Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that is reported quite frequently in women as well as teenage girls. Other than estrogen, females also produce other hormones such as testosterone but in very little amounts. In polycystic ovary syndrome, the primary abnormality is hypersecretion of testosterone in females that presents with a variety of health issues.
What Are Primary Causes Of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
The exact cause of PCOS is not clearly known yet. However, experts suggest that Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can occur due to a combination of various factors including, genes. Chances are also fair that women with PCOS might have mother or sister with PCOS.
Signs And Symptoms
Classic sign and symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome are:
- Abnormal menstrual cycle for example, having menstruation more than once a month or periods after interval of few months or no periods at all
- Heavy flow during periods
- Very light flow during periods
- Weight issues
- Growth of hair on face
- Hair growth on chest, nipples, hands, upper arms, back and legs
- Thick, dark patches on middle of breasts, neck and armpits
- Thinning of hair on scalp
Complications Of Poorly Managed PCOS
Women or teenagers with PCOS are at high risk of developing diabetes type 2, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
How It Is Diagnosed?
A physical examination is ideally performed to check blood pressure, height and weight. Doctor may also look for unwanted hair growth and dark patches on various areas of the body. Doctors also ask about regularity of menstrual cycle and whether someone in family (such as, sister, aunt or mother) were ever diagnosed with PCOS?
Besides physical examination, few lab tests are also conducted to rule out diabetes and high serum cholesterol. An ultrasound is also performed to examine uterus and ovaries. This helps in finding out if fluid filled cysts are inside or on the surface of ovaries. All these tests are conducted to ensure that the irregular periods and hormonal imbalance are because of PCOS and not due to some other reason.
Treatment Of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
The most important thing is to lose weight by adopting a healthy life style. Avoid sugary, high calorie foods and frizzy, artificially sweetened drinks. Increasing physical activity, exercise and smoking cessation can also prove very helpful. A person can also consult a registered dietician to choose the right diet plan.
Besides this, medicines such as birth control pills, patches or vaginal rings that contains estrogen and /or progesterone can also be prescribed. If the woman is diabetic or pre-diabetic, metformin may be prescribed to make the insulin work better.
For the removal of unwanted body hair, women can wax, shave, bleach or opt for medicines or treatments like electrolysis and laser treatments.
Does PCOS Affect Fertility?
PCOS may or may not affect the fertility. Doctor can help if there are any issues when conceiving.
How To Cope With PCOS?
The first and most important step is to consult the right health expert! Since it is a hormonal disorder, the reproductive system is almost always expected. Women should consult both endocrinologist and a gynecologist. The sooner PCOS is treated, lesser will be the risk for complications.
If you are worried about your looks, ask the doctor about the best way to get rid of those unwanted facial hairs. Being depressed is natural, one can get counselled or join support groups and talk to other women with PCOS. This will make things better and help in fighting against it.
- Borruel, S., Fernandez-Duran, E., Alpanes, M., Martí, D., Alvarez-Blasco, F., Luque-Ramírez, M., & Escobar-Morreale, H. F. (2013). Global adiposity and thickness of intraperitoneal and mesenteric adipose tissue depots are increased in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 98(3), 1254-1263.
- Flannery, C. A., Rackow, B., Cong, X., Duran, E., Selen, D. J., & Burgert, T. S. (2013). Polycystic ovary syndrome in adolescence: impaired glucose tolerance occurs across the spectrum of BMI. Pediatric diabetes, 14(1), 42-49.
- Sadrzadeh, S., Painter, R. C., & Lambalk, C. B. (2016). Developmental origins of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a case control study comparing birth weight in women with PCOS and control group. Gynecological Endocrinology, 1-4.