Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder that affects women. It is caused by an imbalance in the levels of certain hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone.
The syndrome can cause irregular or no menstrual periods, acne, excess facial hair growth, obesity, insulin resistance, and eventual type 2 diabetes. In some cases, it can lead to infertility problems too.
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
It’s estimated that 1 in 10 women have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a common hormone disorder. It can affect women of any age, but it’s most common between the ages of 18 and 40.
In PCOS, there is an imbalance of hormones—namely testosterone and estrogen—which can disrupt the menstrual cycle and cause irregular periods, infertility, acne on the face or back, and other symptoms like excess hair growth on the chin or upper lip.
Although there is no cure for PCOS yet, managing it with medication may help control your symptoms. You can also manage your condition by making lifestyle changes such as losing weight if you’re overweight or changing your diet to include more fruits and vegetables.
Causes of PCOS
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. However, researchers believe that it may have something to do with hormones and genetics. Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through your body and tell cells what to do. In PCOS, there seems to be an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen, which can disrupt ovulation.
In addition, researchers believe that insulin resistance may also be a factor.
Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use sugar for energy. If you have too much insulin in your blood after eating, it can cause your ovaries to produce testosterone instead of estrogen.
If you have a parent that has PCOS, your chances of developing the condition are very high. And if you have PCOS, your chances of passing it to your children increase.
The good news is that you cannot catch PCOS from another person, and being diagnosed with PCOS does not mean you have a mental illness or disease.
How to Recognize If You Have PCOS
PCOS is a difficult condition to diagnose, but there are some symptoms that can help you determine if you have it.
The most obvious sign of PCOS is irregular periods. In addition to this, other common symptoms include infertility and acne. Excess hair growth on the face, arms, and legs may also be present in patients with PCOS.
Doctors diagnose women with polycystic ovary syndrome through physical examination and taking a medical history from the patient. They often rely on blood tests as well as ultrasounds to confirm their diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome.
PCOS is commonly misdiagnosed as depression because both conditions share some similar symptoms such as excess hair growth or irregular menstruation cycles which leads patients to seek treatment for depression instead of PCOS.
Doctors may also misdiagnose PCOS as diabetes or hyperthyroidism because they share some similar symptoms.
Women with PCOS often experience a wide range of emotional symptoms such as depression, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings.
These symptoms can be exacerbated by the condition itself as well as the medications that are used to treat it. Some women with PCOS also experience fatigue, headaches, and pain in their ovaries or pelvic area.
Treatments for PCOS
Polycystic ovarian syndrome can be treated in several different ways. Your doctor may prescribe birth control pills to help regulate your menstrual cycles and treat acne.
Lifestyle changes such as weight loss and exercise are other ways to reduce the symptoms associated with PCOS.
If the symptoms of PCOS are severe, your doctor may prescribe a medication called metformin. This drug helps regulate insulin levels in your body and can help reduce hair growth on your face and body as well as improve ovulation.
There are also other treatment options such as insulin-sensitizing medications, fertility drugs, and surgery. If you’re interested in learning more about PCOS or any other condition or disease, visit our website to learn more.
It is also advised to avoid sugar-sweetened drinks that can trigger an insulin response in your body that leads to inflammation within your ovaries.
Weight loss has been shown to improve hormone levels and reduce symptoms such as acne or excess facial hair growth.
The Effects of PCOS on a Woman’s Life
Women with PCOS have high levels of male hormones called androgens. These can interfere with ovulation and make it difficult for them to conceive. Over time this can cause problems such as:
- Hair loss
- Irregular or no periods
- Painful periods
- Difficulty becoming pregnant (Infertility)
- Miscarriage in early pregnancy
- Excess hair growth on the face, chest, back, and thighs
- Skin conditions like acne or oily skin
- Weight gain around the middle part of your body
Changes You Can Make to Help Manage Symptoms and Reduce the Risk
You can make changes to your lifestyle to manage PCOS symptoms and reduce the risk of other conditions.
These include: Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables. Getting regular physical activity, such as walking or swimming for at least 30 minutes a day.
Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise. You can aim for a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 (healthy weight).
Managing stress by practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga. Quitting smoking if you smoke because can increase insulin resistance and blood sugar levels.
If you put all these into practice, you can help manage your PCOS symptoms and reduce the risk of other health problems.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone disorder that affects women. It is a condition that disrupts the balance of hormones and can cause irregular periods, unwanted hair growth, weight gain, and infertility.
It can also increase your risk of developing diabetes or high blood pressure in later life.
PCOS does not affect your life expectancy or cause serious health problems. However, it can be distressing for many women because it results in symptoms such as menstrual irregularities, excessive facial and body hair growth, acne, and difficulty losing weight.
If you think you have PCOS or are worried about any changes to your body shape or behavior please contact your GP for advice
PCOS can be treated, so if you suspect that you may have polycystic ovary syndrome, talk to your doctor. The sooner you get treatment, the better off you will be in the long run!