Discover The 2 Root Causes Of Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
You may be surprised to know at least one in ten women of reproductive age suffer from PCOS.1 Next time you are at a function, on the bus, or walking around the supermarket, look around. I can guarantee you are not alone in your struggle.
Most effected women you walk by will not know what causes their condition either. They are probably as frustrated as you are. And if you don’t know the cause, you cannot possibly find the answer.
PCOS does not simply affect your ovaries, as the name might imply. PCOS affects your hormones, growth, mood, energy, your whole body. If not addressed, it also predisposes you to a plethora of chronic dis-eases like type II diabetes2,3, obesity4, heart dis-ease4, high blood pressure4, cancer5 and more.
So, what really causes PCOS?
There are two drivers which stand out in the development and exacerbation of PCOS:
Insulin resistance is a condition where our cells may not correctly recognize, or use, the hormone insulin secreted by our pancreas. It is a hormone that manages the metabolism of sugars or carbohydrates in our body, amongst other duties.
Studies show that insulin resistance is due to faulty diet, lifestyle, excessive stress and toxic overload. Insulin resistance is a most integral part of having PCOS. 44 to 70% women with PCOS suffer from insulin resistance irrespective of whether they are overweight, their ideal weight or thin. However women who are obese have an increased risk of developing insulin resistance.
Inflammation is an underlying cause of dis-ease that is rarely identified, let alone appropriately addressed. This is no different in women with PCOS, regardless of age or size. Women with PCOS have elevated markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). From Kelly et al9- “We conclude that women with PCOS have significantly increased CRP concentrations relative to women with normal menstrual rhythm and normal androgen levels.”
İlhan Tarkun et al10 found there are “increased levels of hsCRP, endothelial dysfunction, and the relation with insulin resistance in young and normal-weight women with PCOS.”
White blood cell (WBC) count also indicates a low grade inflammatory process. Women with PCOS have been found to have elevated WBC levels.11
Even before you begin to develop the tell-tale signs of this syndrome, you may be suffering from chronic low grade inflammation affecting every part of your body.
Women with PCOS often also suffer with obesity. Obesity contributes to a low grade systemic inflammation12 but this is not the sole reason for increased inflammatory markers, as lean women with PCOS also suffer low grade inflammation, as discussed above. Fat cells are notorious for triggering inflammatory changes in our body tissues.
Poor eating habits contribute to both insulin resistance and inflammation. Food allergies and intolerances – such as gluten, artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and chemicals – trigger immune responses. Eating refined, processed food and drink, and too much sugar increases both insulin resistance and inflammation and aggravates PCOS.
It is interesting that adding fish oil to your food plan will reduce both insulin resistance and inflammation.
By improving your food plan, activity and other parts of your lifestyle, you can conquer your PCOS.
To find out more, head to www.facebook.com/ConquerYourPCOS now for FREE tips, tools and articles.
Dr Rebecca Harwin.
PCOS Expert & International Author of Conquer Your PCOS Naturally
2. Andrea Dunaif. Hyperandrogenic anovulation (PCOS): A unique disorder of insulin action associated with an increased risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The American Journal of Medicine Volume 98, Issue 1, Supplement 1 , Pages S33-S39, 16 January 1995
3. Richard S. Legro, Allen R. Kunselman, William C. Dodson and Andrea Dunaif. Prevalence and Predictors of Risk for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Impaired Glucose Tolerance in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Prospective, Controlled Study in 254 Affected Women. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism January 1, 1999 vol. 84 no. 1 165-169
4. M.W. Elting, T.J.M. Korsen, P.D. Bezemer, J. Schoemaker. Prevalence of diabetes mellitus, hypertension and cardiac complaints in a follow-up study of a Dutch PCOS population. Hum. Reprod. (2001) 16 (3): 556-560.
5. A Balen. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Cancer. Hum. Reprod. Update, Vol. 7, No.6 pp. 522-525, 2001.
6. Farid Nadir R, Diamanti-Kandarakis Evanthia. Diagnosis and Management of Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome, (Google eBook), Springer, 2009, p35
7. Zhang D, Luo WY, Liao H, Wang CF, Sun Y The effects of oxidative stress to PCOS (article in Chinese) Sichuan Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban. 2008 May; 39(3):421-3.
8. Frank González, Neal S. Rote, Judi Minium, John P. Kirwan. Increased Activation of Nuclear Factor κB Triggers Inflammation and Insulin Resistance in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism April 1, 2006 vol. 91 no. 4 1508-1512.
9. Chris C. J. Kelly, Helen Lyall, John R. Petrie, Gwyn W. Gould, John M. C. Connell, Naveed Sattar. Low Grade Chronic Inflammation in Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism June 1, 2001 vol. 86 no. 6 2453-2455
10. İlhan Tarkun, Berrı̇n Ç. Arslan, Zeynep Cantürk, Erdem Türemen, Tayfun Şahı̇n, Can Duman. Endothelial Dysfunction in Young Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Relationship with Insulin Resistance and Low-Grade Chronic Inflammation. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism November 1, 2004 vol. 89 no. 11
11. Francesco Orio Jr., Stefano Palomba, Teresa Cascella, Sebastiano Di Biase, Francesco Manguso, Libuse Tauchmanovà, Luciano G. Nardo, Donato Labella, Silvia Savastano, Tiziana Russo, Fulvio Zullo, Annamaria Colao, Gaetano Lombardi. The Increase of Leukocytes as a New Putative Marker of Low-Grade Chronic Inflammation and Early Cardiovascular Risk in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism January 1, 2005 vol. 90 no. 1 2-5.
12. Jean-Philippe Bastard, Mustapha Maachi, Claire Lagathu, Min Ji Kim, Martine Caron,
Hubert Vidal, Jacqueline Capeau, Bruno Feve. Recent advances in the relationship between obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance. Eur. Cytokine Netw., Vol. 17 no 1, March 2006, 4-12