Overview

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine system disorder affecting about 12-18% of women in the reproductive age. PCOS causes irregular periods, excessive male-type hair growth, thinning of scalp hair, acne, obesity, difficulty in losing weight, dark patches of skin and infertility. The exact cause of PCOS is not known. However, it is speculated that the syndrome occurs as a result of interplay of genetic and environmental factors which throw the hormones out of gear. Insulin resistance is believed to be the culprit. Insulin is the hormone produced in the pancreas that allows our body to use sugar (glucose). Insulin resistance means that the normal levels of insulin are producing sub-normal effects, resulting in excess insulin being released. Excess insulin might affect the ovaries by increasing male hormone/androgen production, which may interfere with the ovaries’ ability to release eggs/ovulation.

PCOS symptoms and causes can often be confusing. If you feel that you are at an increased risk of developing this disorder or if you feel that your symptoms closely mirror those of PCOS, please seek immediate medical help.

Symptoms

  • Irregular, infrequent, heavy or prolonged menstrual periods,
  • Excess hair growth, acne, and obesity can all occur in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • In adolescents, infrequent or absent menstruation may raise suspicion for the condition.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Causes:

Why is early diagnosis important?

The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is unknown. Early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss may reduce the risk of long-term complications, such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.

PCOS Causes and Treatment

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Causes is unknown. Doctors believe that hormonal imbalances and genetics play a role. Women are more likely to develop PCOS if their mother or sister also has the condition.

Overproduction of the hormone androgen may be another contributing factor. Androgen is a male sex hormone that women’s bodies also produce. Women with PCOS often produce higher-than-normal levels of androgen. This can affect the development and release of eggs during ovulation. Excess insulin (a hormone that helps convert sugars and starches into energy) may cause high androgen levels.

PCOS Treatment

PCOS treatment focuses on each of your symptom and hence PCOS treatment is different from person to person. Lifestyle modifications become as important as medication in case of PCOS Management.

Lifestyle changes

If you are battling with infertility related to PCOS, your doctor will recommend weight loss to increase the effectiveness of the medication.

A low calorie diet coupled with moderate exercise has known to greatly improve the symptoms related to PCOS. Doctors typically recommending losing 5% of your body weight to begin with.

PCOS Treatment: Medications

To regulate your menstrual cycle, your doctor might recommend:

  • Combination birth control pills.
  • Progestin therapy.

To help you ovulate, your doctor might recommend:

  • Clomiphene )
  • Letrozole
  • Metformin
  • Gonadotropins. These hormone medications are given by injection.

To reduce excessive hair growth, your doctor might recommend:

  • Birth control pills. These pills decrease androgen production that can cause excessive hair growth.
  • Spironolactone
  • Eflornithine
  • Electrolysis

Women with PCOS have a higher risk of developing

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • High cholesterol.
  • Anxiety and depression.
  • Sleep apnea (when a person stops breathing periodically during sleep)
  • Endometrial cancer (cancer caused by thickening of the lining of the uterus)
  • Heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Breast cancer

Other symptoms include

  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Infertility

What Is PCOS?

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