PCOS, also referred to as polycystic ovary syndrome, is an endocrine system condition that affects women during their reproductive years. Small fluid-filled sacs [cysts] form inside the ovaries. Stein-Leventhal syndrome is an alternative name for it. PCOS symptoms include irregular menstruation and excessive hair growth. If left untreated, it may result in infertility and other issues. The precise reason for PCOS is still not known yet.
It is advised to seek diagnosis and therapy early. In addition to lowering the risk of obesity itself, losing weight may also lower the risk of related health issues like insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
What is PCOS?
In the case of PCOS, the ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgens, the male sex hormones that are usually present in women in trace amounts. The many little cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that develop in the ovaries are seen in a polycystic ovarian syndrome. While some women without the disease do develop cysts, some people with this disorder do not.
A mature egg is released from the ovary during ovulation. This takes place so that male sperm can fertilize it. During your period, the egg is expelled from the body if it is not fertilized.
The immature egg inside the cyst can not trigger ovulation. The lack of ovulation can cause hormonal imbalance altering the levels of reproductive hormones. The ovaries may grow a large number of tiny cysts when ovulation is delayed. Androgens are hormones that these cysts produce. High androgen levels are common in PCOS women. This may worsen a woman’s menstrual cycle issues. And many of the common PCOS symptoms can be brought on by it.
Medication is a common component of PCOS treatment. Although medications cannot treat PCOS, they do help to lessen PCOS symptoms and protect against some health issues.
Main Causes of PCOS in Females
There is no known precise cause of PCOS. Factors like the following could be involved:
1. Excess insulin
The hormone insulin, which is made in the pancreas, enables cells to use sugar, the body’s main source of energy. Your blood sugar levels may increase and your body may produce more insulin if your cells become less responsive to the effects of insulin. Extra insulin may boost the production of androgen, making ovulation challenging.
2. Low-Grade Inflammation
According to research, ovaries in PCOS women are stimulated to generate androgens leading to inflammation and obesity which may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
According to research, several genes may be linked to PCOS.
4. Excess Androgen
Hirsutism and acne are caused by unusually high quantities of androgen in the ovaries.
Common PCOS Symptoms
During puberty, PCOS signs and symptoms often start to appear around the time of the first menstrual cycle. PCOS can occasionally appear later, for instance in reaction to significant weight gain.
Different patients have different signs of PCOS. It is diagnosed when you have at least two of the following symptoms:
1. Irregular Periods
Menstrual periods that are irregular, protracted, or infrequent are the most common symptom of PCOS. For instance, your menstrual cycles may take longer than 35 days, you may have excessively heavy periods, or you might have less than nine periods per year.
2. Excess Androgen
Physical signs of excessive quantities of male hormones include hirsutism (excessive body and facial hair), severe acne, and male-pattern baldness.
3. Polycystic Ovaries
It’s possible that your ovaries are enlarged and have follicles around the eggs. As a result, the ovaries may stop functioning on a regular basis.
If you’re obese, PCOS symptoms will likely be more severe. In addition to ovarian cysts, additional common PCOS symptoms include:
- Irregular menses
- Excess androgen levels
- Sleep apnea
- High-stress levels
- High blood pressure
- Skin tags
- Acne, oily skin, and dandruff
- High cholesterol and triglycerides
- Acanthosis nigricans, or dark patches of skin
- Female pattern balding
- Insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
- Pelvic pain
- Depression and anxiety
- Weight management difficulties
- Excessive facial and body hair growth
- Decreased libido
When to See a Doctor?
Consult a medical professional if you have questions about your menstrual cycles, if you’re having trouble getting pregnant, or if you show symptoms of an excess of androgens such as worsening hirsutism, acne, or male-pattern baldness.
PCOS can interfere with a woman’s menstrual cycles and make it more challenging to conceive. High quantities of male hormones can also cause undesirable symptoms, such as unwanted body and facial hair development. The initial PCOS treatment that doctors suggest is lifestyle modifications and they usually have positive results.
Weight loss can alleviate common PCOS symptoms and increase the likelihood of conception. To lose weight, combine aerobic activity with a healthy diet.
If lifestyle changes are unsuccessful, medication may be an alternative. Metformin and birth control pills can potentially help with symptoms of PCOS problem in females by restoring more regular menstrual periods.