The Reva Clinic News

06 Sep 2013 Date Holder

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) - The Key Factor...

PCOS, Reva Clinic, Metabolic Balance

Firstly, I just want to get my use of the acronym PCOS out of the way.  You may know I’m not a fan of acronyms, partly because I can never remember what they stand for.  If you’re like me, you sit in a meeting, the person who’s talking drops a long string of letters, and then you miss the next 10 minutes of the presentation because you’re frantically trying to decipher the letter string to work out what the hell they’re talking about.  Sound familiar?!

Well today I’m going to ignore all of the above and justify my use of the acronym PCOS, partly because it does actually happen to be one I do remember (always useful!) due to the fact that I see a lot of ladies with it, but also I think partly because of the increasing numbers of ladies that are being diagnosed, it’s become so synonymous with the disease, that people just don’t waste extra breath with the whole ‘polycysticovariansyndrome’ sentence!

Right, enough of the English lesson - did you know that PCOS is actually the most common endocrine disorder in ladies of reproductive age?  What I want to briefly explain today is a key factor that links virtually all women who have PCOS, and that’s insulin resistance.  I’ll tell you a little story about Tanya* one of our ladies with PCOS, and I’ll explain why we suggested the Metabolic Balance programme for her.  And then I’ll leave you with the most interesting bit of all – what’s happened so far!

So insulin resistance, what is it?

Here is the basic sequence that happens with a normal insulin response:

Insulin response to food

And here is what happens with insulin resistance:

Insulin resistance

So why is insulin resistance linked to PCOS?


At a basic level the following occurs:

-       High levels of insulin in the blood can stimulate the ovaries to produce excess male hormone (testosterone).

-       Excess male hormones stop the eggs in the ovaries maturing properly and so ovulation is affected.

-       These immature eggs or follicles that have had their growth stopped, appear on the ovaries and look like cysts.  Hence the name   polycystic ovaries.

-       An increase in male hormones also contributes to the other symptoms that are seen with PCOS – male hair growth, lack of periods, male fat deposits around the tummy, and acne.

Insulin resistance at certain times is completely appropriate.  In fact, we’re evolutionary adapted to become insulin resistant during times of starvation.  However, when it becomes long-term or chronic is when it can cause the development of more serious health problems.

Patient Story

Tanya* is someone who came to the Reva Clinic for treatment for PCOS, because she was struggling with dizziness and extreme fatigue after eating.  She was worried about her symptoms and she wanted to start a family, but it wasn’t happening.  Tanya was also pre-diabetic, which can be the end consequence of insulin resistance. 

We advised Tanya* to undertake the Metabolic Balance programme.  After evaluating her on our body composition scales, it was clear that her resting metabolism was very slow, her body fat mass was very high and she was classed as obese based on her BMI measurement.  The blood-test for Metabolic Balance confirmed that she was pre-diabetic.

Metabolic Balance helps to rebalance your metabolism, reduce the body’s reliance on refined carbohydrates, so it reduces sugar cravings, and it helps to get the body into ‘fat burning’ mode, rather than just relying on the glucose you get from eating.

3 Months Later

Tanya* is no longer pre-diabetic, she has gone from 37% body fat to 23%.  Her BMI has dropped to 24.  She’s lost inches around her waist and hips.  Her menstrual cycle has started to regulate, which is necessary to start a family, and we can now start work on other aspects of her health.

So that’s all for now folks! 

Watch this space for more top tips on insulin resistance.  And if you’re interested in Metabolic Balance, click here.