PCOS, also known as a polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common health problem caused by a hormonal imbalance in the female reproductive system.
The ovaries experience problems as a result of the hormonal imbalance.
Each month, as part of a healthy menstrual cycle, the ovaries produce an egg that is released. The egg may not develop properly or be released during ovulation as it should be if you have PCOS.
Menstrual periods may be missed or irregular as a result of PCOS. Irregular periods can result in:
• Infertility (inability to get pregnant). In fact, PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility in women.
• Development of cysts (small fluid-filled sacs) in the ovaries. PCOS affects between 5% and 10% of women aged 15 to 44, or during the years when they can have children.
When women in their 20s and 30s have trouble getting pregnant and visit their doctor, they are most likely to be diagnosed with PCOS.
PCOS, on the other hand, can strike at any age after puberty.
PCOS affects women of all races and ethnicities. If you’re overweight or have a mother, sister, or aunt who has PCOS, you’re more likely to develop the condition.
The following are some of the signs and symptoms of PCOS:
- An irregular menstrual cycle. PCOS can cause women to miss or have fewer periods (fewer than eight in a year).
- Alternatively, their periods may occur every 21 days or more frequently. PCOS causes some women to stop having menstrual periods.
- Too much hair on the face, chin, or other body parts where men normally have hair. This is referred to as “hirsutism.” Up to 70% of women with PCOS suffer from hirsutism.
- Acne on the face, chest and upper back is a common ailment.
- Male-pattern baldness is characterized by thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp.
- Gaining weight or having trouble losing weight
- Skin discoloration, especially along neck creases, in the groin, and beneath the breasts.
- Skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area.
The exact cause of PCOS is not known. Most experts think that several factors, including genetics, play a role:
Androgen levels are high.
Androgens are sometimes referred to as “male hormones,” even though all women produce small amounts of them. Androgens are responsible for the development of male characteristics like male-pattern baldness. Women with PCOS have higher levels of androgens than women without the condition. Higher-than-normal androgen levels in women can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation) during each menstrual cycle, as well as cause excessive hair growth and acne, both of which are symptoms of PCOS.
Insulin levels are high.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates how food is converted into energy. Insulin resistance occurs when the cells of the body do not respond to insulin as they should. As a result, your insulin blood levels rise above normal levels. Insulin resistance affects many women with PCOS, particularly those who are overweight or obese, have unhealthy eating habits, do not get enough exercise, or have a family history of diabetes (usually type 2 diabetes). Insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes over time. Although there is no cure for PCOS, the symptoms can be managed.
Based on your symptoms, your plans for having children, and your risk of long-term health problems like diabetes and heart disease, you and your doctor will devise a treatment plan.
Many women will require a combination of therapies, such as
• Steps you can take at home to help relieve your symptoms
Researchers continue to search for new ways to treat PCOS. Some current studies focus on: • Genetics and PCOS • Environmental exposure and PCOS risk • Ethnic and racial differences in PCOS symptoms • Medicines and supplements to restart ovulation • Obesity and its link to PCOS • health risks for children of women with PCOS