Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is an insufficient response of body tissues to this hormone, whose primary function is to control glucose levels in the blood. Having high insulin levels or insulin resistance is not the same as having diabetes. It is, however, a possible cause of the disease.

Insulin resistance affects ovulation, fertilization and embryo implantation which can cause first trimester miscarriages and infertility.

Most commonly used insulin resistance medications are metformin and glitazones, which can be highly effective if complemented by an exercise and diet plan, since insulin resistance is usually corrected and fertility is restored in patients that slim down.

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is an insufficient response of body tissues to this hormone, whose primary function is to control glucose levels in the blood. In patients with this disease it is common that insulin levels increase to compensate resistance. This is good because it allows blood sugar level normalization; however, insulin excess causes problems in other tissues.

Insulin resistance affects ovulation, fertilization and embryo implantation, which can cause first trimester miscarriages and infertility.

It is important to mention that having high insulin or insulin resistance is not the same as having diabetes. It is, however, a possible cause of the disease.

Elevated blood insulin levels are common in polycystic ovary syndrome patients. In excess, this hormone can cause over stimulation of the ovaries and induce them to produce greater amounts of androgen (or male hormones) which, in turn, prevent ovulation.

Main insulin resistance symptoms

Insulin resistance (or high insulin blood levels) symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Irresistible afternoon urge to eat sweets
  • Unwanted hair growth in some face and abdomen areas
  • Acne
  • Armpit and neck increased skin pigmentation
  • Obesity

Insulin resistance is also associated with high cholesterol levels, diabetes, increased blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular disease development.

Insulin resistance causes

Insulin resistance causes are not exactly known, but the risk of developing it can be increased by:

  • Obesity
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Anti-hormone receptor antibodies
  • Drugs such as cortisone, which inhibit insulin effect
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome

There is also a close relationship between insulin resistance and fat metabolism, (particularly abdominal fat). People with a tendency to accumulate abdominal fat may unknowingly have insulin resistance, worsening their disease by consuming an excess of sugar and carbs and not having a proper physical activity routine.

How is insulin resistance diagnosed?

The most commonly used tests to diagnose insulin resistance are a fasting blood insulin test and a blood glucose test.

At Ingenes we have the required infrastructure to carry out these tests.

Treatments to achieve pregnancy in insulin resistant patients

Most commonly used insulin resistance medications are metformin and glitazones, which can be highly effective if complemented by an exercise and diet plan. In patients that slim down insulin resistance is usually corrected and a rapid improvement of all symptoms is usually seen: decreased acne, menstrual period regularization and a significant improvement in ovulation, egg quality, fertilization and embryo implantation rates, thus reducing the likelihood of spontaneous miscarriages.

Patients suffering from insulin resistance should not carbs or sweets after noon. This is important since insulin works poorly when evening approaches and in response to meals, it rises higher than in does during daytime. By stopping carbohydrate and sugar consumption from the midday on, insulin stops rising and therefore it does not affect the patient’s reproductive system nor interferes with pregnancy.

Moreover, and given that female fertility declines dramatically with age, it is recommended that insulin resistant women over 35 consider in vitro fertilization ( IVF ), which offers extremely high success rates by making possible to fertilize the patient’s eggs under controlled laboratory conditions to generate embryos, which are selected to place the best quality ones back into the woman’s uterus.