Approximately 1 in 10 women of childbearing age experiences Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is the leading cause of infertility, among the many other symptoms this condition creates. A growing body of evidence shows PCOS is linked to other health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, and others. In the last few years, fatty liver has also been listed in connection with PCOS. More than ever, those diagnosed need to be vigilant about self-care and overall wellbeing. By falling in love with your health now, you can head off medical issues later.
Why PCOS and Fatty Liver are Linked
PCOS is the acronym for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and is an imbalance of the reproductive hormones. Higher than normal male hormone (androgens) and insulin levels are the top factors in developing PCOS. The imbalance causes issues in the ovaries that affect how the eggs develop and when they are released. Infertility, ovarian cysts, excess hair, weight gain, and acne are common signs.
When you look at the connection of PCOS to other health conditions like diabetes, fatty liver, and heart disease, the answer is in the risk factors. Fatty liver is highly prevalent in women with PCOS due to the following factors:
- Being overweight
- High triglycerides
- Elevated LDL cholesterol level
- Excessive consumption of fat, sugar, and refined foods
- Lack of exercise
The factors listed above can cause the unhealthy accumulation of fat cells in the liver. Though a healthy liver will contain some fat, too much fat can lead to fatty liver disease. Lifestyle changes must occur along with early testing and intervention to prevent the progression of NAFLD, NASH, liver cirrhosis, and failure.
You ARE at Risk with PCOS
If you have PCOS, talk with your doctor about regular screenings to check your liver’s health. In most cases, liver disease can be prevented or even reversed if caught early enough with healthier living. You can love your health by starting the changes now. Some examples include:
- Exercising at least 150 minutes a week at a moderate pace.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Avoiding excess consumption of foods that are processed, high in sugar, and high in unhealthy fats. Instead, go for more vegetables, lean meats, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and are liver-friendly.
- Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Keep chronic conditions managed.
The connection between fatty liver and PCOS is still relatively new. Clinical research studies continue to help us learn more about the relationships between the two conditions. The knowledge we gain allows us to design better ways to detect, prevent, and treat PCOS and fatty liver. Arizona Liver Health is seeking participants to join studies looking into potential new options for women with PCOS and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). To learn more, call (480) 470-4000, or visit our website.