PCOS Acne and Insulin Resistance
Millions of women are confronted with the difficult symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Living with unwanted hair growth on their faces while losing hair on their heads, weight gain that seems irreversible, infertility, and acne that just won't go away are symptoms that can demoralize a woman. Many find themselves bouncing from diet to diet and trying every skin product available to find some relief from the attack on their bodies. Now that one of the root causes of PCOS has been identified as insulin resistance, the tables may be turning and women can gain control over their bodies and their health.
Insulin Resistance Causes PCOS Two Ways
If you are a woman with PCOS, then you are likely well aware of the insulin connection. Insulin resistance can cause PCOS by reducing the sensitivity of your cell walls inhibiting the conversion of glucose into energy. Since the glucose is not properly absorbed it remains in the blood stream causing high levels of blood sugar to be sent to the liver where it is converted into fat and stored in the body. The obvious outcome is weight gain. However, acne is also an outcome of this inappropriate action. Both of these outcomes are symptoms of PCOS.
Additionally, insulin resistance causes PCOS by raising insulin levels in the blood stream. Genetic conditions and poor lifestyle habits cause the pancreas to overproduce insulin. Since the cells are already de-sensitized they effectively reject the insulin they cannot absorb and the excess insulin stays in the blood stream where it creates an imbalance in the hormone levels of women with PCOS.
The excess insulin stimulates the ovaries to over-produce testosterone, the male hormone. This can cause interference with the release of an egg from the ovaries each month, which in turn leads to infertility. The high levels of insulin increase the conversion of androgens (male hormones) to estrogens (female hormones) upsetting the delicate balance that is considered normal. The result is cysts on the ovaries. Accompanying the internal issue is weight gain and acne.
Acne Isn't About Food, It's About Insulin Resistance
You may be among the many who have thought that acne is the result of eating too much sugar and fat - and for the woman with PCOS, eating those foods compound the problem. However, the food itself isn't the culprit. It is insulin resistance and inflammation that actually cause acne because both drive hormones into your system that lead to the very things that are attributed to the cause of acne. Since you have PCOS, your body doesn't deal with insulin properly, fat that you eat compounds the existing problem. As we said earlier, sugars that aren't processed properly are also stored as fat in the body thanks to the liver's hard work. So now you have an abundance of fat in your body, which is fighting back with insulin resistance.
Chronic Inflammation, Free Radicals and Acne
Chronic inflammation is the result of free radicals running loose in the blood stream. With PCOS you're dealing with a lot of free radical damage that leads to insulin resistance. It has now been scientifically proven that inflammation is a major cause of conditions and illnesses associated with insulin resistance, such as diabetes, metabolic syndromes and PCOS. Free radicals damage cells and these cells need to be healed. The healing process creates inflammation. Inflammation reduces insulin sensitivity of cells compounding the insulin resistance. It's a vicious circle for PCOS victims.
Inflammation is a reaction of the immune system and when the immune system has to be on guard all of the time it can't adequately deal with the bacteria that builds up in the cells. Inflammatory hormone levels are high all of the time, meaning that the response of the immune system to the bacteria that causes acne is in overdrive. The over-reaction causes a small pimple to turn into an ugly red cyst, common with acne and sadly, too common in women with PCOS.
New Diet Information to Control Blood Sugar
Controlling blood sugar and inflammation are critical to dealing with PCOS acne. The proper control often results in additional benefits, including weight loss and resumption of menses. Many women who have taken the step to make the critical lifestyle changes in their diets have seen the results - and they're thrilled.
One of the very best ways to control blood sugar and inflammation that causes PCOS acne is through diet. And, the best diet found to date is using the glycemic load guide to determine the right foods and the right amounts of them to eat. This new aspect of GI application has proven to be a boon to those with PCOS. Instead of using the standard glycemic index numbers for foods, glycemic load (GL) measures the amount of available carbohydrates in a serving of food as well as the glycemic index of that specific food. In other words, the higher the GL of a food the greater the adverse effects of that food on blood sugar. In order to get the best effect for treating insulin resistant PCOS acne and weight issues, using the GL principle for your diet will garner some excellent results.
Living with acne for the rest of your life need not be your lot. By understanding how insulin resistance affects your body, you now have the tools to combat PCOS acne and some of the other symptoms of PCOS.