Once you receive a diagnosis for a medical issue that has the potential to alter your life, you’ll naturally want to educate yourself as much as you could about it.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one such prime illustration. The health of women with PCOS may be impacted by their metabolism and hormonal imbalance issues.
Women in their reproductive age frequently experience the illness, which could cause symptoms like weight gain, thinning hair, acne, and irregular periods.
Nearly 15% of women experience PCOS globally. Those with PCOS create more male hormones compared to women without PCOS.
The menstrual cycle of a woman is often skipped as a result of the PCOS hormonal imbalance, which further makes it more difficult for them to conceive.
Here, we will be looking at all about PCOS.
What Is PCOS?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a prevalent health issue that could afflict females throughout their teen years.
Periods may become less regular, heavier, or even stop altogether as a result of it.
PCOS accounts for 8% to 15% (up to five million cases) in the US alone, making it one of the most prevalent reasons for female infertility.
But it goes far beyond that. This chronic health issue persists even past the childbearing years.
PCOS-affected women often have insulin resistance, which increases their risk of having type two diabetes although their bodies are capable of producing insulin.
Additionally, a female may get extra hair and acne.
They also have very high androgen levels, which are female hormones that might inhibit the ovulation process and could lead to
- excessive hair growth on the body and face
- Thinning hair on the scalp
- Acne and irregular periods.
Causes Of PCOS
Since the precise origin of PCOS is unknown, medical professionals refer to it as a “syndrome” instead of a “disease”.
However, they speculate that the complicated interactions between androgens, insulin, the ovaries, and other hormones could lead to PCOS.
Insulin dysfunction (in which hormones that aid cells in absorbing and utilizing glucose from the blood, do not operate effectively), the development of ovarian cysts, and hormonal imbalance are all caused by the complex interactions of hormones.
The body creates more insulin among PCOS women which leads to a chain reaction of issues including a high chance of developing high cholesterol and diabetes.
Androgens like testosterone are frequently produced in excess by PCOS-affected women. Although androgens are thought of as male hormones, both women and men have them.
Even though the etiology of PCOS is unknown, there are some factors that could increase your likelihood of getting it.
Compared to other women, those with a family history of PCOS and obese women have a higher risk of getting the condition.
Symptoms Of PCOS
PCOS symptoms might appear soon after puberty, but they could also appear in the early years of adulthood or late adolescence.
PCOS may be untreated for some time since symptoms could go overlooked or be misdiagnosed.
Usually, PCOS could be diagnosed if any two of the following three symptoms are present:
Period irregularities are a common indication of PCOS. Because women could not ovulate regularly, people with PCOS frequently experience skipped or irregular periods.
For instance, you might go more than 30 days between periods and have less than 10 periods each year. Some women also experience very strong menstrual bleeding.
On their ovaries, some women may develop cysts, but many won’t. It’s possible that your ovaries get enlarged and have follicles around the eggs.
The ovaries may also consequently stop working consistently.
Too Much Androgen
Physical manifestations of elevated levels of male hormone can include hirsutism (abundant facial and body hair), as well as occasional male-pattern baldness and severe acne.
Other Symptoms Might Include:
- Sleep apnea
- High blood pressure
- High-stress levels
- Skin tags
- Dandruff, oily skin, and acne
- High triglycerides and cholesterol
- Dark patches of skin
- Female pattern balding
- Type two diabetes
- Insulin resistance
- Pelvic pain
- Weight management difficulties including difficulty losing weight or weight gain
- Anxiety and depression
- Decreased libido
Diagnosis Of PCOS
If you experience any symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, consult your doctor. Inquiries concerning your symptoms will be made.
Your blood pressure will also be checked by a doctor. This may aid in eliminating other potential reasons.
They will inquire about your periods and ask you questions like:
- At what age did your first periods start
- If you have uncomfortable or irregular periods
- If you’ve experienced excessive hair growth, hair loss, and acne
If other uncommon causes of the same symptoms have been ruled out, a PCOS diagnosis will usually be determined.
Additionally, you should also fulfill these requirements:
- You are either experiencing rare, nonexistent, or irregular periods
- You have more hair on your body and face, or blood tests indicate that you have greater than normal testosterone levels
- You are found to have polycystic ovaries via an ultrasound
The following are some common tests that your doctor could ask you to prepare for:
During the physical exam, your doctor might take your waist measurement, weigh you, look for abnormal hair growth in certain body areas like the face, chin, or chest, and determine your BMI.
They might also watch for a rise in dandruff, thinning hair, and acne that are more prevalent on the face, back, and arms.
During a pelvic ultrasound test, noises from your pelvis are translated into a picture, whichshows your internal organs in visual form.
To determine whether one or both of your ovaries have cysts, an ultrasound imaging of the ovaries may be made.
During the physical examination, the doctor may feel for any abnormal growths in the pelvic region.
This includes checking for anomalies in the clitoris, vagina, rectum, fallopian tubes, cervix, and other areas.
If there is any physical evidence, a set of tests is usually ordered, particularly if there are obvious indicators like hair growth and weight gain.
Your doctor couldrequest you to undergo some tests based on your symptoms in order to assuage any concerns.
Treatment Of PCOS
The management of your specific issues, such as infertility, obesity, irregular periods, hirsutism, and acne is the emphasis on PCOS treatment.
Changes in lifestyle, such as good eating habits, exercise, and weight loss usually come first in treatment.
Even a small ten percent body weight loss could influence your menstrual cycle.
The course of treatment will depend on the symptoms, including the severity of hair growth and acne, and metabolic issues.
Your PCOS couldbenefit from any diet that makes you lose weight. However, certain diets might be superior to others in various ways.
Additionally, losing weight could lower cholesterol, and insulin, and minimize the chance of developing heart disease and diabetes.
Women could lose a significant amount of weight by exercising for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, at a moderate level. Exercise-induced weight loss also raises ovulation levels.
The earliest diagnosis and use of the most effective treatment modalities could help manage the symptoms of PCOS. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for treating hormonal imbalance-associated disorders.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
- Uche Anadu Ndefo, Angie Eaton, and Monica Robinson Green Polycystic Ovary Syndrome P T. 2013 Jun; 38(6): 336-338, 348, 355.
- What causes PCOS? Last Reviewed Date9/29/2022 Available from:https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pcos/conditioninfo/causes
- S. West,H. Lashen,A. Bloigu,et al. Irregular menstruation and hyperandrogenaemia in adolescence are associated with polycystic ovary syndrome and infertility in later life: Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 study Hum Reprod. 2014 Oct 10; 29(10): 2339–2351.Published online 2014 Aug 1. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deu200
- Lorena I. Rasquin Leon; Catherine Anastasopoulou; Jane V. Mayrin. Polycystic Ovarian Disease Available from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459251/
- Wissem Hafsi; Talel Badri. Hirsutism Last Update: August 7, 2021. Available from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470417/
- Michael T. Sheehan Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Diagnosis and Management Clin Med Res. 2004 Feb; 2(1): 13–27.doi: 10.3121/cmr.2.1.13
- How do health care providers diagnose PCOS? Last Reviewed Date9/29/2022 Available from:https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pcos/conditioninfo/diagnose
- Treatments to Relieve Symptoms of PCOS Last Reviewed Date1/31/2017 Available from:https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pcos/conditioninfo/treatments/relieve
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Otella has an experience of around eight years of writing about health and nutrition-related topics. She is a full-time mother and a housewife, and the time she has left after doing her mother and household duties is spent writing for Working for Health as a full-time writer. Her life goal is to raise both her boys into a gentleman, and at the same time, she wants to educate people on how to keep themselves fit by tweaking their daily diet.