PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is part of a lifestyle disorder where small follicles develop within the ovaries and restrict the regular menstrual cycle. Women of any age can experience PCOS, a hormonal disorder. In this condition, ovaries produce androgens, which are in general present in the least quality. Interestingly, some women develop cysts while others do not. So, the name might seem to be quite misleading. However, the exact cause behind the polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms is yet to be retrieved.
PCOS has an association with long-term complications, such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Only early diagnosis and proper treatment is the only feasible treatment.
Let’s get to know about the symptoms, complications, causes and treatment.
Symptoms of PCOS
PCOS can either develop during puberty with the initiation of the first menstrual cycle or later in life due to the response to increased BMI. You need to opt for immediate diagnosis if any of these polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms show up:
- Irregular periods – Prolong menstrual cycle or infrequent menstruation, which includes abnormally heavy flow.
- Excess androgen – Physical signs such as the growth of facial and body hair, medically known as hirsutism, baldness, and severe acne and oily skin due to elevated male hormone levels.
- Skin problems – Dark patches at the back of the neck, near armpits or under the breasts. You can see the formation of skin tags near the neck and armpits.
- Overweight – Sudden gain in weight primarily around the abdomen.
- Polycystic ovaries – Missing out periods based on the monthly schedules because ovaries may fail to function normally. The ovaries become enlarged, and cysts develop.
Causes of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
The exact cause is yet to be determined; however certain factors have been found to be associated with the syndrome, such as:
- An abnormal rise in androgen leads to male baldness, acne and hirsutism.
- Excessive Insulin production leads to a rise in sugar levels in the blood, which triggers the production of androgen.
- Reduction in progesterone makes it challenging to predict the time for period. Further, you may even miss your periods. Mostly there are chances of a rise in infrequent periods.
- Obesity can also trigger the rise in insulin levels, which eventually affect the ovaries and hormonal production.
- Heredity reasons or mutation in genes can also be the reason behind PCOS.
5 Noteworthy complications associated with PCOS
PCOS can lead to a number of complications due to an abnormal rise in hormones, such as –
Cystic ovaries create a restriction on the proper ovulation schedule. As you know, one egg gets released every month from these ovaries, and due to a lack of sperm, it does not undergo fertilization. But, in case the egg is not released or unhealthy, conceiving can become quite difficult even with the presence of sperm. This can lead to infertility or the inability to get pregnant.
Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes
If your body becomes insulin resistant, it will start secreting more androgens. Subsequently, the cells in the muscles, organs and tissues are not able to absorb the blood sugar leading to an increase in glucose levels in the blood. This medical condition is known as diabetes which increases the risk of cardiovascular as well as nervous disorders.
These are a group of symptoms that aid in increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, stroke, etc. The common symptoms associated with metabolic syndromes are high triglyceride, low good cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and high sugar level.
PCOS generates a high abnormality in the hormonal level, and this leads to unwanted changes being noticed in the body. Subsequently, hormonal fluctuations affect emotions negatively and generate depression and anxiety.
This is a medical condition that interrupts your sleep, where you might feel a repeated pause in your breathing. Most women who are overweight suffer from sleep apnea. Moreover, the risk associated with sleep apnea increases due to PCOS, which can become life-threatening.
Other complications due to PCOS
PCOS also have several other ways to affect your well-being, such as –
- Gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
- Miscarriage or premature birth
- Severe liver inflammation
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Endometrial cancer
Diagnosis and treatment process for PCOS
As soon as you see the polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms, you must consult with a certified medical specialist. They will go through your medical history, understand the symptoms, and conduct a physical examination. Along with that, several tests confirm the disorder.
- Physical examination – Pelvic examination, which includes the checkup of your reproductive organs, both internal and external is mandatory.
- Ultrasound test – To understand the size of the ovary and the presence of cysts. It also determines the thickness of the endometrium.
- Blood test – To detect the level of androgens and other hormones. Blood glucose level is also checked, along with cholesterol and triglycerides.
How can you reduce the chances of PCOS?
Treatment of PCOs requires focusing on multiple aspects and is also based on the severity of the symptoms. The entire treatment process is divisible into two segments:
Category 1: Do you want to become pregnant in the future? If “YES”, then –
Change in diet and lifestyle activities
You must focus on maintaining a stable BMI, reduce weight, carry out more physical activities and add a healthy diet to your daily routine. This will help to maintain the insulin secretion in your body and reduce glucose levels.
Medications prescribed by doctors
Drugs can help to maintain a normal flow during menstruation and also clear all the restrictions during the menstrual cycle. However, these often lead to abdominal bloating and pain around the pelvic region.
Category 2: Do you want to become pregnant? If NO, then –
Birth Control Pills
These can reduce the androgen level, control the menstrual cycle, and reduce acne.
Medicines for Diabetes
These are prescribed to reduce androgen and insulin resistance and help in regular ovulation.
Along with these medications, a healthy diet, ditching smoking and drinking, and regular activity are also necessary.
Additional treatment for PCOS
If you have been struggling through PCOS for quite some time and have excessive hair growth on your face and body, then opt for cosmetic treatment, such as laser hair removal. However, always consult with a doctor because PCOS has a risk of developing into endometrial cancer.
Diagnosis at the preliminary stage can help to prevent the situation from turning into a severe condition. So, book an appointment with a certified specialist of ILS Hospitals and do not miss out on the follow-up appointments.