Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a symptom that affects female hormone levels.

Women with PCOS produce more than normal  male hormones. This hormone imbalance makes it more difficult to skip the menstrual cycle and become pregnant.

PCOS also causes hair growth and baldness in the face and body. And can contribute to long-term health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

Contraceptives and diabetes medications can help improve hormone imbalances and improve symptoms.

What is PCOS?
PCOS is a hormonal problem that affects women during the delivery period (15 to 44 years). Of the women in this age group, 2.2% to 26.7% have PCOS

Many women have PCOS but do not know. In one study, 70% of women with PCOS were not diagnosed

PCOS affects the reproductive organs that produce estrogen and progesterone hormones that regulate female ovaries and menstrual cycles. The ovaries also produce a small amount of male hormone called androgens.

The ovaries are laid to be modified by human sperm. The secretion of an egg every month is called ovulation.

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) control ovulation. FSH stimulates the ovary to create a follicle-containing pouch and then secretes mature oocytes from the ovary.

PCOS is a "syndrome" or symptom group that affects the ovaries and ovulation. The three main features are:
  • Ovarian cyst
  • A high level of male hormone
  • Irregular or omitted period
In PCOS, many small liquid-filled pockets grow inside the ovaries. The word "polycystic" means "many cysts".

These pockets are actually hair follicles, and each state contains immature eggs. Eggs are never mature enough to cause ovulation.

Lack of ovulation changes estrogen, progesterone, FSH, and LH. Estrogen and progesterone levels are lower than usual, but androgen levels are higher than usual.

Extra male hormones interfere with the menstrual cycle, so women with PCOS will have a shorter cycle than usual.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects nearly 27% of women over the years during pregnancy period. It involves cysts in the ovaries, high levels of male hormones and irregular periods.

What causes it?
Doctors do not know exactly what causes PCOS. They think its high levels of male hormones which affects ovulation and can not make eggs as normal.
Genes, insulin resistance, and inflammation all contribute to androgen production.

  • Gene

Studies have shown that PCOS runs in families. Multiple genes, rather than one gene, are likely to contribute to condition
  • Insulin resistance
Up to 70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, which means that cells can not use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas to help the body use sugar in food for energy.

If cells can not use insulin properly, your body's insulin demand will increase. The pancreas replenishes insulin. Extra insulin causes the ovaries to produce more male hormones.

Obesity is a major cause of insulin resistance. Both obesity and insulin resistance can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Inflammation
Women with PCOS often have increase inflammation levels within the body. Overweight can also cause inflammation. Studies have shown that excessive inflammation is associated with elevated levels of androgens

Common Symptoms of PCOS

Some women start to see symptoms in the first period. Others found PCOS after a lot of weight gain or difficulty in getting pregnant.

The most common PCOS symptoms are:
  1. Irregular period: Lack of ovulation prevents the endometrium from flowing out every month. Some women with PCOS have less than eight menstrual period per year 
  2. Severe bleeding: The endometrium may take longer to heal than normal.
  3. Hair growth: More than 70% of women in this state grow hair on their face and body. Includes back, stomach, and chest. Excessive hair growth is called hirsutism.
  4. Acne: Male hormones can make your skin more fat than usual, causing breakouts on your face, chest, and stomach.
  5. Weight gain: 80% of PCOS patients are overweight or obese
  6. Male baldness: The hair on the scalp tapers and falls.
  7. Darkening of the skin: Dark patches of skin can form on the neck, groin, and body wrinkles beneath the chest.
  8. Headache: Changes in hormones can cause headaches in some women.

PCOS reduces the cycle by interrupting the menstrual cycle. Acne, hair growth, weight gain and dark skin patches are other symptoms of this symptom.

The effect of PCOS on the body

Higher than androgen levels can affect fertility and health status.
  • Infertility : To get pregnant, you need ovulation. Women who do not regularly ovulate do not release enough eggs to be fertilized. PCOS is one of the major causes of female infertility
  • Metabolic syndrome: Up to 80% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. Both obesity and PCOS increase the risk for high blood pressure, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, and high LDL cholesterol. Together, these factors are called metabolic syndrome and increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
  • Sleep apnea: This condition interrupts sleep by repeatedly interrupting breathing at night. Sleep apnea is more common in overweight women, especially in women with PCOS. Sleep apnea risk for obese women without PCOS is 5-10 times higher than for women without PCOS.
  • Endometrial cancer: During ovulation, the endometrium flows out. If you do not ovulate each month, you may get lining thickening. Thickening of endometrial cancer can increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
  •  Depression: hormonal changes and unwanted hair growth can all have a negative impact on your emotions. Many people with PCOS experience depression and anxiety 
Hormonal imbalances can affect women's health in many ways. PCOS can increase the risk for infertility, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, endometrial cancer and depression.

