I would like to address the very important issue concerning insulin resistance and PCOS. Now let’s start with the definition of PCOS. At least two out of the three in the following list defines PCOS:

1) Absent or infrequent ovulation
2) physical signs (Such as excess facial hair growth or thinning of scalp hair) of excess androgens, or high levels of androgens in the blood.
3) polycystic ovaries on ultrasound (12 or more little follicles on each ovary)Note, Some times a person need not have polycystic ovaries to be diagnosed with PCOS.

The physical signs of PCOS vary considerably. Some women are thin and just don’t ovulate, and have polycystic ovaries on ultrasound. The opposite is women who are heavy, abnormally hairy, have high levels of androgens; testosterone and the other male hormones. Even normal women have these hormones, but not in excess.
So your PCOS may be completely different that your friend’s PCOS. And the treatment of your PCOS may also be different.
Now let’s get to PCOS and insulin resistance.
Insulin is the hormone made by the pancreas that allows us to use sugar. Sugar (glucose) needs to get from our food, into the circulation and then into our cells. Cells cannot function without glucose. It’s the insulin that allows us to properly use the glucose. No insulin, no proper glucose utilization, no life.
Diabetes is a condition where there is a problem with insulin. Without insulin, blood levels of glucose rise to dangerous levels. Type 1 diabetics don’t have insulin, and need to take insulin by injection.

Type II diabetics make some insulin. Some Type II diabetics make a small amount and need a little help with medications to improve the action of insulin. However, most Type II diabetics make more that enough insulin, but for some reason the insulin doesn’t work well and glucose levels rise. So they have high levels of insulin and glucose.

Some women with Type II diabetes have PCOS, some women with PCOS have Type II diabetes. That is to say, it was determined that most women with PCOS also have insulin resistance.They may not be diabetic, but their insulin levels are high. By the way, insulin resistance is not in the definition of PCOS.
Here comes the most important point of this blog. Because insulin also acts a growth hormone, it can make people bigger and fatter. People who are insulin resistant, have higher levels of insulin and may be bigger. (Now I know that some of you are type II diabetics and have normal weight, but most type IIs are at least a bit overweight.) The idea was if we lower the insulin patients will lose weight, and ovulation will occur normally. And it’s not just about the weight, there may be other benefits of lowering the insulin levels that help women with PCOS. Lowering insulin levels also may lower the androgen levels.
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