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PCOS and gut health: 5 unhealthy practices that can cause hormonal imbalance

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PCOD – a syndrome common in most women, affects three hormones, namely androgens, insulin and progesterone. The gut microbiota plays a major role in the reproductive endocrine system throughout a woman’s life by interacting with estrogen, androgens, insulin and other hormones. It is the imbalance in the gut microbe composition that can lead to several diseases and conditions such as pregnancy complications, PCOS, endometriosis, and others. When there is an imbalance in the ratio of the good to the harmful bacteria, the condition is called Gut Dysbiosis.

Certain unhealthy practices can disrupt the delicate balance of the gut microbiome, leading to hormonal imbalances and a range of symptoms associated with PCOS. (Shutterstock)

Those who suffer from PCOS have a permeable gut lining which means that harmful toxins can leak in as the gut barrier is compromised. Both dysbiosis and intestinal permeability are gut conditions found in those who have PCOS. (Also read: PCOS and hormone profiling: How does it work? )

Tanisha Bawa, Certified Nutrition Coach, Founder of TAN|365, shared with HT Lifestyle, five gut practices that can lead to PCOS.

1. A diet which has a high glycaemic load

A diet high in sugars and refined carbs causes a spike in blood sugar levels. When the blood sugar rises, insulin is secreted from the pancreas wherein the sugar is carried forward to be used as energy. However, when you face constant sugar spikes due to over consumption of sugars and refined grains, the cells responsible for this conversion become insulin resistant leading to PCOS.

2. Diet which lacks good quality fats

Hormones are produced from fats. Therefore, consuming good-quality fats is essential for our hormonal health. Thus, if your diet is devoid of fats, your reproductive hormones take a hit as well.

3. Use of birth control

A lot of women use oral contraceptives as their first line of action. This causes a spike in the androgen levels when you get off the pill. However, the use of contraceptives reduces the connection between your pituitary gland & ovaries. Therefore, when women get off the pill, it takes time to rebuild this connection leading to PCOS.

4. High-Stress levels or chronic stress

If your stress levels are high, it increases the secretion of cortisol and DHEA which can lead to adrenal PCOS.

5. Inflammatory diet

Consumption of sugars, refined carbs, inflammatory oils, or lack of good quality sleep can cause severe inflammation in your gut lining which leads to poor hormonal health causing issues like PCOS.

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