PCOS diagnostic method

Doctors generally diagnose PCOS in women with at least two of the three symptoms
  • High androgen levels
  • An irregular menstrual cycle
  • Ovarian cyst
Doctors should also ask whether they have symptoms such as acne, facial and body hair growth and weight gain.
Pelvic examinations can find problems in the ovaries or other parts of the reproductive organs. During this test, the doctor inserts gloved fingers into the vagina and checks the growth of the ovaries or uterus.

Blood tests check male hormone levels above normal. You can also take blood tests to check for cholesterol, insulin, and triglyceride levels to assess your risk for related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Ultrasound uses sound waves to look for abnormal follicles and other problems related to the ovaries and uterus.
PCOS interferes with the normal menstrual cycle and makes pregnancy difficult. Seventy to eighty percent of women with PCOS have fertility problems .
This condition can also increase the risk of pregnancy complications.

PCOS patients are twice as likely as women who do not have the condition to supply the baby early on. They also have a higher risk of miscarriage, hypertension, and gestational diabetes .

However, women with PCOS can get pregnant using infertility treatments that improve ovulation. Losing weight and lowering blood sugar levels increases the chances of a healthy pregnancy.

Diet and lifestyle tips for PCOS treatment

PCOS therapy usually begins with lifestyle changes such as weight loss, diet, and exercise.
Losing only 5-10% of your weight can regulate the menstrual cycle and improve PCOS symptoms. Weight loss also increases cholesterol, lowers insulin, and reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
You can stay healthy with a diet that helps you lose weight. However, some diets may have benefits over other diets.

A comparison of diets for PCOS found that a low-carb diet is effective in reducing weight and reducing insulin levels. A low-GI diet that obtains most carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps better regulate the menstrual cycle than a regular weight loss diet.

Several studies have shown that a workout that can help women with PCOS lose is 30 minutes of moderate workouts of about 3 days a week. Exercise to lose weight also improves ovulation and insulin levels.
Exercise is more effective when combined with a healthy diet. Dietary + exercise helps reduce weight more than mediating alone and lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease

General treatment

Contraceptives and other medicines can help regulate the menstrual cycle and treat PCOS symptoms like hair growth and acne.
  • Birth control
Daily doses of estrogen and progestin restore normal hormone balance, regulate ovulation, relieve symptoms such as excessive hair growth, and prevent endometrial cancer. This hormone comes in pills, patches or vaginal rings.
  • Metformin
Metformin is a treatment for type 2 diabetes. It also treats PCOS by improving insulin levels.

According to one study, taking metformin while changing dieting and exercise improves weight loss, lowers blood sugar, and regains normal menstrual cycle by diet and exercise alone
  • Clomiphene
Clomiphene (Clomid) is a steroid drug that helps PCOS patients get pregnant. However, the risk of twin and multiple births increases
  • Hair removal agent
Some treatments can help eliminate unwanted hair or stop it from growing. Laser hair removal and electrolysis can remove unwanted hair from the face and body.
  • Surgery
Surgery can be an option to improve fertility if other treatments do not work. Ovarian drilling is a procedure to restore normal ovulation by making a small hole in the ovary with a laser or a thin heating needle.

When to see your doctor

Please see a doctor if you:

  • Missed your period and you were not pregnant.
  • Have PCOS symptoms such as hair growth on the face and body.
  • There are diabetic symptoms such as excessive thirst, hunger, blurred vision, and unexplained weight loss.
  • If you have PCOS, visit your doctor regularly. Regular inspections are needed to check for diabetes, high blood pressure and other possible complications
In conclusion
PCOS interferes with women's menstrual cycle and makes pregnancy difficult. High levels of male hormones can cause unwanted symptoms, such as facial and body hair growth.

Lifestyle mediation is the first cure recommended by doctors to PCOS and often works well. Weight loss can treat PCOS symptoms and increase your chances of becoming pregnant. Diet and aerobic exercises are two effective ways to lose weight.

If lifestyle changes do not work, you should take the medicine. Contraceptives and Metformin can regain normal menstrual cycles and relieve PCOS symptoms.

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