Understanding the Link Between PCOS and Insulin Resistance

Understanding the Link Between PCOS and Insulin Resistance

Do you know PCOS and insulin resistance are interlinked? Statistics reveal that 30-40% of females with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) also suffer from insulin resistance. The question is why both these conditions are interlinked? What are the symptoms that dictate the presence of insulin resistance among women with PCOS? In this article, we will try to address some of these questions and gain better insight into the link between PCOS and insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is a condition wherein the body cells do not respond to secreted insulin, which leads to increased levels of glucose. If ignored for a long time, it can also lead to pre-diabetic conditions or type 2 diabetes. In some cases, insulin resistance can be the major root cause of PCOS and vice versa. The condition is also known to aggravate the symptoms of PCOS. Just like PCOS treatment, insulin resistance requires lifestyle modification and medication support. Moreover, to detect the condition early, every female with PCOS must be screened for insulin resistance.

Gaining some deeper insights

Insulin is produced in our body by the pancreas, a gland present in the abdomen region. The secretion of insulin takes in response to a hike in glucose levels in the blood. The sugar molecule enters into our blood after 15-20 minutes of intake of carbohydrates rich food. The presence of insulin helps the cells in our body to take up the glucose molecules and convert them into energy for further metabolic use.

Under insulin resistance conditions, the cells in our body do not respond to secreted insulin leading to a rise in blood glucose levels and low energy production. This condition later leads to diabetes as our body starts to deal with increased levels of glucose differently.

Understanding the link

It is a well-proven scientific fact that over a time PCOS condition increases the risk of developing diabetes. Despite the known fact that PCOS symptoms arise far earlier than that of insulin resistance, it is also believed that insulin-resistance might also play a crucial role in the onset of PCOS condition, rather than the other way around.

The increased level of insulin is one of the major factors behind inflammation and other metabolic conditions associated with PCOS. Though scientists know that there exists some connection between these two conditions, the actual cause of the link between two is yet to be unfolded.

Well, if you are thinking that insulin resistance affects all women with PCOS similarly then you are wrong. It does not have the same effect on all women, in some cases, it may lead to severe complications while in other cases it might not affect at all. As per some studies, it is suggested that obese condition is associated with insulin resistance which in turn impacts the functioning of hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the brain. These two glands are very crucial for the production of androgenic hormones, which increases in such conditions leading to PCOS. Imbalance in hormonal levels is often responsible for conditions like infertility, ovarian dysfunction, irregular menstruation and hirsutism among females with PCOS.

Likewise, changes in hormones due to insulin resistance often interfere with proper implantation of the embryo, supply of appropriate nutrient & energy to the fetus and much more, which impacts the overall growth of embryo leading to miscarriages and infertility. Moreover, having insulin resistance during pregnancy also increases the risk of gestational diabetes, which is very common among women with PCOS.

The associated symptoms

Symptoms of insulin resistance are similar in women who have PCOS and those who don’t. Women with PCOS need to be aware of these symptoms because of the strong correlation between the two conditions. The first common symptom observed changes in the appetite of the females. The insulin hormone is also a great appetite stimulant, which can be considered a major reason among women in PCOS for frequent cravings. This, in turn, leads to the secretion of other associated biomolecules which increases the craving for carbohydrate-rich food. This if continues in the long term leads to excessive weight gain and obese conditions. Moreover, it also increases the future risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and arthritis. A second common symptom of insulin resistance is a pre-diabetic condition. Here you will face a frequent hike in glucose levels post intake of carbohydrate-rich food. This often leads to tingling like feeling in feet, blood pressure imbalance, frequent urinations, thirsty and more.

The above-mentioned points highlight the importance of undertaking treatment for insulin resistance and PCOS. The brief understanding shows a certain relation between both these conditions. Though some scientific evidence is available, further research studies are needed to comprehensively explain the link. Researchers across the globe are working in this direction. Until then, follow the doctor’s recommendation along with a comprehensive diet and exercise plan. Since both the conditions are lifestyle-associated conditions, bringing significant improvement in lifestyle can help overcome the menace of PCOS.

