PCOS – A LEADING CAUSE OF INFERTILITY AND
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine (hormonal) condition and may affect up to 20% of women of reproductive age in America alone (1).
The disorder, which is a leading cause of menstrual irregularity and infertility, is also known as polycystic ovaries, Sclerocystic Ovarian Disease, Stein-Leventhal Syndrome and Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD).
The symptoms of PCOS can vary widely from woman to woman. In addition to infertility, these symptoms include: irregular or completely absent periods, ovarian cysts, hirsutism (excessive facial or body hair), Alopecia (male pattern hair loss), obesity, acne, skin tags, Acanthosis Nigricans (brown skin patches), high cholesterol levels, exhaustion or lack of mental alertness, decreased sex drive and excess male hormones.
You are far more likely to develop PCOS if you suffer from Insulin Resistance. This condition, which is an underlying cause of PCOS, prevents the efficient conversion of food into energy because it reduces the insulin sensitivity of your body's cells.
Insulin acts a "key in a lock", allowing glucose to pass through the cell wall to be converted to energy. If your cells are desensitized to insulin by Insulin Resistance, glucose fails to pass through and instead remains in the blood stream.
This causes elevated levels of blood sugar, which are sent to the liver. Once there, the sugar is converted to fat and stored via the blood stream throughout the body. The end result can be weight gain or obesity, a root cause of PCOS.
Excess insulin caused by Insulin Resistance creates a decrease in an important binding protein called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and this reduction results in an increase in testosterone, a predominantly male hormone. Additionally, the excess insulin stimulates the ovaries to produce large amounts of testosterone, which may prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg each month, thus causing infertility.
PCOS – Diagnosis is Critical
Because the symptoms vary so much and not all women display all the symptoms, doctors very often misdiagnose PCOS. This situation became a critical concern after a University of Pittsburgh study conducted in 2000 found that women suffering from PCOS have a higher risk of coronary heart disease (2).
Researchers discovered a link between PCOS and other metabolic conditions such as high levels of obesity as well as an increase in LDL "bad" cholesterol and high blood pressure - all risk factors for cardiovascular disorders. Recent research also reveals the relationship between PCOS and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
The imbalance of glucose and insulin levels caused by Insulin Resistance can pose other major problems such as laying the foundation for Pre- and Type 2 Diabetes by raising blood sugar levels to dangerous levels.
Pre-Diabetes develops when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet elevated enough for a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.
Before the onset of Type 2 Diabetes, however, most people become Pre-Diabetic - a disorder that can be reversed by restoring the balance of blood sugar and insulin caused by Insulin Resistance. This latter condition, itself, can be reversed through losing weight via a balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise.
But if neglected, Pre-Diabetes may become the Type 2 variety, which can only be managed for the rest of a person's life and may require daily injections of insulin. Type 2 Diabetes, itself, is a severely increased risk factor for blindness, heart and kidney disease and the need for amputation.
Recent research has also shown that excess insulin and glucose can prompt abnormal cell growth, implicating them as the cause of certain cancers.
Inflammation, which is part of the body's defense system, may also play a role in the onset of Insulin Resistance and PCOS. For more information, click on Inflammation, Insulin Resistance and Pre-Diabetes.
The Pittsburgh University study also found an increased association between PCOS and atherosclerosis, which occurs when fatty deposits called plaque cling to the interior walls of the arteries, leading to blockages that can cause heart attacks or stroke (3). Not only do PCOS sufferers have higher rates of plaque buildup but those over 45 also have thicker deposits of plaque.
In addition, the imbalance of glucose and insulin levels caused in women with PCOS leads to a lowering of "good" HDL cholesterol and an increase in the level of triglycerides, which are fat-storing substances carried through the blood stream to the tissues. These factors increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
All these recent findings have substantially raised the bar on the seriousness of PCOS, making it even more important that physicians correctly diagnose this condition and treat it appropriately.
Addressing Insulin Resistance and PCOS require lowering one's insulin levels, improving hormone imbalances and increasing SHBG through weight loss, nutrient supplementation and exercise.
Research has shown that a rapid weight loss program, whether brought about by strenuous dieting or excessive exercise programs or drugs, will simply not work as a long term solution. Almost invariably, people who lose weight under these regimes will eventually gain back everything they've lost, plus additional weight, thus compounding the problem rather than solving it.
A systematic approach is needed to address all the components of these conditions. Simply put, taking a pill every day won't begin to effect the changes that are necessary if you hope to correct these disorders. And, clearly, losing weight alone will not reverse either PCOS or Insulin Resistance.
Insulite Laboratories discovered that no one had yet developed and offered a complete system to patients suffering from Insulin Resistance or PCOS. So this omission led directly to the creation of Insulite Laboratories' multi-layered approach to addressing Insulin Resistance and helping to correct the hormone imbalance that causes PCOS symptoms.
It offers a complete program, called the Insulite PCOS System, which includes nutraceuticals (disease-specific vitamins, minerals and herbs) as well as a realistic exercise program and nutritional guidance.
The nutrients need to be used in therapeutic doses in order to effect substantial metabolic change. The exercise and nutritional programs are not only necessary components but are also realistic and easy-to-follow. The underlying theories are based on well-recognized and accepted science that re-programs neural networks and replaces old, sedentary habits with gradual and permanent lifestyle changes.
Insulite Laboratories was also determined to provide support and outreach, which, research has shown, are important psychological tools for life-changing transitions. It is this systematic approach that enables you to make permanent changes that will have a dramatically beneficial, long-term effects on your health.
Please, begin today to address these conditions. Your health matters, to you and your loved ones. Put yourself back on the path to optimum fitness and well being.
(1) International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, www.inciid.org