PCOS and Diabetes

PCOS is linked with higher levels of circulating insulin, which is characteristic in type 2 diabetes. High levels of insulin contribute to increased production of androgen, which worsens the symptoms of PCOS.

Updated: October 25, 2017

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common endocrine disorder that can affect a woman's ability to produce eggs. Follicles are there in a woman's ovaries which are tiny, fluid filled sacs that hold the eggs. When an egg is mature, the follicle releases the egg so it can travel to the uterus for fertilization.

In women with PCOS, immature follicles bunch together to form large cysts or lumps. The eggs mature within the bunched follicles, but the follicles do not break open to release them. As a result, women with PCOS often don't have menstrual periods, or it may not be regular. Because the eggs are not released, most women with PCOS have trouble getting pregnant.

PCOS is linked with higher levels of circulating insulin, which is characteristic in type 2 diabetes. High levels of insulin contribute to increased production of androgen, which worsens the symptoms of PCOS.

How Does PCOS Relate to Diabetes?

Insulin resistance can create an adverse reaction involving the immune system and develop type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes the cells of the body become resistant to insulin, or the body is unable to produce enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes is usually preventable or manageable through exercise and a proper diet. But, PCOS is a strong independent risk factor for developing diabetes.

Women who experience PCOS in young adulthood are at higher risk for diabetes and fatal heart problems later in life. Those who had PCOS were 3 to 5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women who didn't. Reversely, premenopausal women with type 2 diabetes can also have PCOS. Obesity is an important factor in triggering the issue.
It is recommended that women with PCOS should get frequent routine screening for type 2 diabetes.

Does Treating One Treat the Other?

When it comes to fighting obesity and type 2 diabetes, regular exercise plays a vital role in keeping the body healthy which also helps to ease the symptoms associated with PCOS.
Exercise also helps the body to burn off excess blood sugar and makes the cells more sensitive to insulin, allowing the body to use insulin more effectively. This benefits people with diabetes as well as women with PCOS.

To reduce the risk of diabetes and to managing weight, a balanced diet can be helpful which includes whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

All carbohydrates turn into sugars upon digestion, which means a high-carb diet is a bad idea for those who have insulin resistance and PCOD. Give up on all kinds of processed foods and refined carbs. You can replace the simple carbohydrates like white bread, rice, pasta with their whole-grain counterparts and eat carbohydrate in moderation. If possible  stop eating grains for dinner, which will help improving insulin sensitivity and weight loss. Your diet should comprised of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean cuts of meat and legumes. Do not use artificial sweeteners as these can be harmful for your health. Rather you can add a little honey to your diet whenever required. But the best way to cut down sugar is to completely eliminate it from your tea and smoothies.

One of the best ways to improve insulin sensitivity and PCOD issues is to exercise regularly.  Going for a walk in fresh air on a daily basis not only help reduce your weight but also good for your mental health. It will help you beat stress and fatigue while clearing up your mind. You can also go for Zumba classes, practice yoga or lift weights at the gym.
Practicing yoga and meditation will help you keep calm as these are wonderful stress relievers.

Probiotics improve gut health, which helps reducing chronic inflammation as well as clearing up acne from inside-out. Adding probiotic to your diet will help fighting PCOD.
You can  take a supplement of vitamin B12 which is crucial vitamin for the smooth running of the Central Nervous System.

However, specific treatments for the two conditions may complement or offset one another. For example, women with PCOS are treated with birth control pills, which helps to regulate menstruation and clear acne. But some birth control pills can also increase blood glucose levels, which is a problem for people at risk for diabetes. However, metformin a first-line medication used to treat diabetes, is also used to help treat PCOS.


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