Why do most of my female TMJD patients have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a set of symptoms due to elevated androgens (male hormones) in women. Signs and symptoms of PCOS include irregular or no menstrual periods, heavy periods, excess body and facial hair, acne, pelvic pain, difficulty getting pregnant, and patches of thick, darker, velvety skin.
But, what does this gynaecological syndrome have to do with your jaw joint and more importantly the degeneration of it?
Insulin Resistance (IR) is one of the major risk factors for PCOS. IR is a pathological condition in which cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin. The body produces insulin when glucose starts to be released into the bloodstream from the digestion of carbohydrates in the diet. Normally this insulin response triggers glucose being taken into body cells, to be used for energy, and inhibits the body from using fat for energy. The concentration of glucose in the blood decreases as a result, staying within the normal range even when a large amount of carbohydrates is consumed. When the body produces insulin under conditions of insulin resistance, the cells are resistant to the insulin and are unable to use it as effectively, leading to high blood sugar. Beta cells in the pancreas subsequently increase their production of insulin, further contributing to a high blood insulin level. This often remains undetected and can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes or latent autoimmune diabetes of adults.
IR leads to low level of inflammation in your body which causes PCOS as well as TMJ degeneration. The excess insulin can cause inflammation in pretty much every organ in your body. This inflammation can lead to other symptoms , like high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia and even cancer!
The result of an increase in inflammation systemically means MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases) are activated. The role of MMPs are to degenerate the cartilage at a synovial joint, decrease repair, increase nitric oxidise, chrodrocyte apoptosis and prostraglandin synthesis which leads to further cartilage degeneration and hence TMJD occurs!!
So what can we do about this?
Medically the treatment for PCOS is usually to address the IR. Most doctors will prescribe:
1) Low glycaemic diet - to regulate blood sugars
2) Birth control pill - which slows down ovarian function and therefore androgen function however it also worsens insulin resistance!!
3) Metformin - drug given to diabetics to control blood sugar and one of the gold standards for IR. However this are the side effects:
- Abdominal or stomach discomfort
- cough or hoarseness
- decreased appetite
- fast or shallow breathing
- fever or chills
- general feeling of discomfort
- lower back or side pain
- muscle pain or cramping
- painful or difficult urination
Medial treatment for PCOS, in my opinion, and many other health professionals puts band aid on the syndrome rather than treating the toot cause. You can treat IR naturally using Berberine which has outperformed Metformin in studies as well as natural anti-inflammatory foods and supplements. Please contact me to find out more.