PCOS And Celebrities- Breaking The Stigma Of PCOS

PCOS And Celebrities- Breaking The Stigma Of PCOS

 Though efforts have been made to create awareness about PCOS, there still exist some gaps where the stigma of PCOS is broadly prevalent. The question is what are the reasons that women suffer from such stigma? Is it a lack of awareness or misinformation in society or anything else? Well, the following article will help you get the answer to these questions. The article highlights some of the celebrities who have suffered from PCOS and have come to the limelight to be a beacon of hope. They have not only opened up about their condition but have also paved a path of hope for other women’s suffering from PCOS.

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is known to affect one in five women in India. Though considered to occur mainly in girls of childbearing age, the risks are equally prevalent from the start of menstruation till menopause. In our earlier article Future risk of PCOS due to ignorance, we highlight the outcomes of ignoring PCOS symptoms and its timely cure. You will come to know that women suffer from a high risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression and much more.

Celebrities Step Up To Bring a Real Impact 

Though PCOS is a common lifestyle disease, many women still are unaware of it. The main reason for this is the common symptoms of PCOS which can be often misunderstood. As per some experts, up to fifty percent of females suffering from PCOS are not effectively diagnosed with it. This is the reason most women end up diagnosing PCOS at a very late stage specifically in conditions like infertility. Different conditions intensify this difficulty. PCOS indications, for example, the overabundance of facial hair, skin break out, weight increase can make ladies feel disgraceful, humiliated and obscured. PCOS patients frequently question their mental self-portrait and conviction, which may keep them from discussing what is befalling their bodies.
PCOS condition is one of the most vital, underserved, under-analyzed and under-financed conditions influencing the wellbeing of females. Therefore, we need the strong support of media, government organizations and financing institutions to improve awareness and outreach of PCOS knowledge among women.

So when celebrities venture up to recount to their tales about PCOS, they can have a genuine and profound effect in decreasing the stigma of PCOS. Let’s discuss some of the common celebrities highlighting their PCOS journey in the most amazing way.

Harnaam Kaur 

Now an Instagram star, Harnaam once suffered from the stigma of PCOS in her early stage of diagnosis. But soon after becoming a Sikh at 16, she embraced her culture and tradition and allowed her hair to grow long. But unlike normal females, she faced the issue of excessive hair growth due to the high level of testosterone hormone, a common symptom of PCOS. However, Harnaam very well embraced her condition and took a step ahead to speak up about it. She has now become a spokeswoman for a multitude of positive movements helping women with PCOS.

Sara Ali Khan

Who doesn’t know the budding star of the Bollywood – Sara Ali Khan. Recently in an interview on ‘Koffee with Karan’, Sarah revealed her struggle with PCOS. Without thinking about any stigma she shared her story of being obese (96kgs). However, she embraced the condition and worked hard to overcome it by following a healthy lifestyle. She significantly changed her diet and exercise routine which later on helped her lose the extra kg. Today we all are aware of her charm and attractive personality which leaves behind the struggle of PCOS.

Sonam Kapoor

Another well-known actor of Bollywood who came in limelight to share her story of PCOS is Sonam Kapoor. She has been a National Award Winning actress and has shared her story very frankly to break the stigma associated with PCOS. In many interviews, she explained about her journey of fat to fit. She has revealed the struggles of PCOS she faced and how she dealt with it, along with other associated issues such as starvation, depression, excessive weight gain and much more. She even revealed that she had excessive hair growth on her face and suffered from diabetes. However, with proper lifestyle and guidance for PCOS management, she was able to control the menace of PCOS.

Victoria Beckham

A well-known fashion designer and amazing singer – Victoria Beckham has always been at the forefront to stand-up against the stigma of PCOS. She never kept her illness of PCOS a secret and has shared about its effects on her fertility. In many interviews, Beckham has shared her journey of overcoming the ill effects of PCOS. She transformed her life by following a healthy lifestyle such as a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Daisy Ridley

Are you a fan of Star Wars? Then you must be knowing the famous actress Daisy Ridley. The actress has not stepped backed and has made a profound impact by sharing about her PCOS journey on social media. She took this step on her Instagram where she shared about the severe acne symptoms she suffered during PCOS. You will find that even she advocates healthy lifestyle for effective management of PCOS condition.

The only learning we can take from these live examples is to sideline the stigma of PCOS and make a shift towards a healthy lifestyle. In our earlier blogs, we have shared why and how changes in your diet and exercise pattern can help in reversing the menace of PCOS. Just remember that you are not alone in this struggle. There are many such women’s and many of them have successfully overcome the struggle of PCOS. You can too! To know more about it you can even contact our counselors and seek free pre-test counseling. Give a kick-start to a healthy life and say no to PCOS struggles.

