PCOS and Inflammation: It’s Time to Take Action

Inflammation is not a new concept in the medical world but it does seem to have become a buzzword amongst health professionals in recent years. So, what is it and why should you be concerned about the link between PCOS and inflammation?

PCOS and inflammationWhat is Inflammation?

There are many different kinds of inflammation but, in short, it’s the body’s response to injury or infection. This could mean anything from a cut, sunburn, or extreme temperatures to viruses and bacteria. Signs of inflammation are redness, swelling, heat and pain. In extreme cases, it can mean a loss of function of the injured or infected area.

But inflammation isn’t always a bad thing. It’s simply your body’s immune system fighting off an attack, in whatever form it presents itself. It’s a natural self-protecting response. For example, if you cut yourself, the swelling helps localise the injury and prevent foreign bacteria entering your bloodstream.

Chronic Inflammation

The bad kind of inflammation – chronic inflammation – is more long term and can cause a variety of illnesses and chronic conditions such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and fibromyalgia. This can be caused by: failing to get rid of what was causing the original inflammation; the immune system attacking healthy tissue because it mistakes it for harmful pathogens; or an ongoing, low intensity irritant.

PCOS and Inflammation

Recent research suggests that chronic inflammation could be a cause rather than effect of PCOS, and that the constant low-grade inflammation may stimulate the ovaries to produce androgens. Inflammation can also be a cause of insulin resistance¹, which in turn is a cause of PCOS in some women. One thing that’s clear is that obesity increases inflammation so, yet again, weight loss becomes an important factor in reversing your PCOS.

How to Reduce Inflammation

There are many lifestyle changes you can make to reduce chronic inflammation:

  • Getting rid of or minimising toxins (environmental and food toxins)
  • Reducing stress (long-term stress triggers inflammation in the body)
  • Diet, supplements and exercise – including eliminating food allergies or sensitivities

I had the opportunity to meet The PCOS Nutritionist recently and what she had to say about PCOS and inflammation, and especially finding the right diet and supplements for you, was an eye-opener that I can’t cover in this blog post. But I urge you to go and read her blog and check out her new podcast when it’s released. Without doubt, more than ever before, it’s important that you don’t look for a “one size fits all” diet and lifestyle.

 

¹ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1483173/

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