Causes Of PCOS
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) tends to be caused by a chain of events. Insulin resistance causes obesity, which in turn, causes a hormonal imbalance. In 2000, the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that upwards of 40% of all women with PCOS will be found to have impaired glucose tolerance or Type 2 Diabetes by the time they turn 40. These findings suggest a crystal clear link between insulin resistance and PCOS.
The high levels of insulin experienced by those with PCOS stimulate women's ovaries to produce too much testosterone, which is a male hormone. This overproduction of testosterone can prevent the usual release of eggs each month which translates to infertility. In addition to infertility, excess testosterone may be responsible for symptoms such as hirsutism (excessive hair growth), acne, and male pattern baldness. Of course, the main symptom in PCOS is the presence of multiple ovarian cysts.
Scientists have been able to link PCOS with metabolic conditions such as high blood pressure, high levels of LDL (the harmful type of cholesterol), and obesity. All of these conditions are known risk factors for heart disease and something called Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X; a disorder that can raise a person's risks for developing cardiovascular disease. Because of all of these research findings, physicians are now looking at PCOS in a new and more serious light.
In insulin resistance, the pancreas is fooled into producing too much insulin. This in turn impairs the ability of the body to turn food into energy. As a result, too much fat is stored in the body. The way it works is that the insulin resistance causes glucose to be prevented from entering the cells in an efficient manner so that it stays in the bloodstream. These elevated blood sugars on reaching the liver, convert to fat where it remains dispersed throughout the body.
As a woman takes in calories, her body is faced with two choices: burning these calories for a source of energy or turning them into fat for future storage. In those with PCOS, insulin resistance tells the body to always turn calories into stored fat and to increase the production of testosterone.
Right now, no one knows how to effect a permanent cure for PCOS. Even removing the ovaries will not wipe out the syndrome. However, it is possible to treat the issue of insulin resistance. The treatment of PCOS tends to be multilayered but can be quite effective in managing symptoms.