September is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Awareness Month, and if you’re dealing with this condition, you're well aware of the challenges it can bring to your daily life.
PCOS is notorious for causing missed periods, weight gain, acne, and unwanted hair growth, but today, our team of doctors and certified nurse midwives are focusing on a less-discussed complication of PCOS: the increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
That’s right; women with PCOS are four times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, which means monitoring your blood sugar is even more important if you know you have PCOS.
Here’s a closer look at the importance of managing your blood sugar levels if you have PCOS, courtesy of our team here at Westover Hills Women’s Health in San Antonio, Texas.
The connection: PCOS, diabetes, and blood sugar
Like diabetes, PCOS is an endocrine disorder. This means that PCOS is often the result of a hormone imbalance when an endocrine gland produces too much or little of needed hormones.
When your hormones are out of balance, they can disrupt many different bodily functions and processes. In the case of PCOS, you may have excess androgen hormones. Excess androgen hormones in women can lead to insulin resistance.
When you develop insulin resistance, your body can make insulin, but it doesn’t use it effectively, and when that happens, your blood sugar levels rise and your risk for Type 2 diabetes increases.
PCOS and blood sugar levels are closely intertwined. When your blood sugar levels spike and fall dramatically, it can wreak havoc on your hormonal balance, which is already disrupted due to PCOS. Take charge of your blood sugar levels to manage your PCOS symptoms.
Managing blood sugar
If you have PCOS, monitoring your blood sugar can help you identify lifestyle modifications you need to make to help reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. These lifestyle modifications can help you manage your blood sugar levels:
Make informed food choices
You play a pivotal role in managing your blood sugar levels through your dietary choices. Opt for complex carbohydrates like 100% whole grains, vegetables, and legumes, and take a pass on all refined sugars, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods.
Choosing healthier foods helps to regulate your blood sugar, provide a steadier source of energy, and reduce insulin resistance often associated with PCOS.
Prioritize regular physical activity
Engaging in regular exercise helps keep your blood sugar levels in check. Your workout doesn't have to be intense for it to provide benefits. Even moderate activities like walking, biking, or yoga can make a significant difference.
Physical activity improves your body's insulin sensitivity and promotes stable blood sugar levels.
Water is your best friend when it comes to managing blood sugar levels. Hydration supports your body's natural processes, including regulating blood sugar. Opt for water over sugary beverages, like blended coffee drinks, carbonated soft drinks, or even juice.
Monitor your levels
Knowing your blood sugar levels can empower you with information about how your body responds to different foods and activities. Use a blood glucose monitor to track patterns and make informed decisions about your lifestyle choices, especially if you have prediabetes.
Talk to us about your PCOS
You're not on this journey alone. We provide personalized guidance on managing your PCOS, which can help reduce your risk of unwanted side effects of high androgen levels. For example, combination birth control pills can reduce your androgen production.
The bottom line: We’re here for you
Living with PCOS requires a multi-faceted approach, and managing your blood sugar levels is a cornerstone of that approach. By making conscious food choices, staying active, and collaborating with our team, you're taking proactive steps toward a healthier and happier life.
This PCOS Awareness Month, take a stand against PCOS and call one of our San Antonio, Texas, offices, or use our online tool any time day or night.