The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it is believed to be associated with sex hormone balance disorders and insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance (decreased sensitivity)
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and intended to control the amount of blood sugar. It is especially effective for liver cells and muscles, causing them to absorb more glucose from the blood, where it either breaks up or generates energy, or transforms it into long-term energy reserves.
With insulin resistance, the mechanism of lowering blood sugar doesn’t work properly and the body begins to produce additional insulin.
Excess insulin in the body helps stimulate the synthesis of androgens (testosterone) in the cells of the ovaries.
In most women, the level remains within normal limits. But in women with PCOS, who have too much insulin, too much testosterone can also be produced. High testosterone levels may externally manifest themselves in excessive hair growth in undesirable areas and/or hair loss on the head.
High levels of insulin and testosterone prevent the normal development of follicles in the ovaries. This causes problems with ovulation, so there are menstrual disorders and a decrease in fertility.
Insulin resistance can also lead to weight gain. Excess fat leads to the body producing even more insulin, which can worsen symptoms. This can result in a vicious circle, so it’s important to try to minimize weight gain.
Often PCOS is a hereditary disease. Women who have close relatives (such as a mother, aunt or sister) with PCOS, are more likely to have this disease. This indicates a possible genetic link, although specific genes have not yet been identified.