Future Risk of PCOS Due To Ignorance

Future Risk of PCOS Due To Ignorance

In recent times the awareness about PCOS conditions has evolved rapidly. However, there is still a gap in addressing issues like future risk of PCOS due to ignorance. Though people know why it is important to take initiative at the early stage of PCOS, they should also know what if they won’t.

PCOS is a gynaecological condition occurring due to hormonal imbalance and lifestyle mismanagement. According to various studies it is found that in India almost 1 in 5 female of childbearing age suffers from PCOS. In this article, we are highlighting the consequences of PCOS due to ignorance or late diagnoses.

Insulin resistance and diabetes risk: It is found that almost 60% of women with PCOS face obesity issues. The reason for this is not only BMI but also higher levels of insulin in the body. Till now many studies have been done which support the correlation of insulin resistance and PCOS. It is known that any alteration in insulin secretion will have a negative impact on the androgen secretion stimulated by luteinizing hormone. This is the reason that risks of type 2 diabetes also known as gestational diabetes are quite high among women with PCOS.

Hypertension and cardiovascular disease: The major reason for increased cardiovascular disease among women with PCOS is considered to be contributed by high insulin levels and impaired glucose intolerance. The dysfunctioning of the pancreatic beta-cell is often associated inversely with SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin) concentration which contributes to disorder in hormonal levels (Hyperandrogenism). There have been researches that suggest two common mechanisms by which insulin resistance leads to high cardiovascular risk in PCOS women. The atherogenic action is found to be the first mechanism while the negative impact due to adverse lipoprotein profile is considered to be the second common mechanism. Studies suggest that in women with PCOS serum triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein are altered negatively. Moreover, the levels of healthy high-density lipoproteins are suppressed leading to increased risk of disease.

Endometrial cancer: As the interest in understanding the future risk of PCOS is increasing many research has been conducted in support of it. The risk of endometrial cancer forms one of the common future risks due to ignorance of PCOS or associated signs and symptoms. Few of the main reasons considered to be contributing to endometrial cancer risk are prolonged ovulation which is responsible for altered hormonal secretion, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, infertility and more. Studies suggest that long term effects of the condition like endometrial hyperplasia can lead to adenocarcinoma. Though the precise estimates of occurrence are not yet known perfectly, it is estimated that almost 18% of hyperplasia cases if ignored lead to cancer.

As discusses above the risk future risk of PCOS does not only limit to mentioned points. There has been a lot of research going on to understand the impact in depth to gain better insights. However, it is known that if proactive management of PCOS condition or its symptoms are ignored for long can even lead to ovarian cancer, breast cancer and more. Thus, there exists a great need for scientific support to understand the complexity of PCOS and its management. As it is said precautions are better than cure, following a healthy lifestyle with necessary nutrition support can help to an extent. Adopting these safe strategies is important to help women protect themselves from the adverse menace of PCOS and live a healthy & happy life.

How Adding Synthetic Hormones in Food Items Is Affecting Women’s Health?

How Adding Synthetic Hormones in Food Items Is Affecting Women’s Health?

To meet the hunger needs of the world’s growing population, farmers and cattle ranchers are implementing numerous techniques to increase food production. For instance, cows are injected with synthetic hormones like estrogen and testosterone to increase milk quantity. More milk means more dairy products like cheese, curd, butter, etc, which constitute the main part of the diet for most people.

However, due to the consumption of food consisting of these external hormones have certain adverse effects on humans, especially women. Here, in this blog, you will know those effects and what care you should take to avoid them:

  • Early signs of puberty

It’s not a surprising fact that girls all over the world are hitting puberty at an early age. When compared to the last generations, girls these days are getting periods sooner than expected. Though many factors contribute to this result, one of the main reasons is the higher intake of additives, chemicals and artificial hormones from the various food sources. Thus, when we consume milk and other dairy products, we are receiving hormones other than that are produced in the human body. Although the amount is fractional, continued intake of these synthetic hormones will impact body functionality, leading to certain irrevocable changes such as early puberty age.

  • Higher risk of breast cancer

Breast cancer is a common type of cancer in women. The risk of which is increased due to constant exposure to artificial factors such as additives and hormones. As these hormones are released in cattle’s entire lifetime, you are also subjected to the continued intake of the synthetic hormone. Whether in the form of meat or dairy products, your body will have more hormones (estrogen) which are produced both naturally and artificially.

  • PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

PCOS occurs when there is an imbalance in metabolic functioning due to altered hormonal levels. So, when your body had excess amounts of estrogen that has come in the form of synthetic hormones, it might lead to the imbalance, which ultimately results in PCOS. Due to this condition, your body develops extra hair on your skin, which is termed as hirsutism, which leads to excess weight gain, acne, and other symptoms associated with PCOS.

  • Pregnancy loss

The presence of synthetic hormones in our food intake is an indirect factor of pregnancy loss. You will find that women suffering from PCOS have higher chances of miscarriage than women who don’t. Now, you already read how synthetic hormones might result in PCOS that’s mentioned in the previous point. This rise of hormones in the body causes alteration in the metabolic pathways due to the imbalance created. This affects the natural reproductive cycle wherein different hormones play a critical role. The resultant imbalance impacts the ovulation and other associated stages in the maturation of egg leading to abrupt pregnancy loss.

Other effects:

It is said that these synthetic chemicals might also cause obesity and overweight conditions in women. Though the amount of external hormones is only fractional when compared to the naturally produced hormones, the continued exposure will show negative effects gradually.

Care you should take:

Reading the points above, you may think to stop consuming milk and other dairy products. However, it’s not plausible. Instead, you can do certain changes in your lifestyle such as maintaining a healthy diet, keeping a check on your weight, making exercise as part of your routine, etc. Doing this will lower the risks of negative effects caused by synthetic hormones in women.

Why PCOS is on rise in India?

Why PCOS is on rise in India?

In previous blogs, we have discussed about PCOS in India with relevant statistics which shows almost every one in five women suffers from its menace. Nationwide surveys have been conducted by various organizations and institutions to understand the frequency of the condition across various regions. The results are not happy and show a significant rise in the past few decades. This raises certain questions in the mind such as why PCOS is on the rise in India? What are the factors that we are not able to gauge? Is it just a lack of treatment or even awareness? To understand this better here we are trying to unfold the hidden reasons which could be contributing to the rise in PCOS.

Wide range of symptoms: PCOS is a multifactorial metabolic condition. In this, a number of factors play a role in giving rise to a wide range of symptoms. Whether it is excessive weight gain, hirsutism, irregular menses, insulin resistance or as simple as acne, you can find diverse symptoms among females. This often makes the diagnoses a little critical until they seem to be very severe, as most of these symptoms can be found even in normal females.

Lack of awareness: Another factor contributing to the rise of PCOS in India is the lack of awareness among females of childbearing age. As discussed, the symptoms of the conditions are so common that they are often overlooked until they become severe. Moreover, there is a lack of proper outreach to common people to create PCOS awareness. Though in recent times with the help of social media the outreach and understanding are rising, there still exist females unaware of perils of this condition. Conducting conferences, workshops by doctors, events, and outreach to local areas is crucial to increase the awareness among common people to subside the perils of PCOS.

Poor understanding of the disorder: Though PCOS was for the first time identified in the late 19th century, a thorough understanding of the condition is still lacking. Many researches have been going around the world indicating the multifactorial metabolic conditions leading to PCOS. However, efforts for finding the cure for the same are still undergoing. In recent times, solutions like focusing on lifestyle management, healthy eating habits, and regular exercise are suggested to defeat the disorder and there have been many positive outcomes of these healthy changes. But still, there exists a gap for effective medicines or therapy-based treatments for PCOS.

Environmental factors: One of the major reasons for developing the PCOS condition is exposure to poor environmental conditions. These include exposure to artificial hormones in food products, other artificial chemicals, rising pollution and unhealthy substance influencing internal metabolic pathways. In many genetic tests conducted for understanding the predisposition to PCOS, genes related to the detoxification process and those influenced by environmental factors have been found affected (mutated). This highlights the correlation of external factors with our genes in giving rise to PCOS condition. Considering the situation in India the additives, artificial hormones and more are widely used to increase production or give a distinct flavor to the food items. This has been increasing day by day to meet the need of the rising population. Though efforts have been made by government organizations by limiting the use of these substances into the food, the situation still remains worrisome.

