Last updated:10-20-2008
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Insulin Resistance

One of the major problems of PCOS is the tendency to develop insulin resistance in muscles. Insulin resistance means that you have reduced sensitivity to insulin.

If muscle sensitivity to insulin falls, impaired ability to absorb sugar from the blood to muscles, and blood sugar rises. Pancreas will be notified of the missing sugar absorption in cells and produce to offset increased amounts of insulin (hyperinsulinaemia), so the sugar can be admitted anyway. This means that insulin-resistant PCO patients always have a little elevated blood sugar and slightly elevated insulin. However, it is not always high enough so that it is perceived as unusual f


The increased amount of insulin causes of imbalances in the body:

  • The liver is disturbed in its production of SHBG.

  • When SHBG is allowed a greater amount of active testosterone in the blood. That is elevated androgens.

  • The high insulin increases the output of the degradation of glycogendepoter because it believes the lack of sugar absorption due to shortage of sugar, which causes increased blood sugar.

  • The insulin stimulates admission to the increased quantity of sugar into fat tissue, especially around the abdomen.

  • The insulin to stimulate amounted producing cells in the ovaries, which means that androgens released from the ovary to the bloodstream, while ægudviklingen stalls.


The increased amount of androgens from the liver and ovaries is converted to estrogen in fatty tissue - and the more fat tissue there is, the higher the conversion to estrogen.

These estrogens interfere with the expulsion of pituitary hormones, and thus the normal menstrual cycle.

The typical image of PCO is therefore that ægblærerne fine start to grow, but when they reach a size of perhaps 10-12 mm, they halt and disrupted ovulation. The small ægblærer accumulate in place and are on the same stage in a long time, until they finally go to the grounds and some of the cells are stored as stroma (tissue) in egg stick.

As a result of the failure to ovulate, there does not menstruate on time. In fact, it may take several months between menstrual and among some women who do not menstruate, why this should begin hormone pills, for example. Perlutex or the contraceptive pill.

The elevated androgens are also to blame for that, as PCO are prone to acne (impure skin), then amounted to stimulate the sebaceous glands.

Androgens are also stimulates hårsækkene and causing hirsutism, ie. hair growth in areas that otherwise are reserved for men. There may thus be seen increased hair growth in the beard area ranging from dunagtig growth for direct beard like hairiness, increased hairiness on their feet, pubesbehåring, which brings in a peak up to the navel and the hair around the nipples were.

The tendency to thin hair or hair loss from the scalp, alopecia, which is otherwise often seen in men, due also amounted to.

What are overweight with PCO to do?

Not everyone with PCOS are overweight. In fact, more than 20% thin or normal strong. The fact is, however, that if you have PCOS, it has been easier to take on, and you become overweight, it may be just what is triggering more symptoms associated with the syndrome. Thus it is often the very physically active PCO girls PCOS erupt when putting the sport on the shelf and gaining weight.
If you are overweight and have low physical activity, it may in itself cause for insulin resistance - even if you do not have PCO because:

  1. From the fatty tissue extracted substances (TNF = Tumor necrosis factor) which inhibits insulin sensitivity in muscle cells. And the more fat, the greater the inhibition.
  2. When muscle activity secreted substances (IL-6 = interleukin-6), which has a stimulating effect on insulin sensitivity. This missing if you do not use their muscles.

This also means that you can become insulin resistant, if you are thin and inactive, and we can prevent insulin resistance, if you are overweight and at the same time grow much exercise. If you are overweight, there is also a major transformation of androgens to estrogen in fatty tissue. The more fat you have the greater the conversion of androgens to estrogens and the greater disruption of hormonal balance - (LH / FSH ratio).
The reason for that, as PCO-patient has increased tendency to develop obesity can be caused by several things:

  • The reduced sensitivity to insulin makes that produced more insulin. Since insulin resistance does not apply tissue, it will stimulate high insulin absorption of sugar into fat tissue and the sugar is converted into more fat deposits.

  • The elevated androgen stimulates especially the fat tissue located in the abdominal cavity between the intestines (the visceral fat tissue) to the extra fat accumulation. It comes from increased waist / hip ratio, that is the apple shape. This also explains why normal women with PCO powerful tend to accumulate all excess fat around the waist.

  • Insulin is important for a normal appetite regulation driven up from the brain, so that a high insulin gives feeling of satiety.

  • Insulin resistance in the brain can cause brain becomes less sensitive to insulin concentration, and thus weaken the feeling of satiety, thus feel more hunger than the body needs and therefore develop obesity.

As it happens, that not everyone with insulin resistance in muscles, which also is insulin resistant in the brain, perhaps explaining to some. 20% of women with PCOS are thin or normal weight?


Source: PCO Association,


This article is formed on the Health Guide on 16.09.06


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