Why is this blog important to you if you have PCOS? Because more than half of women with PCOS develop type 2 diabetes by age 40. It is important to know how PCOS and diabetes are linked in order to live your best life. Women with PCOS are often insulin resistant; their bodies can make insulin but can’t use it effectively, increasing their risk for type 2 diabetes.
If you’ve just found us and are looking into PCOS, you might be wondering, how do I even know if I have PCOS? PCOS is an imbalance of reproductive hormones in women and it can happen as soon as your first period. This hormonal imbalance is characterized by having too many androgens (male hormones which both women and men produce) in the body. When these hormones become imbalanced it can affect your ovulation and menstrual cycles. For instance, with PCOS, the egg may not develop as it should or it may not be released during ovulation.
PCOS can cause missed or irregular menstrual periods. These irregular periods and lack of ovulation, can lead to Infertility. Women often (but don’t always) develop cysts (small fluid-filled sacs) in the ovaries.
Sometimes symptoms are clear while other times they are less obvious. Often women find out they have PCOS when they are trying to conceive. Other times symptoms like the inability to lose weight, Irregular periods or no periods, higher than normal levels of male hormones (that may result in excess hair on the face and body, acne, or thinning scalp hair) or getting an ultra sound and finding out you have multiple small cysts on your ovaries can be just some of the giveaways.
Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
Though there are three main types of diabetes – type 1, type 2 and gestational. If you have PCOS and are worried about developing diabetes, you’ll be looking at the possibility of developing type 2 diabetes. As well as an increased risk for gestational diabetes during pregnancy as it is also associated with insulin resistance and high blood sugar.
Currently it is believed that insulin resistance, specifically, plays a role in causing PCOS. Insulin resistance occurs when excess glucose in the blood reduces the ability for cells to absorb and use blood sugar for energy. The pancreas works increasingly hard to release enough insulin to overcome the body’s resistance and keep blood sugar levels down. Though as time goes on, the pancreas can no longer keep up and this leads to the the development of type 2 diabetes.
What are the tell tale signs of diabetes?
If you feel like you are having any of the following symptoms, please see a doctor for a blood sugar test.
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Unintended weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Symptoms from type 2 diabetes often go unnoticed for several years and there are some cases where symptoms are completely unnoticed. Type 2 diabetes usually starts as an adult, though now it is being found in children and teens.
Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
Since most women don’t find out they have PCOS until they are trying to conceive it is possible this next bit of information is extra important. Gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) usually shows up in the middle of the pregnancy and typically doesn’t have any symptoms. If you’re pregnant, you should be tested for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy so you can make changes if needed to protect your health and your baby’s health.
Fortunately, a carefully balanced diet — with or without medication — can help manage blood sugar levels and prevent complications.
How do I know if I’m at risk for gestational diabetes?
Answer these questions to decide if this could be a possible concern:
- Am I older than 25?
- Have I had gestational diabetes in prior pregnancies?
- Is my body mass index over 25?
- Do I have family members who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?
- Do I have PCOS?
If you answered YES to any of these risk factors, you should mention to you doctor that you’d like to be tested for gestational diabetes.
While the condition usually resolves after giving birth, a woman with gestational diabetes is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Lifestyle Modifications and Treatment
The recommended lifestyle interventions include:
- Taking two and a half hours each week of moderate physical activity like brisk walking or hiking, rollerskating or swimming.
- Losing weight gradually to achieve a healthy body mass index
- Replacing refined carbohydrates with wholegrain foods and increase intake of vegetables and other foods high in dietary fibre
- Reducing the amount of saturated fat & processed foods in your diet
- Since women with PCOS tend to have an enhanced body response to stress, finding exercises that are good for the mind and body can be extremely beneficial. Mind-body exercises like yoga, Pilates, and tai chi can help not only burn calories, but also reduce stress levels that worsen your PCOS symptoms.
Making good lifestyle choices is the best way to get your blood glucose levels in the desired range. However there are also other things to help like managing your PCOS symptoms with the right nutritious food and supplements like S’moo. S’moo is an all in one Hormone Balancing Supplement. Made to help Women with hormonal imbalances such as PCOS and can help reduce symptoms and regulate insulin resistance with a blend of 7 vitamins/minerals/herbs that you can learn more about here: https://blog.thesmooco.com/why-smoo-makes-you-feel-so-good/
Sources : Obstetric and Neonatal Outcome in PCOS with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus; Definition & Facts of Gestational Diabetes ; Symptoms & Causes of Gestational Diabetes.
Tests & Diagnosis for Gestational Diabetes ;Managing & Treating Gestational Diabetes.