If you look at the data highlighting PCOS stats in our previous blog ‘PCOS in India, you can very well understand the severity of the situations. To overcome this menace it is very important to create due awareness among females. In light of this, we at GENESUPPORT have launched the PCOS Awareness Campaign and PCOS Support Program wherein you can consult the counselor to get an effective solution. Whether it is you, your family member or friends, join us in this campaign by consulting our counselors to understand the condition better and getting answers to your queries from the experts. You can even seek diet and exercise based comprehensive guidelines to meet your goal of overcoming PCOS. So what are you waiting for? Let’s work together, to fight it together!

How Personalised diet recommendation helps in PCOS?

How Personalised diet recommendation helps in PCOS?

The understanding of the PCOS condition took place for the first time in the 20th century wherein researchers and doctors described it as a very complex hormonal disorder among the women of childbearing age. Apart from this, it also constitutes various health issues such as anxiety, depression, diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and in severe cases risk of endometrial cancer.

Research has been carried out for long to understand the cause of PCOS which is still a mystery. However, it is considered that the PCOS condition has a multifactorial origin. Though the hormonal disorder is the major reason, emerging evidence also shows the role of genetics, environment, and interaction between other biological factors towards PCOS condition. 

Some studies have also shown the impact of diet on managing the PCOS condition effectively. In this article, we will help address the most common query people have on how personalized diet recommendations help in PCOS management. So, read ahead and unlock the secret of PCOS management.

Benefits of following the personalized diet in PCOS

You can find a variety of diet available and suggested all over the internet. But how you will find which one is right for you? Can you follow any diet randomly? Or there has to be a specific dietary regimen devised particularly for you? Well, the answer to these questions lies with the concept of ‘Personalised Diet’. Definitely, it is not right to follow any random diet plans without understanding your condition. As different PCOS cases will have different requirements and severity, the demand for diet will vary accordingly. This is the reason most of the nutritionist suggests for personalized diet plan wherein they first thoroughly assess your daily dietary intake and your PCOS symptoms to come with a plan unique to you. 

The most crucial way in which your eating habits influence PCOS is your weight and sensitivity towards insulin. As insulin is well known to play a critical role in PCOS, managing its levels with the help of a proper diet can help in bringing back your body to normal. Going beyond this, issues like acne, excessive hair fall, and hirsutism are majorly connected to improper lifestyle and eating habits which affect the internal balance of hormone, vitamins, nutrients and more. Thus, following a proper diet and bringing certain lifestyle changes can prove to be very effective to overcome the menace of PCOS. Some of the benefits of following a diet plan are:

Controlling insulin levels 

The most important consideration for the PCOS diet is to consume low glycemic index food. The reason for this is to prevent or control the development of insulin sensitivity or resistance. The food with a high glycemic index causes the upsurge of insulin levels leading to conditions like insulin resistance and even Type 2 diabetes. However, when you undertake low glycemic index food, the body digests it slowly which does not lead to the rise of insulin levels beyond the limits in comparison to other foods. Low glycemic index food like whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, unprocessed food will be helpful in efficiently managing PCOS.

Inflammation control

Symptoms like excessive weight gain, acne, hair fall and more are the common issues that women with PCOS face. One of the major reasons for these symptoms is inflammatory cytokines, oxidative species, and other inflammatory biomolecules. In order to overcome it, nutritionists recommend the anti-inflammatory diet. This helps in reducing the generation of oxidative species and other inflammatory responses, helping in managing PCOS symptoms. Food like green veggies, using olive oil, nuts like walnut & almonds, seeds like chia, pumpkin, sunflower and more have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Weight management

Excessive weight gain is common among women with PCOS but a personalized PCOS diet plan can help you overcome it. The recommendation for leafy vegetables and monounsaturated fats rather than saturated ones helps in managing weight efficiently. The best example of this is using the anti-inflammatory diet which encourages eating green veggies and healthy oils like olive oil and vegetable oils. 

Studies have found that women who follow a proper diet and minor lifestyle changes show improved insulin metabolism, weight management and reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. This helps in bringing back the normal routine life and regular menstrual cycles. Research has also shown that following these practices and lifestyle changes can also help in bringing behavioral changes that help you in better goal-setting, self-monitoring, psychological wellbeing and more. Thus, it will not only help you manage your PCOS better but also help you manage your life better.

The Tale of PCOS among Women in India

The Tale of PCOS among Women in India

PCOS condition is known to affect women across the world irrespective of different races and regions they belong and this situation stands true for Indian females too. It is now a well-known fact that one in 5 women in India suffers from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a typical endocrinal issue among women of reproductive age, as indicated by various studies.

