What is polycystic ovary syndrome?
PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a common disease (6-12% of women of childbearing age in the United States suffer from this disease), which is characterized by irregular menstrual cycles, excessive androgen or polycystic ovaries. Common symptoms include long or irregular cycles, lack of ovulation, excessive facial or body hair, acne, infertility, weight gain, skin tags and dark spots on the skin. The exact cause of PCOS is unclear, but if left untreated, complications include:
- Metabolic syndrome
- Fatty liver
- Pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes
- sleep apnea
- Uterine cancer
- heart disease
As you can see, these health complications can have very serious consequences, so knowing how to manage PCOS is essential for health and longevity.
How does sugar affect polycystic ovary syndrome?
A major factor in the management of polycystic ovary syndrome is sugar consumption .
Insulin resistance seems to play a role in the production of excess androgens/male hormones. When the blood sugar level rises, insulin is produced, so the cells can take in and use glucose from the blood. Over time, cells become insulin resistant, leading to the accumulation of sugar and insulin in the blood. This extra insulin leads to the production of extra male hormones, which can lead to polycystic ovary syndrome and ovulation problems. It also applies in the other direction-the presence of high levels of testosterone stimulates the production of insulin and ultimately leads to insulin resistance. Essentially, insulin resistance increases the risk of PCOS, and vice versa.
In addition, sugar can aggravate or promote PCOS through inflammation. Ingestion of sugar can trigger inflammation in the body, and inflammation stimulates the ovaries to produce androgens. This will worsen the symptoms of PCOS and even cause damage to the cardiovascular system.
The craving for sugar is a common complaint among women with PCOS, although sugar is exactly what you should not eat if you have this disease. With too much insulin in the system, these cravings will worsen, creating a difficult cycle of cravings and worsening symptoms.
Polycystic ovary syndrome and obesity
One of the hallmarks of PCOS is weight gain. Obesity is usually closely related to polycystic ovary syndrome and can worsen the symptoms and complications of the disease. A study found that in the United States, more than 80% of women with polycystic ovary syndrome will develop obesity at some point. This is another tricky cycle. PCOS makes women susceptible to obesity, and obesity makes PCOS symptoms worse. Since a high-sugar diet can lead to an obesity epidemic in the United States, keeping sugar intake to a minimum can help both.
Polycystic ovary syndrome and diabetes
There is also a lot of overlap between PCOS and diabetes . In fact, more than half of women diagnosed with PCOS will develop type 2 diabetes by the age of 40 . Obviously, insulin resistance mechanisms cause this overlap, and sugar consumption and unhealthy lifestyle choices can lead to insufficient insulin sensitivity (and the resulting health conditions). Controlling blood sugar is an effective way to control the symptoms of PCOS and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes .
Managing polycystic ovary syndrome
For the management of PCOS, the doctor recommends:
- A healthy diet low in refined sugar
- Eat small and frequent meals throughout the day and your blood sugar levels will be more stable
- Physical activity for weight and symptom management
- Medications (including birth control pills, ovulation-stimulating drugs for trying to get pregnant, diabetes drugs, or drugs to treat symptoms such as acne)
Like many common health conditions today, choosing a healthy lifestyle rich in nutritious food and low in added sugar is an important part of PCOS management. By making healthy choices and energizing your body in a natural and healthy way, you can prevent and manage various health problems.