If you have been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), managing your weight is particularly important. The condition, which is caused by a hormonal imbalance, is known to cause problems with fertility.
People with PCOS may have elevated levels of androgen hormones. As a result, they may experience hirsutism. They may also suffer the absence of menstrual cycles for lengthy periods.
Consequently, people with PCOS who desire to become pregnant may fail at their attempts. Those who do become pregnant may have an increased risk of miscarriage during their first trimester.
Nevertheless, one of the ways that physicians treat the condition is by prescribing medications and activities that control insulin levels. PCOS is associated with insulin resistance and elevated levels of the hormone.
Weight loss is one way that people are able to improve their insulin sensitivity. As the cells of the body become more sensitive to the insulin hormone, they require less insulin to normalize their blood sugar levels. With less insulin present, sex hormones that regulate fertility tend to become more stable and balanced.
Even the loss of a few pounds can have a significant positive impact on insulin levels. Nevertheless, PCOS sufferers who are considered obese should strive to lose enough weight to achieve a BMI that is within the normal range.
Here are a few ways to help people lose weight and manage the symptoms of PCOS.
Patients with PCOS may be asked to avoid large amounts of processed foods and simple carbohydrates, which are associated with higher insulin levels. Physicians may suggest that they focus on whole fruits and vegetables and healthy proteins to meet the bulk of their nutritional needs.
Exercise often improves insulin sensitivity. Thus, physicians frequently suggest that people with PCOS adopt a regular exercise program that includes weight-bearing exercises. An increase in muscle mass not only helps the body consume more calories while at rest, but it also helps it use insulin more efficiently.
Metformin is a medication that is prescribed to improve insulin sensitivity. Some people who take metformin lose weight as their insulin levels normalize.
The drug, which sometimes presents minor side effects, such as diarrhea and an upset stomach, has produced positive results for many people with PCOS. Fertility specialists sometimes prescribe metformin to people with PCOS who are trying to become pregnant, to help prevent excess insulin from destabilizing hormone levels. Some physicians even prescribe the medicine for PCOS sufferers through the first three months of pregnancy in hopes of minimizing the chance of miscarriage.
If you have PCOS and would like to learn more about weight management treatments and insulin levels, schedule a consultation with a physician in your local area.