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Understanding the Link Between PCOS and Insulin Resistance

Understanding the Link Between PCOS and Insulin Resistance

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects as many as five million women in the United States. PCOS causes a range of issues for women in their childbearing years, including difficulties getting pregnant, but can also lead to lifelong complications like diabetes.

Alpha OB GYN specializes in high-quality gynecological care, including the diagnosis and management of PCOS. Experienced OB/GYN Sowmya Reddy, MD, FACOG, uses holistic strategies and evidence-based treatments to ease the PCOS symptoms you have and improve your overall health.

Dr. Reddy also provides guidance to lower your risk for diabetes and other PCOS-related complications. In recognition of September being PCOS Awareness Month, we’re providing some insight into the connection between PCOS and insulin-resistance.

How PCOS relates to diabetes

Many women with PCOS can produce the hormone insulin needed to regulate glucose (sugar) levels in the bloodstream. However, their bodies aren’t able to use the insulin it makes properly, a condition referred to as insulin resistance.

Your digestive processes rely on insulin to convert the sugar you eat in your diet into the energy your cells need to function. When your body isn’t making enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin efficiently to support this process, it can lead to Type 2 diabetes.

While the root cause of PCOS isn’t well understood, women with the condition are four times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than women who don’t have PCOS. They may also be at increased risk for other metabolic disorders, including obesity and high blood pressure (hypertension).

Recognizing the warning signs of PCOS

When you have PCOS, your ovaries or adrenal glands produce too many androgens, a male reproductive hormone. These hormones trigger the growth of fluid-filled sacs (cysts) on your ovaries which can cause pelvic pain, irregular periods, ovulation problems, and infertility.

The androgen hormones also cause physical symptoms like:

You may also experience symptoms that relate to PCOS-related complications, including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Schedule a diagnostic evaluation at Alpha OB GYN if you have any of these issues so Dr. Reddy can confirm or rule out PCOS. She offers pelvic exams, blood tests, and on-site ultrasound imaging to give you the answers you need to proceed with treatment.

Effective ways to manage PCOS

A great first step to managing PCOS and insulin resistance is to engage in daily physical activity and eat a nutritious diet to achieve a healthy body weight. For many women, losing even a small percentage of excess weight can significantly improve PCOS symptoms and lessen your risk for Type 2 diabetes.

In addition to lifestyle and diet changes, Dr. Reddy can prescribe hormonal birth control pills to balance out your hormones, regulate your periods, and prevent excessive hair growth.

Dr. Reddy can also discuss your options for improving your fertility. She may recommend various options to increase your chances of conceiving. Dr. Reddy can also provide information about in vitro fertilization (IVF) if needed.

Call the Alpha OB GYN office in Cumming or Alpharetta, Georgia, to schedule a diagnostic evaluation for PCOS symptoms or book an appointment online today. 

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