So what really causes PCOS?
That’s a great question. And while we are learning more and more about the causes, I believe these two are the most profound and evidence-based answers to date…
“How I wish Conquer Your PCOS Naturally had been available a decade ago when I was first diagnosed!” – Amanda Jett Knox, USA
Actually, this is one of the reasons I wrote my book ‘Conquer Your PCOS Naturally’. I wished there had of been someone who could have explained to me what was happening in my body when I was 17 years old – BEFORE I gained more than 20kg (that’s 44 pounds) and had a face full of acne! But, then if I hadn’t been through this, I would never have had the drive and the insight to write this book. I found it so frustrating that no-one could give me insight into what can cause PCOS…
So many women ask me this question. And so little practitioners understand this. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is much more complicated than one or two things. However, two of the main causes and drivers are discussed in this article.
You may be surprised to know that more than one in ten women of reproductive age suffers from PCOS.1 Next time you are at a function, on the bus, or walking around the supermarket, look around. You are not alone in your struggle.
Most affected women you walk by will not know what causes their condition either. They are probably as frustrated as you are. And if you don’t know the cause, you cannot possibly know the answer.
PCOS does not simply affect your ovaries, as the name might imply. PCOS affects your hormones, growth, mood, energy, your whole body. If not addressed, it also predisposes you to a plethora of chronic diseases like type II diabetes, obesity, heart dis-ease, high blood pressure, cancer and more.
So, What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
PCOS is diagnosed when at least two of these PCOS symptoms are present, and there are no other reasons for these signs and symptoms.
– infrequent or absent periods
– excessive ‘male’ hormones, which can cause symptoms like acne, excessive hair growth (hirsutism), and loss of scalp hair (alopecia)
– Poly Cystic ovaries on ultrasound.
What really causes PCOS?
There are two main drivers which stand out in the development and exacerbation of PCOS:
- Insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is a condition where our cells may not correctly recognize, or use, the hormone insulin secreted by our pancreas. It is a hormone that manages the metabolism of sugars or carbohydrates in our body, amongst other duties.
Studies show that insulin resistance is due to faulty diet, lifestyle, excessive stress and toxic overload. Insulin resistance is a most integral part of having PCOS. At an absolute minimum, 44 to 70% of women with PCOS suffer from insulin resistance irrespective of whether they are overweight, their ideal weight or thin. (I believe this percentage to be MUCH higher). However, women who are obese have an increased risk of developing insulin resistance.
Inflammation is an underlying cause of dis-ease that is rarely identified, let alone appropriately addressed. This is no different in women with PCOS, regardless of age. Young women with PCOS were found to have elevated markers for inflammation. Even before you begin to develop the tell-tale signs of this syndrome, you may be suffering from chronic low-grade inflammation affecting every part of your body.
Poor eating habits contribute to both insulin resistance and inflammation. Food allergies and intolerances – such as gluten, artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, and chemicals – trigger immune responses. Our immune system is not trying to harm us; in fact, it is trying to protect us.
When our first (acute) reactions become long-term (chronic) however, we have a health challenge on our hands. Sometimes, our body will destroy not just the allergens, but also some of our own precious body cells. This condition, known as ‘autoimmunity’ is one reason for inflammation. It may also be a reason why autoimmune diseases like autoimmune thyroid disease and PCOS exist together. Other times, our body is responding to a toxic internal or external environmental insult.
Obesity, which shares a ‘who came first – the chicken or egg?’ kind of a relationship with PCOS, also contributes to body-wide inflammation. Fat cells are notorious for triggering inflammatory changes in our body tissues.
The good news is, you are in control of what you eat, and the ‘best medicine’ for both insulin resistance and inflammation has been shown to be a positive lifestyle change.
And that’s what I’m here to show you. So, make sure you subscribe to our RSS feed and keep watching this blog. We can change your life for the better, together!