Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

 Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

The ovaries produce excessively high quantities of androgens, the male sex hormones that are generally present in women in trace amounts, in the case of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). The polycystic ovarian syndrome refers to the condition in which the ovaries generate a large number of tiny cysts (fluid-filled sacs). Cysts can form in some women without the illness, but not all those with it.

During ovulation, a mature egg is released from an ovary. This is done in order for male sperm to fertilize it. If the egg is not fertilized, it is ejected from the body during your period. Sometimes a woman may not generate enough of the hormones needed for ovulation. The ovaries may develop many small cysts when ovulation doesn't happen.

Androgens are hormones that these cysts produce. Women with PCOS usually have increased androgen levels. This can make a woman's menstrual cycle problems worse. And many of the signs of PCOS can be brought on by it.

Medication is a common component of PCOS treatment. Although it doesn't treat PCOS, this can assist with symptoms and even certain health issues.

Symptoms of PCOS

In many cases, PCOS symptoms start to manifest around the time of the first menstrual cycle. Sometimes, after having periods for a while, symptoms appear later.

Different PCOS symptoms exist. When you exhibit a minimum of two of these, you are diagnosed with PCOS. Common symptoms of PCOS include:

Irregular periods: Periods that are irregular include missing periods or even not menstruating at all. It could also result in significant bleeding during periods.

Acne: PCOS can lead to acne, particularly on the back, chest, and face. Acne can linger throughout adolescence and is notoriously difficult to treat.

Abnormal hair growth: Excessive facial hair and thick hair growth on the arms, chest, and belly are examples of abnormal hair growth (hirsutism). Up to 70% of women with PCOS are impacted by this.

Skin darkening: Patches of dark skin, particularly in the creases of your neck, under your arms, in your armpits, and in your groin (between your legs) known as Acanthosis nigricans.

Obesity: Around 80% of PCOS-affected women are overweight or obese and struggle to lose weight.

Infertility: Female infertility is most frequently caused by PCOS. Conception can be prevented by irregular or absent ovulation.

Cysts: Small pockets of fluid are common in the ovaries of PCOS patients.

Skin tags: Skin tags are tiny skin flaps that protrude. They are often found on the neck or in the armpits in women with PCOS.

Hair loss: People with PCOS may develop bald spots or have patchy hair loss.

What causes PCOS?

There is no recognized cause for PCOS. There is proof that genetics are involved. The following other variables may potentially contribute to PCOS:

greater levels of androgens, or male hormones: High levels of testosterone hinder ovulation, which causes irregular menstrual cycles. Ovulation irregularities can also cause tiny, fluid-filled sacs to develop in the ovaries. High androgen levels in women can also result in acne and excessive hair growth.

Insulin resistance: The ovaries produce and release male hormones as a result of elevated insulin levels (androgens). Subsequently, elevated levels of male hormones impede ovulation and exacerbate other PCOS symptoms. Your body utilizes glucose (sugar) for energy with the aid of insulin. Your blood glucose levels are high as a result of incorrect insulin processing, which causes insulin resistance. Despite the fact that not everyone with insulin resistance has diabetes or high blood sugar, diabetes can be brought on by insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can also be exacerbated by being obese. An increased insulin level may indicate insulin resistance even if your blood sugar is within normal range.

Low-grade inflammation: PCOS sufferers frequently have low-grade inflammation. Your doctor can do blood tests to detect white blood cell counts and C-reactive protein (CRP) to establish how much aggravation is present in your body.

Genetics: PCOS can run in families due to genetics. If your mother, sister, or aunt have PCOS, you often have a greater probability of developing it yourself. This suggests that the condition may have a genetic component, even if specific genes associated with PCOS have not yet been identified.

