What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) occurs in women at the beginning or during their reproductive age. This disorder occurs when ovaries produce excessive amounts of androgens, male sex hormones. Usually, a woman’s body excretes a very minute amount of this hormone.
PCOS refers to the numerous small cysts formed in the ovaries. These small sacs of fluid develop along the outer edge of the ovary, containing immature eggs. Unnecessary excessive androgen production in women may cause multiple follicles in the ovary. However, some women with PCOS do not have cysts, while others do.
7 Major Signs and Symptoms of PCOS
PCOS has a wide range of signs and symptoms, varying from individual to individual. These symptoms depend on their age, diet, lifestyle, etc. Some of these symptoms are
- Irregularity in the menstrual cycle
The prolonged or infrequent occurrence of the menstrual cycle is a prominent sign of PCOS. The menstrual flow, abnormally heavy or light flow may serve as an indication for a person to evaluate her lifestyle and consult a doctor.
Abnormal androgen production in females is a major sign of PCOs. This results in women experiencing various very prominent physical signs such as hirsutism on the chest, belly, and back or male pattern baldness.
- Weight Gain
Excessive weight gain in a short period, particularly in the lower abdomen region. Along with difficulty in shedding the excessive amount of weight gained.
Occurance of acne on various parts of your body along with the face. Especially if your skin isn’t oily or acne prone in general.
Being unable to or experiencing difficulty in conceiving is also a very clear sign that your body’s hormones are not working the way they ought to and so it becomes necessary to consult your gynecologist.
- Skin Tags
A skin tag is an excess sagging skin-like structure resembling a pimple in shape and size. The sudden appearance of skin tags on your body is a sign that you might be suffering from PCOs. These skin tags usually occur around the armpits or neck. However, PCOs are not the only reason for skin tags. They may appear on the skin due to a variety of other reasons too if they are not appearing because of PCOs.
- Dark patches on the skin
Dark patches on the skin that wasn’t there before, usually appearing under the breasts, around the neck, or the armpits, are also an indicator of PCOS.
What are the causes of PCOs?
What exactly causes PCOs is not determined completely. But it is well determined that women with PCOs usually have insulin resistance in their bodies. This means that an excess amount of insulin is produced and stored in their bodies resulting in elevated androgen production. Androgen is a male hormone, and its excessive production in the female body disrupts many of the normal reproductive processes in the body. It is also well established that women suffering from obesity are more likely to suffer from PCOs as compared to women who are not. Sometimes PCOs occur in females due to hereditary factors as well.
Below are some factors that might cause PCOs.
4 Major causes of PCOs
- Elevated levels of insulin in the body
Insulin, produced by the pancreas, allows sugar utilization in the body by breaking it down. If insulin production is disturbed or enhanced in the body, it may result in higher blood sugar and androgen levels. Elevated androgen in the body disrupts the healthy functioning of your reproductive system and disturbs ovulation.
- Elevated level of androgen
Excess production of the male hormone androgen in the female body disrupts the regular functioning of its reproductive system. Elevated levels of androgen can also cause acne in women, along with excessive facial and body hair (hirsutism).
- Low-grade inflammation.
In PCOS or inflammatory PCOS, a glucose spike in the blood may result in a woman experiencing oxidative stress. The body tends to stimulate an inflammatory response in counteracting oxidative stress. This is called chronic low-grade inflammation.
- Inherited factors
For many females, PCOS is a hereditary syndrome. Many women simply inherit PCOs from their grandmothers or mothers.
PCOs can have many short-term and long-term issues. Some of them are
- Difficulty in conceiving or even Infertility
- Issues in pregnancy or postpartum
- High Blood pressure
- Sudden mood swings due to hormonal imbalance in the body
- Diabetes type 2
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
- Metabolic syndrome
- Mental health issues such as anxiety disorders or depression
- Sleep disorders
- Binge eating disorder or other eating disorders
- Uterine bleeding
- Endometrial cancer
Obesity is associated with PCOS and can worsen complications of the disorder.
Diagnosis of PCOs
If you’re experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, consult your gynecologist at your earliest and have yourself examined. Your gynecologist will most likely suggest you for
- To study the size of the uterus and ovaries.
- To notice if there are any multiple small follicles in both ovaries
- Blood tests
- Study the level of androgens produced in the body.
- Monitor blood glucose level
- Monitor cholesterol level
- Monitor triglyceride level
How is PCOS treated?
Treatment for polycystic ovarian syndrome depends on several factors, such as age, disease severity, and overall health condition. Your PCOS treatment may include
- Adapting a healthy lifestyle with diet modifications.
- Incorporating exercise and an active way of living in your lifestyle.
- Medications to cause ovulation.
- Medication for diabetes.
- Birth control pills.
Difference between PCOS and PCOD
|PCOD is a condition where ovaries are partially mature and immature eggs are produced in the ovaries.||PCOS is a metabolic disorder and a more severe form of PCOD|
|A common disorder that occurs more usually than PCOS||Serious medical conditions where ovaries may cease to release new and healthy eggs.|
|Doesn’t affect fertility||This could lead to infertility or other issues in conceiving, during pregnancy, and postpartum.|
|PCOD is easily treatable and does not bring serious complications with it||Serious complications and long-term medical issues in some cases.|
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common hormone problem for women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have irregular menstrual flow, high androgen levels, and cysts on the ovaries. PCOs can have many short-term and long-term issues, including difficulty in conceiving or even Infertility, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart problems. Treatment for polycystic ovarian syndrome depends on several factors, such as age, disease severity, and overall health condition. It also depends on whether or not a woman plans to become pregnant.