Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance condition that occurs in a woman who is in her childbearing years (age 15-44). It is a common condition that occurs in females throughout the world. According to a study, about 70% suffering from PCOS haven’t been diagnosed yet.
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What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
What are the Causes of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
- ● Genes: Studies have shown that PCOS runs in families. So it can be hereditary due to some genetic defect. Furthermore, more than one gene likely contributes to causing this condition.
- ● Inflammation: It is a term that refers to the production of white blood cells to fight infection. Women with PCOS generally have low-grade inflammation. This triggers the ovaries to produce more male sex hormones. Overweightness can contribute to inflammation. This can also cause blood vessels and cardiac problems.
- ● Insulin resistance: About 70% of women who have PCOS also suffer from insulin resistance. It is a condition in which the cells are unable to use insulin for the body properly. When this happens, the body starts demanding more insulin. The pancreas starts producing more insulin to counteract this deficiency. The extra insulin stimulates the ovaries to begin producing more androgens. Obesity is one of the leading causes of insulin resistance. The combination of these two conditions will lead to type 2 diabetes.
What are the Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
- ● Irregular menstrual cycle: Lack of proper ovulation will prevent the monthly shedding of the uterine line. Prolonged or infrequent periods are the most predominant signs of PCOS. Some females with PCOS get less than eight periods in a year.
- ● Hair growth: This condition is called hirsutism and is caused due to abnormally high androgen levels in the body. Women will develop hair on their chest, face, back, and chest.
- ● Heavy bleeding: Since the uterine lining doesn’t shed regularly, you will experience heavy bleeding when they do get periods.
- ● Weight gain: About 80% of the women with this condition are obese or overweight.
- ● Acne
- ● Darkening of skin in the body creases
- ● Male-pattern baldness
- ● Headaches
How is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Diagnosed?
- ● Pelvic exam: The doctor does a pelvic examination of your ovaries and reproductive tract. During the test, the doctor will check signs of excess male hormones, for instance, enlarged clitoris. He/she might also insert gloved fingers in your vagina to check for growths in the uterus or ovaries.
- ● Physical exam: The doctor will check your blood pressure, waist size, and BMI (body mass index). They will also for signs such as hair on your chest, face, back, hair loss, skin discolouration, acne, and signs of other health problems (for instance, an enlarged thyroid gland)
- ● Blood tests: It is done to check the level of androgen or male hormone level in your body. The physician will also check the level of other hormones causing health problems that can be mistaken for PCOS.
- ● Pelvic ultrasound or sonogram: This test utilises sound waves to check the ovaries for any cysts and endometrium.
How is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Treated?
- ● Diet and lifestyle changes: If you are overweight, then losing 10% of your body weight can help regulate your menstrual cycle and lower the risk of other health problems. A low carbohydrate diet, along with regular exercise, has proven to be effective.
- ● Birth control: Intake of regular estrogen and progestin can rebuild a normal hormonal balance and reduce symptoms like excess hair growth.
- ● Clomiphene: It is a fertility drug that helps women suffering from PCOS to get pregnant. Nonetheless, it heightens the risk of multiple births, for example, twins.
- ● Gonadotropins: These are hormonal medications that are given by injections.
- Metformin:This medication is used for type 2 diabetes to decrease insulin levels and improve insulin resistance.
- ● Hair removal medicines: A few treatments can stop and get rid of the growth of unwanted help. Eflornithine or Vaniqa is a prescription drug that slows the growth of hair. Electrolysis and laser hair removal will also help you in getting rid of unwanted hair.
Since there are no surgical procedures to cure PCOS yet, the patient should stick to living a healthy lifestyle and eating balanced meals to manage the condition. Regular check-in with the doctor and intake of medicines will significantly help too.