Though PCOS was described first in early 1935, a proper understanding and awareness about the condition are still lacking. There exist a lot of myths and taboo among the Indian women about PCOS and this has been addressed in our previous blog – Breaking down the PCOS myths. This condition is assessed to influence around 10 million women across the globe and 248 lakh women in India. This is a sufficient reason for every Indian woman to know about PCOS.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, broadly known as PCOS, is an endocrine disorder that influences women in their reproductive age. It is also known as Stein-Leventhal disorder. The hormonal disorders in the women result in the production of androgens (male hormone) in excess which affects the normal menstrual cycle and related underlying metabolic pathways. Excessive development of follicles (sac-like structure in ovaries), Hirsutism, obesity, irregular menses are some of the common symptoms of PCOS.

Statistics in India

An investigation led by AIIMS(All India Institute of Medical Sciences) demonstrated that around 20-25 percent of Indian women of reproductive age are experiencing PCOS. While 60 percent of women with PCOS are dealing with obesity, 35-50 percent has a fatty liver. Around 70 percent have built up insulin resistance leading to diabetic conditions, also around 60-70 percent have an abnormal state of androgen and 40-60 percent have glucose intolerance which is affecting their hormonal balance. Similar studies in South India and Maharashtra showed the predominance of PCOS, as 9.13% and 22.5% respectively.

 You Are Not Alone in this Journey

There are many women like you across the country suffering from PCOS. Famous celebs like Sara Ali Khan and Sonam Kapoor are known for there fighting against PCOS as well. Interestingly, celebrities are now openly talking about their PCOS journey to motivate others. These famous female celebs have shared their journey through PCOS in many interviews. They have revealed how dealing with weight, excess hair growth and condition like diabetes was difficult. However, they overcame it with effective lifestyle management.

Too Much Information on the Internet

As we are living in the digital era there is no doubt that you can find many suggestions and guidelines on the spectrum. But how to select which one is right for you? This question may often arise in your mind and though there exists a lot of information, it can be confusing and misleading sometimes. Instead, connecting with professional health experts and taking personal guidance can help you get a deeper insight into the condition and help you manage it better.

Targeting Lifestyle changes

Early diagnosis of PCOS is important as it has been known to increase the risk of developing several medical conditions including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. PCOS in India is an emerging health problem among adolescents, therefore, the promotion of healthy lifestyles and early interventions are required to prevent future morbidities related to PCOS.

At Genetic Healing, we provide comprehensive PCOS support wherein our nutrigenomics counselors address your queries personally through a DNA based test. This then combines with a comprehensive personalized diet and exercise guidelines with frequent follow-ups to meet your health goals, through a comprehensive 120 days program.

Way Ahead

The success story of the celebrities overcoming PCOS condition emphasizes the importance of lifestyle in managing health problems. The emerging trend of unhealthy eating practices, deformed lifestyle, incompetence to perform a timely exercise and valuing our body less than other things are taking a toll on our health. As PCOS is a lifestyle disorder it is very important to bring significant changes in daily habits. You can choose to start with small steps but it is important to start first and unfold the path of healthy living to downscale the flaws experienced due to PCOS.

Breaking Down the PCOS Myths

Breaking Down the PCOS Myths

Some medical complications can have a powerful impact on your life and PCOS is one among them. Once diagnosed with it, people do have a tendency to learn more about it to gain a better understanding. However, in the process of gaining thoughtful insights, you may end up with some false claims. Here we are breaking down the common myths found to be associated with PCOS treatment.

Myth 1 – PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) is caused by cysts

The formation of cysts in the ovaries is one of the symptoms of PCOS and not the reason for it. As discussed in our previous article “Common Signs and Symptoms of PCOS”, you can understand that PCOS is a result of multiple factors. Your brain provides multiple signals which result in the secretion of hormones. As PCOS is a condition of hormonal disorder, the brain signals the ovaries to produce male-like hormones excessively. This, in turn, affects the secretion of female hormones important for ovulation. In addition to this, your fat cell further enhances the PCOS condition by developing insulin resistance. This in turns triggers your body to produce insulin in excess in response to consumed carbs. Conditions like this not only promotes male-like hormones but also weight gain. As a result, ovaries fail to perform a normal reproductive cycle leading to PCOS symptoms. So, it’s your hormones and not cysts.

