Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects 5-10% women of reproductive age. The true cause of PCOS is not known but experts believe it is due to the excess production of androgens-the male sex hormone. Although all women produce some amount of androgens but an excess of it causes irregular or prolonged bleeding, infertility, and abnormal body and facial hair growth.
It is also seen that women with PCOS are usually obese or overweight and are advised by health experts to lose weight in order to improve their symptoms. Studies have shown that even a drop of 10% of body weight helps to relieve some of the symptoms of PCOS and this where their fight begins. Women with PCOS battle hard and go to all extremes to lose weight but nothing works for them. Although it is not impossible to reduce weight with PCOS but it requires actions plan different from the normal weight loss plan.
What makes it so difficult to lose weight with PCOS? Let's have a look:
Insulin is secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas and is said to play an important role in weight control.
Insulin is responsible for channelizing glucose into the muscles. In case sugar is more than that required by the body it is involved in a process that helps convert and store is as fat to be utilized later when needed.
In PCOS these cells somehow dysfunction and release more insulin than required. High insulin levels signal the body that sugar is in abundance. As a result, the body starts storing this sugar as fat instead of using it as a fuel.
Therefore, controlling the insulin levels is the biggest key to controlling weight in PCOS.
It is seen that women with PCOS have a slower metabolic rate. This means they burn fewer calories for the same amount of work compared to others with a normal metabolic rate.
Slower metabolism in PCOS is primarily due to the amount of body fat these women tend to carry. Several studies have proved that metabolic rate and the body fat content are inversely related i.e. higher the body fat, lower will be the metabolic rate.
A number of hormones like leptin, cholecystokinin play a role in hunger and appetite control. These hormones signal the brain when to stop eating.
In PCOS, women have altered signals which make them feel constantly hungry even after having sufficient calories. This leads to overeating and binge eating making them gain weight instead of losing it.
With patience, efforts and positive outlook nothing is impossible. With a wise and proper selection of food to control insulin levels, increase metabolism and manipulate hunger hormones you call still achieve what seems to be impossible.