Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are relatively common hormonal ailments that affect up to 4%–20% of women worldwide (1). Symptoms of PCOS and PCOD may include rapid weight gain, excessive growth of facial, irregular periods, hair loss, and acne (2). However, the symptoms don’t end there. There is a high prevalence of hormonal disorders among women of childbearing age. Unfortunately, when it comes to losing weight, PCOD and PCOS can be a barrier, making it tough to shed pounds without exhausting yourself (3). Here in this article, we have listed some reasons why these hormonal ailments make it so difficult for you to shed extra pounds. Read on!
What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
For most women of reproductive age, PCOD and PCOS is caused by an imbalance of hormones like estrogen and testosterone (4). Ovarian cyst causes hormonal imbalance due to the enlargement of one or both ovaries, which creates numerous cysts that contain liquid sacs containing a mature ovum (5). Furthermore, infertility is caused by this hormonal imbalance because it stops eggs from being released from the ovaries. Here are some of the factors that add on with PCOS that makes weight loss a challenge for you.
1. Insulin Resistance
Women who are suffering from PCOS tend to have higher insulin levels (6). Insulin is a double-duty hormone that controls blood sugar levels and promotes fat storage. As a result of elevated insulin levels in the blood, you’ll feel constantly famished and exhausted, and your body will store most of the food you eat as fat instead of using it for energy. Fat storage and oxidation are stifled by high insulin levels in the blood. Insulin resistance occurs when the pancreas secretes insulin, but the cells become unresponsive to the hormone, preventing glucose from entering the cells after circulation (7). Therefore, there is an excessive amount of glucose circulating in the blood, necessitating the constant secretion of more insulin by the pancreas. Eating a diet high in refined carbs and emulated flour foods (pastries/cakes/cold drinks) causes the pancreas to secrete insulin, which, over time, causes cells to become insulin-resistant and makes it very difficult to lose weight.
2. Magnesium Deficiency
Getting adequate amount of magnesium from foods like beans, almonds, almonds, spinach, asparagus, peanut butter, tofu, green beans, chickpeas, etc is important for keeping the hormones in check, as magnesium shortage can lead to insulin resistance and hence cause weight gain in the long run (8).
3. Higher Levels Of Androgen
Androgen (a male hormone) levels have been significantly greater in PCOS women than in healthy women (9). Abnormally high amounts of the hormone androgen have been related to belly fat. This hormone is also concerned with balding, and any signs of losing out on hair need to be checked for early symptoms of PCOS (10).
4. Chronic Inflammation
The blood flowing through your body becomes more acidic as C-reactive protein, a protein thought to be an aggressive marker, rises when they lead a hectic life, eat processed food, and compromise on quality sleep (11). As a result, CRP levels are increased, and inflammation is pushed further into the body by metabolic and hormonal processes. For example, the pancreas is constantly pumping out insulin to control blood sugar due to insulin resistance brought on by rash. We know that adrenaline is a fatty-tissue-accumulating hormone that promotes the development of new adipose tissue. Thus, inflammation causes insulin resistance, which has, in turn, caused increased insulin secretion and more excellent fat cell formation, transforming any excess calories into fat and storing it, especially around the abdomen (12).
5. Leptin Resistance
A lack of sensitivity to the hormone leptin results from PCOS (13). Leptin is the hormone that tells the brain that enough food has been consumed to induce satiety. Typically, leptin and ghrelin (the hunger hormone) work together to keep things in check, with ghrelin levels going up when the body needs more fuel and leptin sending signals that it has what it requires to function normally. Yet with PCOS, leptin activity is disrupted, and the hormone leptin fails to convey movement to the brain (14). Also, the system tends to store up calories, unsure when to quit eating. So, in addition to causing a slowing of metabolism and an increase in ghrelin, leptin resistance can cause obesity.
While PCOD and PCOS are arguably common in women of reproductive age, it is somewhat disappointing that there is no acute cure for it. Many home remedies may reduce the symptoms and offer you some relief, but not all of them are scientifically proven. Also, it is a common misconception that PCOD and PCOS affect women who are overweight only. Even though chances are low, it can affect women who are fit and maintain a proper weight. It is important to keep ourselves healthy and fit and go for frequent health checkups to keep all kinds of ailments in check from the very beginning.