How To Correctly Test For Insulin Resistance In PCOS

You have PCOS – or suspect you do. You’ve got the signs and symptoms, like trouble losing weight (although you can gain it by simply looking sideways at a bun or cake!), PCOS and infertility, acne, excessive hair growth, tiredness and mood swings as great a the immense tidal rivers in far north Australia.

But you’ve been told your blood sugar levels are fine…

But are they?

More often that not, the correct tests have NOT been performed. I see this again and again. Women with PCOS are told they are ‘normal’ and there is no need to worry. The problem is that this is not what the research shows.

Let’s look at how to correctly test for insulin resistance in PCOS. For those of you lovely ladies who prefer to digest your content in the written form there is a transcription below. Enjoy!

“Hi, this is Dr. Rebecca Harwin for and

I wanted to talk today about how to correctly assess insulin resistance in women with PCOS. It’s often missed because only glucose levels are tested, and the woman is told that she is fine when she isn’t.

If we don’t know that you have insulin resistance, we can’t address this condition correctly. This means you’re more likely to suffer from infertility, weight gain, trouble losing weight, acne, excessive hair growth, and also be at increased risk of diseases related to insulin resistance, like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Today I wanted to talk about how to correctly assess insulin resistance, and why this is so important.

When you take sugar in through your food plan, your body processes it. We need to keep our blood sugar levels within a very fine range. When we have too much sugar, insulin increases, and this makes sure that we can get this blood glucose safely into our cells where it won’t do any damage.

When we take only a blood glucose test, we don’t see how much insulin is being produced. We may see that this blood sugar is within what’s called a normal range, but that could be because insulin is increased in its presence, to try and take this glucose into our body.

What we need to do is take a 2 or 3 hour glucose tolerance test, including insulin, at fasting, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 120 minutes and also 180 minutes if it’s a 3 hour test. This way we can actually see how our blood sugars and our insulin are working together, and whether our levels are too high or not.

I highly recommend that you talk to your doctor or health professional about having correct tests done, because then we know what the correct steps for you are to help you with your health problems.

In a future post, we’ll talk about how you can actually deal naturally with insulin resistance. The steps you can take with your food plan, with what you drink and your lifestyle. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and share this post and with your friends and family. Who knows, they may just get the answer that they’ve been seeking.


Dr. Rebecca Harwin
The PCOS Expert
Nutritionist, Author, Chiropractor

P.S. There are some amazing supplements to help you overcome insulin resistance. One that I often recommend contains wonderful ingredients for healthy blood sugar function, like Gymenema sylvestre, magnesium, chromium, zinc and biotin. To find out more, click Healthy Blood Sugar Maintenance.

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5 Responses to How To Correctly Test For Insulin Resistance In PCOS

  1. Kate February 24, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    I have PCOS and have had glucose tolerance tests a number of times over the years, each time indicating insulin resistance. I have recently changed GPs, and he ordered a battery of blood tests, including glucose tolerance, as I told him I have insulin resistance when reviewing my medical history. The latest (3 hour) tests showed my insulin levels within normal range at all stages. Is it possible to reverse insulin resistance? I’m generally pretty good with my diet, avoiding sugar, refined carbs, starch and most dairy.

    • Dr Rebecca Harwin February 25, 2014 at 12:37 am #

      Yes, it absolutely is possible to reverse insulin resistance. Well done Kate!

  2. Danielle Jones February 24, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    The supplement you mentioned in the p.s. section of this post. Do you recommend that for insulin resistance? Can it be taken with other meds/vitamins/supplements?
    Thank you

    • Dr Rebecca Harwin March 9, 2014 at 1:26 am #

      Hi Danielle,

      Yes, absolutely it can help. Yes, it can be taken with other supplements, but you may need to check with your health professional. As it can help to improve insulin sensitivity, this may alter the levels of medication you need.

      Hope this help?

      Dr Rebecca


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