What is PCOS and why do you have it?
Fitterfly - Team Nutrition
- Posted On April 22, 2020
It’s not fun to have PCOS but you know what? There is one good thing – at least you know the cause of all your crappy symptoms. [It’s not you, it’s the hormones!]. And since you know, you can manage it too.
A little silver lining, perhaps!
Moving on, what exactly is PCOS?
‘Syndrome’ in simple words is a collection of symptoms, a condition where lots of different symptoms like – irregular periods, excessive hair on the face, increasing and difficult to lose weight, pimples, scalp hair loss, multiple tiny cysts in ovaries – occur along with many others.
The main culprit behind all this mess – Hormonal Imbalance.
Now what does that mean?
Hormones are chemicals present in blood which basically act as messengers telling our body what to do. Some of the hormones are common for both men and women, while some are specific.
- Main female hormones are – Estrogen, Progesterone, LH [Leutinizing hormone] and FSH [Follicle Stimulating Hormone]. Along with other jobs, these hormones are responsible for monthly egg production, regular periods and maintaining pregnancy.
- Main male hormone is Testosterone. Now, this testosterone is also present in females but in a much much smaller amount.
- Another hormone we need to know about is Insulin. Yeah, the one that controls sugar levels in blood.
A balance between all these hormones keeps the body functions smooth. In PCOS, this balance goes out of whack so periods become irregular and many women face trouble getting pregnant. This imbalance also leads to a more than normal amount of testosterone. Too much testosterone causes excessive hair on face, thinning of scalp hair, pimples etc. Testosterone further increases the number of immature eggs, and these eggs that don’t get released end up as tiny cysts in the ovaries.
Remember we mentioned insulin too. Insulin has two jobs – use sugar/carbohydrates from food for energy and tell your body how much testosterone to produce. But many women with PCOS have Insulin Resistance, meaning the body doesn’t let it function. So, the sugar instead of providing energy gets stored as fat – resulting in weight gain. When insulin is not utilized properly, body produces higher amount of insulin which triggers more testosterone – say hello to facial hair and scalp hair loss!
Okay, so all this drama because of hormonal imbalance but why do you have this imbalance in the first place?
Well, there is no exact answer, but the reason why you have PCOS may be due to your genes. PCOS runs in families and family members of women who have PCOS are at higher risk. Apart from that, stuff like Insulin resistance and low-grade inflammation can also cause PCOS. Women who are overweight and don’t exercise have been found to be at higher risk. There is no known exact cause and research is going on. Hopefully, we will get more answers in future.
In the coming weeks, we will talk about how PCOS is exactly diagnosed, can it be treated and what are its long-term effects.
Stay tuned and let me know if you have any more questions.
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