PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is one of the most common hormone disorders in women and the most common cause of female infertility. New research finds that women with PCOS have a less diverse gut microbiome then healthy individuals.
The gut microbiome, comprised of 100 trillion bacteria in the human G.I. tract, is increasingly being linked to a wide variety of diseases and conditions.
In a study of 163 women, researchers found that those women with PCOS were found to have lower diversity in their gut microbiome. When compared with the healthy women, those with PCOS also had higher levels of serum testosterone, and higher levels of serum luteinizing hormone and increased ratios of luteinizing hormone to follicle stimulating hormone.
Scientists are trying to determine if these hormone imbalances are driving the microbial composition of the gut, or if the gut bacteria themselves are responsible for shifting the hormones and contributing to the metabolic disturbances in women with PCOS (who also have insulin resistance).
Finding innovative ways to help restore the gut microbiome may offer a potential new treatment to help treat PCOS and its associated metabolic and hormonal issues.
Strategies such as increasing both soluble and insoluble fiber in the diet, increasing the variety and quantity of fermented food consumption, having a number of different prebiotic foods, and reducing stress are all known to help improve the diversity and robustness of the gut microbiome.
As more research uncovers how the microbiome affects every aspect of the body, it’s increasingly clear that having a healthy microbiome is an essential part of having an overall healthy body and mind.