Are you confused about your diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome because you are lean? A common misconception is that everyone with PCOS is overweight, but this is not always the case. In fact, up to half of women diagnosed with PCOS are of normal weight; some are even underweight.
Many women think menopausal symptoms are caused solely by the drop in estrogen, when in fact, these symptoms are the result of a complex, unbalanced condition of these hormones relative to each other.
Although Insulin Resistance is generally agreed to be an underlying cause of PCOS, there is disagreement in the medical community about whether thin women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome suffer from Insulin Resistance to the same degree as their heavier counterparts.
It’s important to understand that the array of PCOS symptoms like irregular, painful periods, infertility, elevated testosterone levels, and Insulin Resistance among others, can be highly individualized. Even in cases where insulin levels are normal, a woman’s ovaries can still be stimulated by hormonal sensitivities to over-produce testosterone.
Studies have shown that Insulin Resistance can be present in both lean and obese women with PCOS, indicating to researchers there might be other factors affecting the imbalance in the insulin/glucose mechanism. And although doctors might not want to use the term “Insulin Resistance” in the absence of obesity, nonetheless, thin women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome have higher insulin levels in their blood than those without PCOS, as pointed out by a 2004 article, “Insulin Sensitivity in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome,” published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.1
To further complicate the matter, oral contraceptives are commonly prescribed to women with PCOS, regardless of their weight, a practice that raises the risk of weight gain. Increased weight has been positively linked to an increased risk for Insulin Resistance as well as many of the other problems associated with glucose and insulin metabolism such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Similar Health Risks
It is very clear to experts that Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome symptoms in lean women present increased health risks. In a study published in The Endocrinology Journal in October 2004, 2 researchers found that a group of lean women with PCOS showed an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and infertility when compared to a matched, control group of healthy women without the disorder.
It appears that women with “lean PCOS” have much in common with their heavier counterparts. They both exhibit, in varying degrees, the symptoms of elevated testosterone, Insulin Resistance, and excess insulin levels in their blood.
This was confirmed in a study reported in a 2005 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism concluding that these women might be just as at-risk for cardiovascular disease as heavier women.3
Fortunately, the symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can be managed in both lean and heavy women. Healthy whole foods, a tailored system of nutritional supplements, and physical activity can help women with PCOS and can be a doorway to a better life for women of all sizes who have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
You may be interested in some of our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on PCOS and the Insulite PCOS System.
- What are the symptoms of PCOS and how do they relate to Insulin Resistance?
- How will the Insulite PCOS System help decrease androgens?
- Why does the Insulite PCOS System recommend a regular exercise program to reverse PCOS?