Actually, if they have not already, yes, they probably should, but here is some new information, WHY!
Chances are you have patients who are sufferieng from PCOS- although as there are not many pharmaceutical treatment options, you might not know it. It's often symptomatic treatments, along with treating the ancillary side-effects which as pharmacists we might not know they are related to PCOS, such as metformin for insulin resistance.
PCOS can lead to irregular menses, negatively influence a womens ability to have children, and typically represents with high levels of androgens (male hormones) such as DHEA and testosterone, as well as small cysts in the ovaries. PCOS has also been associated insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Researchers out of San Diego University are finding that gut bacteria are strongly associated with obesity and signs of diabetes in a mouse model that mimics PCOS that modifying the gut bacteria could be a treatment option for some of the symptoms associated with the widespread prevalence of PCOS.
Over the last decade, scientists have also discovered that people with obesity or diabetes have different bacteria in their guts than healthy people, which is leading them to study disease states which are influenced by obesity, and the possible role that modifying gut bacteria can play.
For this research, researchers at UC San Diego, turned to a mouse model of PCOS that is induced by giving mice the drug letrozole. This drug, which is used to treat certain types of breast cancer, blocks the conversion of testosterone into estrogen and results in a condition known as hyperandrogenism. About 80 percent of women with PCOS have hyperandrogenism.
"When you treat female mice with letrozole, you get similar symptoms to what you see in women with PCOS," lead researcher Kelley said.
Half of the mice in the study were given letrozole and the other half received placebo. Both groups of mice ate the same diet. After five weeks, the letrozole group gained significantly more weight and were substantially fatter than the control group. They also had elevated blood glucose levels, which is associated with insulin resistance.
To look for changes in the gut bacteria, the researchers also collected fecal pellets from each mouse and analyzed the bacterial DNA in them. By comparing the fecal DNA to "barcodes" of known microbial DNA, Kelley was able to determine which gut bacteria were present in each mouse.
They found that the number of different bacterial species in the letrozole-treated mice was much smaller than in the control group. Decreased variety of bacteria is a finding consistent with previous research related to obesity and gut bacteria.
The researchers also saw an increase in certain types of bacteria that have been shown to change in mouse models of obesity, as well as in human obesity, suggesting that changes in the gut bacteria could contribute to the metabolic dysfunction associated with PCOS, he added.
The information gained in this study underlines the importance of maintaining a healthy digestive tract along with the importance of consuming good bacteria through diet or supplement, as well as highlights future treatment options for PCOS with probiotic therapy.
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