucose levels.
Some people can become insulin resistant. This can trigger your body to develop extremely high levels of insulin, leading to a condition called hyperinsulinemia. This can be very dangerous as it can lead to further health complications.
Insulin resistance is very common in the United States, affecting 1 in 3 American men and women.
Who Gets Insulin Resistance?
Anyone can become insulin resistant, however, there are certain factors that can increase your risk of developing the condition. These risk factors include:
- being overweight
- being over 40
- having heart disease or high blood pressure
- having a family history of Type II diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure
What are the Symptoms of Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance typically causes no symptoms in sufferers. If severe, you may begin to notice some of the following symptoms:
- weight gain, especially around the mid-section
- high blood pressure
- carbohydrate and sugar cravings
- dark patches on the skin, particularly on the back of the neck, knees, ankles, elbows, and knuckles