Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. Women experiencing PCOS may have abnormal or infrequent menstrual periods. They may also be more likely to have excessive male hormone (androgen) levels. Small collections of fluids called Follicles can develop within the ovaries and fail to release eggs regularly.
There is no known cause for PCOS. In addition to avoid long-term complications, early diagnosis and treatment may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Symptoms of PCOS
Signs and symptoms of PCOS may vary with every women. The condition may start on your first menstrual cycle or sometimes due to weight gain later in life. PCOS can be determined in case you experience any of these following symptoms:
- Abnormal/irregular periods – Irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles is one of the most common symptoms of PCOS. For example: women with PCOS, are more likely to get less than nine periods per year. They might also experience abnormal or heavy periods.
- Elevated male hormone levels –Excess production of androgen may increase facial and body hairs. They may also experience male pattern baldness.
- Polycystic ovaries – Your ovaries might contain small collection of fluids that surround the egg. However, this condition can make the ovaries fail to function normally.
Whenever you experience irregular menstrual periods, infertility, or signs of excess androgen such as worsening hirsutism, acne, and male-pattern baldness, you should consult your physician immediately.
The exact cause of PCOS is not known. Some of the main factors that play a vital role in PCOS are:
- Increased Insulin– Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that helps manage the blood sugar levels. There may be an increased production of insulin if the cells become resistant. As a result it may increase the androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation.
- Low-grade inflammation – There may be reduced ‘white blood cells’ production of substances to fight infection. Studies have shown that women with PCOS have a type of low-grade inflammation that stimulates PCOS to produce androgens, which can lead to heart and blood vessel problems.
- Hereditary – Studies have shown that certain genes may be associated with PCOS.
- Excess Androgen– The ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgens, leading to hirsutism and acne.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
Your health care provider will ask about your medical history and symptoms. You will also receive a health checkup. This will most likely include examination of the pelvic organs. This test checks the health of the reproductive system inside and outside the body. Some symptoms of PCOS are similar to those caused by other health problems. For this reason, you may also be tested for:
- Ultrasound– This test uses sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. This test is used to measure the size of the ovaries and detect cysts. This test also measures the thickness of the lining of the uterus (endometrium).
- Blood test– It is used to detect high levels of androgens and other hormones. Your health care provider may also check your blood sugar levels. And you can check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Talk to your doctor if you have irregular periods, pregnancy problems, or excessive acne or hair growth. If you’ve been told you have PCOS, make sure to get tested for diabetes. If you are overweight, you must focus on losing weight and increasing physical activity. These methods can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, help you better manage your diabetes, and prevent or delay other health problems. There are also medications that help ovulation and reduce acne and hair growth. Consult your doctor about all treatment options.
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