women

Grave Omens

While the outward signs of PCOS can lead to serious problems with body image, the physiologic effects of insulin resistance can be harmful to lifelong health. Not only is PCOS the number-one cause of infertility, those who do become pregnant are also at higher risk for miscarriage and pregnancy-induced diabetes. At least as troubling is research connecting PCOS with an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes, both during childbearing years and later. Studies show that the excess insulin characteristic of the syndrome can raise the risk for heart disease by increasing blood pressure and blood levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while lowering protective HDL-cholesterol. Insulin resistance can also be a precursor to diabetes. It’s estimated that up to 40 per cent of women with PCOS will develop either impaired glucose tolerance (a pre-diabetic condition) or diabetes by age 40.

While the outward signs of PCOS can lead to serious problems with body image, the physiologic effects of insulin resistance can be harmful to lifelong health.

While the outward signs of PCOS can lead to serious problems with body image, the physiologic effects of insulin resistance can be harmful to lifelong health.

What’s a woman to do?

For overweight women with PCOS, experts agree that the primary treatment is weight loss and exercise, both of which improve insulin resistance naturally. Research show that during, and for several hours after, exercise, muscle cells are more sensitive to the working of insulin, so less has to be secreted. Exercise should include aerobic activity, like brisk walking, cycling, or swimming, for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week, and strength training two to three times per week using free weights, weight machines, or exercise bands.

For overweight women with PCOS, experts agree that the primary treatment is weight loss and exercise, both of which improve insulin resistance naturally.

For overweight women with PCOS, experts agree that the primary treatment is weight loss and exercise, both of which improve insulin resistance naturally.

My gynac prescribed a clutch of drugs – Finastride to regulate the male hormones, Meridia (10mg) to promote weight loss, Erythromycin ointment for the acne and pigmentation.

Not only is PCOS the number-one cause of infertility, those who do become pregnant are also at higher risk for miscarriage and pregnancy-induced diabetes.

After a month I went back to her. She told me to repeat the same tests again. There was only a miniscule improvement which indicated I was in for the long haul. My weight hadn’t reduced but it wasn’t increasing either. Same with acne, pigmentation and hair growth. On the plus side I did get my periods that month. There was no respite from the back pain. I was told to continue with the medicines and increase physical activity. Since I enjoy dancing I joined a jazz and hip-hop class, which raised my spirits even if it didn’t make a substantial dent in my weight.

Six months down the line, my weight dropped a bit, the back pain also eased but I’m still beset by acne, pigmentation and hirsutism.

Pcos clues

Dr. Anjali Talwalkar, MD, DGO, consultant gynecologist associated with Kohinoor Hospital lists the classic signs of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

·         Obesity

·         Menstrual irregularities

·         Increase in male pattern hair growth (hirsutism)

·         Acne

·         Dark under eye circles

·         Stretch marks

·         Oily skin

·         Excessive white colored vaginal discharge

·         Abnormal levels of lipids in blood

Unfortunately, there’s no single set of tests for PCOS. But you can be tested for insulin resistance, both directly and indirectly. Your best bet is to see a doctor experienced with PCOS, like a reproductive specialist or endocrinologist (hormone specialist), who can order the appropriate blood tests and interpret your results.

Diet Modifications

Some PCOS experts feel that eating somewhat fewer carbohydrates as well as distributing carbohydrates over more frequent small meals and snacks may help lower the elevated insulin levels characteristic of the disorder. Combining carbohydrates with lean proteins and small portions of healthful fats (peanut, olive, mustard, Omega-3s in oily fish) may also help keep insulin levels more balanced. That’s because it’s mainly carbohydrates that increase insulin secretion after a meal.

Some PCOS experts feel that eating somewhat fewer carbohydrates as well as distributing carbohydrates over more frequent small meals and snacks may help lower the elevated insulin levels characteristic of the disorder

Some PCOS experts feel that eating somewhat fewer carbohydrates as well as distributing carbohydrates over more frequent small meals and snacks may help lower the elevated insulin levels characteristic of the disorder

Most women diagnosed with PCOS are also prescribed medications to increase the body cells’ sensitivity to insulin, so less needs to be secreted. The combination of improved diet, exercise, and sometimes, drugs, often allows previously infertile women of any age with PCOS to reduce their risk for heart disease and diabetes.

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