I thought today I’d introduce to you some of the PCOS players. I normally refer to hormones as one large group, so today I’ll break things down a little. When you go get your blood tests done, here is what doctors are looking for:
- Follicle Stimulating hormone (Fsh): this is a gonadotropin produced in the pituitary gland to stimulate follicles to grow.
- Lutenizing hormone(LH): this is also a gonadotropin produced in the pituitary gland, and it triggers ovulation
- Testosterone ( the ‘male’ hormone): this is present in women as well, and and excess of testosterone is the reason for skin and hair symptoms as well as increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Sex hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG): this binds to testosterone to make it usable by the body. If you don’t have enough of it then the excess testosterone is left to roam free in the body and can cause damage. Low levels of SHBG are linked to insulin resistance.
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEAS): androgens produced by the adrenal gland.
- Androstenedione: produced in the ovaries and by the adrenal gland.
- Estrogen: the ‘female’ hormone, but its also found in men!
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH): helps to control your metabolism
How are all of these hormones connected you ask? I think of it sort of like the game of telephone we used to play as kids. It starts in the hypothalamus which calls the pituitary gland and tells it to start making FSH and LH, those hormones then call up the ovaries and tell them to start making the various sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen. And here is where the first kink in the line happens. Ovaries seem to be extremely sensitive to insulin, and because insulin resistant women have an excess of it floating around in their bodies, their ovaries are greatly impacted. Insulin seems to trigger the ovaries to produce too much testosterone and estrogen. Also, as mentioned above, SHBG is sensitive to insulin and its response is to produce less than it should. Once the ovaries call the hypothalamus to let them know they’ve done their part (albeit, the wrong way) the cycle starts again, only this time the message has been changed. The response to this change is the body trying to play catch-up. LH is increased as a response to non ovulation, and FSH can’t keep up with the new demand for follicle growth so it slows down in production. Both of these hormones normally help convert excess androgens to estrogen, but because they aren’t being produced in balanced amounts the androgens are just left to pile up, and the cycle continues, never quit able to keep up with the constant change in hormone levels.
Although researchers haven’t yet been able to pinpoint the exact reason why, this all seems to boil down to insulin. The biggest hurdle to research, though, is the fact that some women with PCOS don’t have insulin resistance, so why do they also have all these same problems with their hormones? There is still alot to be learned about PCOS, insulin and hormones, but for now, that (hopefully) gives you a little idea of who is causing all this trouble! For me, personally, what I take from all of this is that I NEED to control my insulin since it seems to be the culprit that kinks the chain and changes the message. Others may interpret the information differently, but I think we can all agree on one thing: The goal of reversing PCOS symptoms can be acheived by maintaining BALANCE. Get those hormones back in balance and your symptoms should dissipate. (Remember, this doesn’t mean you’re cured, it just means your in CONTROL!!!)
Now to appease the brain cells I just overloaded with info, here are some more yummy oatmeal recipes, complete with nutritional info!!! (From the Recipes for Gals in Figure and Bodybuilding facebook group – PS Jenn Grothe, who runs the group also has a great book out called 75 Ways to Love Your Oatmeal and Other Treats, Tips and Tricks!!! It’s full of yummy recipes. Her group emphasizes eating properly balanced, clean meals for women who are in figure and bodybuilding competitions, but the fact that she balances alot of her meals with carbs and proteins means that they are good for us PCOSers to. I’m not a fan of protein powders or the sugar free syrups she uses, so I omit them when I can, but for the most part her recipes are great, and if nothing else, at least give me an idea of how I can clean-up a recipe of my own.
Peanut Butter and Jam Oatmeal
Makes 1 serving
* 1 tsp Organic Peanut Butter Creamy
* 1 tbsp Strawberry Preserve, Sugar-free
* 1/2 cup Quaker Oats Old-fashioned
* 1/4 cup Egg Whites, 100% Liquid
* 1/8 tsp Cinnamon, Ground
* 1/2 scoop Vp2 Protein Powder
* 1/6 cup Strawberries
* water as needed
* Splenda as needed
Cook oatmeal per instructions. While stirring, add 1/4 cup egg whites. Cook and stir til done. Stir in 1 T jelly. Stir in 1 t peanut butter. Heat through. Add a little splenda to taste. Before serving mix in 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder. Stir again. Pour into bowl. Top with chopped strawberry and dash cinnamon.
Total Fat 7.18g
Total Carbohydrate 35.45g
Dietary Fiber 4.99g
Est. Percent of Calories from:
Baked Raspberry Cream Cheese Oatmeal
Makes 1 serving
1/2 cup dry oats
1/8 t. baking powder
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 c. fresh or frozen raspberries
5 t. fat-free cream cheese (cut directly into oatmeal)
1 cup water
2 T. liquid egg whites
sugar substitute to taste
* lite Almond Milk optional
Mix the above in a sprayed oven-proof bowl. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Top with milk (Almond, Soy, or Skim).
Total Fat 3.33g
Saturated Fat 0.75g
Total Carbohydrate 34.58g
Dietary Fiber 5.25g
Enjoy, and Take care everyone 🙂
I’m Happy, I’m Healthy, I’m Fertile, ttfn, xo