Risk factors/ Complications

PCOS complications can include:

  • Infertility
  • gestational diabetes or high blood pressure brought on during pregnancy
  • miscarriage or a premature birth
  • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis i.e., severe liver inflammation brought on by the hepatic fat accumulation
  • The metabolic syndrome, which significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, includes abnormally high blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and amounts of bad cholesterol or triglycerides.
  • Diabetes type 2 or prediabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Anxiety, depression, and eating problems
  • A uterine lining cancer (endometrial cancer)
  • Obesity is frequently associated with PCOS and can make the disorder's symptoms worse.

Diagnosis of PCOS

Both your medical history and your present symptoms will be discussed with your doctor. Additionally, you'll be physically examined. Most likely, this will include a pelvic exam. This examination assesses the internal and exterior health of your reproductive organs.

There are certain PCOS symptoms that are similar to those of other illnesses. You could thus be subjected to exams like:

Ultrasound. In this examination, sound waves, and a computer are used to visualize the blood vessels, tissues, and organs. This examination measures the ovaries' size and looks for cysts. The test can also gauge the thickness of the uterine lining (endometrium).

a blood test. These check for high levels of androgen and other hormones. A medical practitioner might also examine your blood glucose levels. You could also get your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked.

Treatment of PCOS

Treatment for PCOS depends on a number of variables. Some of these include your age, the intensity of your symptoms, and your general state of health. The type of therapy you receive may also depend on whether you plan to become pregnant in the future.

A change in diet and activity: It may be part of your treatment if you do intend to get pregnant. By eating better and exercising more, you can reduce your weight and ease your symptoms. They could improve your body's sensitivity to insulin, bring down blood sugar levels, and encourage ovulation.

Medications that induce ovulation. Medication usage allows for normal egg discharge from the ovaries. There are additional risks associated with these medicines. They could increase the likelihood of multiple births (twins or more). They could overstimulate the ovaries as well. The ovaries are now producing too many hormones. It might cause symptoms including abdominal bloating and soreness in the pelvis.

If you want to plan your pregnancy any time soon, the treatment may include:

Birth control tablets: They may be part of your therapy if you don't intend to get pregnant. These help to control menstrual cycles, lower testosterone levels, and get rid of acne.

Medicines for diabetes: This is widely used to lower insulin resistance in Patients with PCOS. Additionally, it could help promote more regular ovulation, reduce testosterone levels, and slow down hair growth.

A change in activity and nutrition. By eating better and exercising more, you can reduce your weight and ease your symptoms. They could increase insulin sensitivity in your body, lower blood sugar levels, and promote ovulation.

Medication to address extra symptoms. Some medications can help with hair growth or acne.

PCOS is a hormonal condition that affects a lot of women who are of reproductive age. Women who have PCOS may not ovulate, have elevated testosterone levels, and have a large number of little cysts on their ovaries. PCOS symptoms include weight gain, acne, infertility, missed or irregular periods, and excessive hair growth. Women with PCOS may be more susceptible to cardiac problems, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and endometrial cancer. Whether or not a woman intends to become pregnant may influence the sort of PCOS therapy she receives. Different types of drugs may be used by women who hope to get pregnant in the future.

Losing weight via a balanced diet and consistent exercise is one of the greatest strategies to manage PCOS. Even a slight weight loss can have an impact on hormone levels, regulate your menstrual cycle, and lessen discomfort. Cosmetic procedures or consulting a dermatologist may be beneficial if excessive hair growth or acne is affecting your confidence. Finally, remember that you are not alone if you have PCOS and are trying to get pregnant. With your cooperation, your doctor will assist you in getting pregnant. You may effectively control PCOS by eating well and reducing your stress levels.

There are some pointers to assist you to maximize the value of a visit to your doctor.

Make a list of the questions you want to be answered before your appointment. Bring a friend with you so that you can remember and challenge what your doctor tells you. Write down any new instructions your doctor offers you during the visit, as well as the names of any new medications, treatments, or tests. In the event that you have a follow-up appointment, make a note of the day, time, and reason for the visit. Recognize how to contact your provider if you have any inquiries.

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