Myth 2 – All women with PCOS are infertile

It is completely a false claim that all women with PCOS are infertile. There can be few cases of infertility but there are treatments available to overcome it. Women with PCOS condition should try for lifestyle changes that can help in bringing back the hormonal balance. In cases where women have weight issues, they can opt for weight loss regimes which can have a significant impact on their ovulation cycle. Studies show that in certain cases medications can be of great help. You can also opt for nutrigenomics based treatments for PCOS which govern your diet and exercise by combining a detailed understanding of your genes involved in PCOS.

Myth 3 – Women with PCOS are overweight

You may often encounter that PCOS is related to obesity, but this is not the case always. There are different types of PCOS and each one has different symptoms. There are cases of PCOS in women where they have no weight gain issues. You might be wondering why so? Well, we all are different and respond differently to biological conditions. The best answer to this question lies in your genes. We all have different tendencies towards a certain condition due to the type of gene we carry. It either provides strength to stand through the condition or increases the tendency towards it. Taking a basic gene test for PCOS can help you know yourself better and manage the condition more comprehensively.

Myth 4- Medications are important to regulate periods

Normally, women experiencing irregular menstrual cycles due to PCOS were prescribed contraceptive medications. These medicines can help regulate the menstrual cycle but sometimes do not have a long-lasting impact. Some women find that when they stop taking the medicine the problem of irregular periods reverts. However, the advancement in the field of science such as nutrigenomics is paving a new way of managing PCOS. It promotes healthy eating habits, exercise and other lifestyle changes depending upon a comprehensive analysis of your genes.

Myth 5 –PCOS condition is irreversible

PCOS is irreversible – this is the most common misconception among people. You can read our blog – “PCOS- Story of Bane to Boon”, which highlights the condition of a PCOS patient. She undertook a gene-based diet and exercise initiative and transformed her life completely. Long back in 400 BC, Hippocrates cited “Let food be the medicine” which emphasizes using a healthy diet as medicine. This notion is becoming very evident nowadays and shown to be highly significant on realistic terms.

Way Ahead

 We are living in a digital era where information can transfer in seconds. This increases the chances of communicating even false information without proper backing. Here, in this article, we make an effort to break down some common myths associated with PCOS. I hope it clears the misconceptions and brings a sigh of relief to you.

PCOS – Is it in your genes?

PCOS – Is it in your genes?

We all know that the most common reason behind PCOS is hormonal disorder due to your lifestyle. But do you know a major portion of the PCOS risk is determined by your genes? Yes, you read it right, as a certain part of the PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) condition can be inherited over the subsequent generations. To study this, scientists from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, performed a detailed research. They found that almost 24% of the females suffering from PCOS had mothers affected with the same condition and 32% of the female group had a sister suffering from PCOS1. This highlighted the relation of the genetic factors with PCOS condition.

Well, you will be amazed to know that there is as such no single gene responsible for PCOS. Instead, there is a wide variety of genes and underlying biochemical pathways that seems to be responsible for it. If you are wondering how come genes are responsible for PCOS, then read ahead of the brief explanation about the same.

We know that PCOS is a condition with hormonal disorder contributed by multiple factors (hormones, enzymes, receptors, and other biomolecules). These factors are nothing but protein encoded by genes (i.e. your genes contain certain information which is processed biologically to make these proteins). Hence, any alteration in genetic information can result in a defective protein. These proteins play a crucial role in maintaining your body homeostasis by participating in various biological pathways, which gets affected due to defective protein.

The main genes contributing to PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) are those encoding for factors critical for production, transport, and regulation. This includes factors involved in insulin metabolisms such as signaling pathway initiating binding of insulin to its receptor, insulin-like growth factor and more. Apart from this, there are genes which also encode for:

