PCOS and its Complications in Teenagers

The primary cause of PCOS in teens is obesity. A poor diet composing mainly of refined, processed and junk foods and little or no time for exercise, results in weight gain which leads to insulin dysfunction and abnormal glucose tolerance ea

October 30, 2017

The primary cause of PCOS in teens is obesity. A poor diet composing mainly of refined, processed and junk foods and little or no time for exercise, results in weight gain which leads to insulin dysfunction and abnormal glucose tolerance early in life. PCOS in teens is often diagnosed when one or more of the following symptoms occurs:

Irregular Periods:

The most common issues for the teens with PCOS will have more than one period a month. Others could have a gap of more than 35-40 days between periods. For many teens, PCOS can also lead to heavy and prolonged periods or menorrhagia, causing heavy menstrual flow that lasts longer than 7 days.

Excessive Period Pain:

A little bit of pain and cramping is normal during periods. But, excessive pain that makes everyday activities such as going to school or playing sports difficult could be a sign of PCOS.

Cystic Acne:

Because of natural hormonal changes related to puberty, acne is common during teenage. But PCOS acne is a more severe form of general acne.
Some other common symptoms of PCOS in teens are:

  • Thinning Hair
  • Dark patches of skin
  • Unwanted Hair Growth
  • Unexplained Weight Gain

Essential Tips For Teens With PCOS:

The root cause of PCOS which are insulin dysfunction, inflammation and excess androgens may not be addressed by birth control pills and metformin. Rather these may cause many side effects. The main goals of treatment is to regulate periods, reduce androgen and insulin levels, and improve symptoms related to skin and hair. All of this can be achieved by eating right food, losing weight, being active, and replacing lost nutrients with high-quality supplements and foods.

Eat A Balanced Diet:

One of the best ways to normalize insulin levels is a healthy PCOS diet. When insulin levels are reduced, androgen levels will drop and periods will become more regulated.
The the right PCOS Diet is to

  • Eliminate all refined and processed foods from your diet which means junk foods has to be avoided.
  • Eat more fiber-rich vegetables and fruits, along with lean proteins.
  • Cut back on dairy as it can worsen PCOS for some teens.
  • Add healthy fats like grass-fed butter, coconut oil, ghee, extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, fatty fish, nuts and seeds. 
  • Add gut-friendly probiotics to the diet. This is particularly important if you had given antibiotics to your kids when they were young.

These dietary changes are a long-term solution for improving insulin sensitivity, helping in weight loss, and managing other PCOS symptoms like acne, excess facial hair, and hair fall when coupled with regular exercise.
You need to make sure that every meal and snack includes a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fats to help manage blood sugar levels. make sure your kid gets enough nutrients for a proper growth.

Lead An Active Lifestyle:

Insulin sensitivity can be improved by staying active and moving your body. Because extreme levels of exercise with calorie restriction can interfere with growth of the kid with PCOD, an extensive workout or gym sessions are not advisable. The recommended physical activities for the teen with PCOS are

  •     Playing sports at school
  •     Joining a dance class
  •     Cycling or walking to school
  •     Joining the swimming club

The aim is to stay active throughout the day with moderate physical activity levels, suited for their age.

Supplements that Can Help:

It is advisable to add lots of omega-3 rich foods like fish or fish oil supplements, nuts, flaxseeds, and olive oil to the diet of teen with PCOS as omega-3 fatty acids can be very beneficial for reducing insulin and triglyceride levels. They also aid in regulating hormone levels.
Inositol is another recommended suppliment that helps in reducing insulin resistance and improving ovulatory function. Dietary supplements like Aloe Vera, flaxseed, fenugreek, laxseed, licorice root and fish oils can also improve insulin sensitivity. These can naturally stabilize insulin levels, so that diet and exercise efforts can help her loose weight. A teenager with PCOS is also deficient in important vitamins and minerals like Vitamin D, calcium, zinc, magnesium, manganese, chromium, copper, Vitamin B, Vitamin B12, and essential fatty acids. These nutritional imbalances can be corrected with the right foods, and supplements.

Complications of PCOS In Teens:

Girls with PCOS have an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and abnormalities in glucose tolerance, making timely treatment very difficult. They have an increased risk of developing health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infertility, later on in life. A PCOS teenager with unchecked insulin dysfunction could develop prediabetes or type 2 diabetes very early in life which can increase the risk of a number of other health problems, such as heart disease and fatty liver disease.
Early detection of PCOS in teens can be manageable with proper treatment and the complications can be avoided.