which type of pcos do you have?
Written by Drew Baird
There Are At Least 4 Types of PCOS
As complex as PCOS already is, it gets even more confusing when you see that there are individual types of PCOS. Generally, we acknowledge there are 4 specific types of PCOS. Well, 5 if you consider a combination of all four as the fifth type.
It is important to note that these PCOS types are not all 100% recognized in the scientific literature. Researchers and doctors all agree that there are many drivers that result in the symptoms that a woman with PCOS may experience. But, what is not known is why certain women with PCOS present differently than others.
1) Insulin Resistant PCOS
Insulin resistant (IR) PCOS is by far the most common, affecting up to 70% of all women with PCOS. These women will generally be overweight, suffer from symptoms of excess androgens such as acne, male-like hair growth, male-like hair loss, and irregular periods.
The connection between PCOS and insulin resistance is so strong that certain experts have suggested that ALL women with PCOS be treated for insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance occurs when your cells become resistant to the normal effects of insulin. Basically, they don't recognize that insulin is there. This causes insulin levels to rise and as insulin levels get higher and higher they start to cause other issues and problems.
Among these problems include an imbalance to your sex hormone (including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) and the signs and symptoms of PCOS. High levels of insulin have been shown to result in high levels of testosterone (6) (both free and total) which is the hallmark of PCOS.
Because of this, most of the therapies are directed at reducing insulin levels and improving blood sugar. This is why medications such as metformin are often prescribed to women with PCOS. Metformin is a diabetic medication that helps reverse insulin resistance.
Testing for insulin resistance PCOS
- Free and total testosterone
- Fasting blood glucose
- Hgb A1c (which stands for hemoglobin A1c)
- Fasting insulin
Typical Lab Testing Results
- Typically elevated free OR total testosterone (or high normal)
- Elevated fasting glucose
- Elevated Hgb A1c, typically higher than 5.7%
- Elevated fasting insulin
- Normal DHEA
2) Lean PCOS
Lean PCOS is a form of PCOS which can occur in women who are generally not overweight. This is why it's named "lean" PCOS after the fact that women with this PCOS type have a normal body weight compared to the most common form of PCOS.
If you do feel that you might have lean PCOS it's very important that you first differentiate your condition from hypothalamic amenorrhea, a condition that stops your body's ability to have a menstrual cycle or period.
Lean PCOS isn't as easy to diagnose as other forms of PCOS such as IR PCOS or adrenal PCOS because in those conditions we know exactly what is causing the imbalance. Women with lean PCOS have obvious signs and symptoms of PCOS but their lab tests are largely "normal".
While they don't show signs of elevated DHEA or insulin resistance, some of these women do have elevated inflammatory markers. We know that inflammation is a key component in the development of PCOS
Testing for lean PCOS
- CRP (C-reactive protein)
- ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate)
PCOS Supplement Stack
Your results matter and that's why I've combined our two most popular products into one daily PCOS stack. The PCOS stacks combine the hormone-balancing benefits of Balance with the advanced energy, and fat burning benefits of the PCOS friendly fat-burner, Thermo Lean.
What's in the PCOS Stack?
Balance is the world's first PCOS specific daily multivitamin. This once-a-day supplement provides you with all of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to manage the hormonal imbalances that PCOS creates and better achieve hormonal balance.
Balance combines all of the most well-researched and evidence-backed ingredients, in PCOS specific dosages, all in one, easy to take supplement. Benefits of choosing Balance include:
- Balance will help save money by not needing to buy multiple different supplements
- Balance will save you time and stress by not needing to worry about whether or not you are taking the correct supplements and in their correct dosages
- Better regulate the hormonal imbalances of PCOS to help to manage your PCOS.
Thermo Lean is our potent thermogenic fat burner that combines a specific blend of proven ingredients to help maximize your fat-burning potential effectively and safely. Our proprietary blend is designed to elevate metabolic burn and increase energy and motivation levels. MetaBurn will help...
- Increase the amount of fat you burn for energy
- Increase your energy levels
- Helps increase and support a healthy metabolism
- Increase your mental function and performance
- Support and build lean muscle mass
- Aids muscle recovery
- Improves muscle endurance due to increased energy supply
- Reduces fatigue
NOTE: Balance does contain flavoring and stevia and may negatively impact with IBS.
**Because customs policies vary from country to country, international orders may be subject to local customs charges. Any customs, import duties and associated fees are the responsibility of the recipient and are charged once the parcel reaches its country of destination. If goods are above the threshold and customs entry is required, our logistics partner will charge an additional admin handling fee for customs clearance. For more information about your country's customs policies, please contact your local customs office.
3) Adrenal PCOS
Women with adrenal PCOS will have many of the same symptoms as women with IR PCOS but their lab tests will be different. The main difference will be these women typically do NOT have elevated free and total testosterone.
Instead, women with adrenal PCOS will have elevated levels of DHEA which is another androgen predominantly produced by the adrenal glands. The main trigger for this is thought to be stress-related, either emotional stress or physical stress.
Testing for adrenal PCOS
- Free and total testosterone
- Serum DHEA
- 8AM serum cortisol
- Insulin resistance
Typical Lab Testing Results
- Normal free and total testosterone
- Elevated serum DHEA levels
- High or normal serum cortisol
- Normal insulin resistance and blood sugar studies
4) Post-Pill PCOS
This is the type of PCOS that is not really recognized by conventional medical experts but, coming off of birth control does appear to cause a temporary PCOS-like state in some women.
This doesn't mean that all women will get this condition if they come off of birth control but it does mean you should be aware of it if you are considering using birth control.
In order for your PCOS to be caused or related to birth control, you must have had normal periods before you started the pill.
Women in this position should be very careful to avoid a premature diagnosis of PCOS without first looking at LH and FSH levels as the pill can actually cause suppression of your FSH and LH levels and lead to hypothalamic amenorrhea after you discontinue taking it.
Women who have post-pill PCOS after stopping the pill have abnormally elevated LH levels which would differentiate this condition from hypothalamic amenorrhea.
About Drew Baird
Drew Baird is the founder and owner of Drew Baird Fitness and Healthy PCOS. Drew has worked with over 24,000 clients on his online programs and helped his clients lose over 263,000kgs over the last 7 years.
He's best known for his knowledge of PCOS and the metabolic/hormonal state in which it creates.
Want To Get In Touch?
Other PCOS Blog Posts
“You should lose weight for your PCOS” is by far the single most common piece of advice given to women with PCOS. Unfortunately, it’s never followed up with “and here’s exactly how to do it”. And therein lies the issue.. if losing weight is so great for PCOS then why...Read more
Supplements are part of the 5 Seeds PCOS lifestyle framework for taking control of your PCOS. Being smart with your supplementation will help you to control PCOS symptoms such as weight gain, hair loss, irregular menstrual cycles, excess hair growth, fertility issues, and poor energy levels.Read more
PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a complex condition that the more you learn about the more questions you have about it. In this article, I want to deep dive into the most common symptoms of PCOS and its underlying causes. I hope this sheds a little light on the condition...Read more
Excess facial and body hair in PCOS is usually the result of excess androgens in your body. Androgens are male sex hormones, such as testosterone, that are present in both men and women, but men naturally have much higher levels than women.Read more