  • Androgen Binding Receptor (ABR): Wherein the androgens (Hormones which are responsible for male-like traits and reproductive activity) bind to its receptor and initiate a further signaling cascade.
  •  Follicular Stimulating Hormone Receptor (FSHR): The follicular stimulating hormone which plays an important role in follicular development during the reproductive cycle binds to FSHR. Any alteration in the gene encoding for the FSH hormone or FSHR can affect the subsequent biological pathways leading to PCOS signs and symptoms.
  • Fat Mass Obesity (FTO): It is also known by the name alpha-ketoglutarate dependent dioxygenase. As the name only suggests this gene is associated with body mass index (BMI), obesity, PCOS and tendency for type-2 diabetes.
  • Cytochrome P450 (CYP): This gene has many variants like CYP1B1, CYP1A1, CYP17A and many more. Alteration in the CYP1B1 gene is responsible for increasing the synthesis of oestradiol. Oestradiol is one of the main estrogen hormones among females which plays a role in maturation and maintenance of the reproductive system. Similarly, CYP1A1 is known to increase the enzyme activity which participates in pathways responsible for the formation of reactive intermediates from environmental pro-carcinogen. Likewise, CYP17A plays role in the bioavailability of estrogen. Thus, any alterations in these genes can severely affect the hormonal balance leading to conditions like PCOS.

As mentioned above there exist more such genes that are evaluated to understand your tendency towards PCOS. The science where your genetic predisposition is studied and the subsequent conditions are managed by dietary intervention is known as Nutrigenomics. It involves a simple genetic test using either your saliva or blood sample to asses certain genes associated with the PCOS condition. A detailed genetic report is generated which is explained to you by the nutrigenomics counselor. The counselors evaluate both your genetic report and dietary habits to provide a personalized diet and exercise guidelines. The basic idea behind this type of management is using food as medicine to manage your conditions. The principle of managing health condition with the help of dietary habits has been postulated back in 400B.C by Hippocrates, who said: “Let Food Be Thy Medicine”.  Since the nutrigenomics based diet and guidelines are prepared by studying and evaluating your genes, it gives you a highly personalized solution. This helps to manage the condition in a more targeted manner with long term effects and improved lifestyle.

How Nutrigenomics Is Transforming PCOS Treatment

How Nutrigenomics Is Transforming PCOS Treatment

There is no doubt about the array of treatment available for curing PCOS condition. But the question arises- Are these treatment effective? Do traditional methods have a long-lasting effect? Well, the answer to these questions is debatable as different people respond differently to various treatments. For long, scientists were trying to understand this relation of differential response to provide a better-personalized solution for PCOS treatment.

Meanwhile, questions were raised like – Is there any tailor-made solution specifically for people to overcome PCOS? Well, the answer was soon found in the new field of science known as ‘Nutrigenomics’. For long, it was known that what we eat and our genes govern how we respond. It was Hippocrates, who mentioned, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” in early 400 BC. The quote emphasizes the importance of nutrition to cure diseases. In light of these many studies have been carried out to understand the interplay of genes and nutrition to provide a personalized solution for PCOS treatment.

Role of Nutrigenomics in PCOS

Nutrigenomics is the field of science which helps in treating the condition by providing you a tailored diet and exercise recommendation according to your DNA/genes. Let’s understand this with a very basic example of PCOS management. You will find that few people response actively to a particular diet or treatment method while others don’t. The reason for this lies in their genes. There are certain changes in the genes of these individuals which controls the biological components involved in PCOS management. These changes are nothing but a certain mutation in the genes also called single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). These mutations can have both positive and negative impact. In nutrigenomics, scientists study these mutations in your body with the help of simple genetic test.

The genetic test gives a deeper insight into the factors contributing to PCOS. Here are a few factors which are considered during nutrigenomics based PCOS treatment:

  • Factors contributing to oestrogen metabolism
  • Impact external environmental factors on genes
  • Understanding of detoxification pathways
  • Any associated risk of diseases if persists
  • And more

 

Depending upon the results of your genetic profile, the nutrigenomics counsellors then devise personalized diet and exercise guidelines. The question may arise that how come nutrigenomics based diet and exercise recommendations differ from the normal ones. Well, the normal diet charts and exercise recommendations are too generalized, whereas nutrigenomics based recommendations are highly personalized i.e. it will be highly targeted towards your body type. The counsellors first take a detailed session to understand your daily lifestyle, your weaknesses, and strengths. The experts then prepare a comprehensive plan that suits both your body and normal regime, making it easy for you to follow the entire plan.

Way Ahead

We all are aware of the various myths associated with PCOS treatment. The evolution of nutrigenomics science breaks apart those myths with its sound results. Moreover, it is often said that we should not follow anything without credible backing. However, you will glad to know that the nutrigenomics based recommendation have been scientifically backed by many research globally. So, take a step ahead to transform yourself into a healthy being because – We Are What We Eat.

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