Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects 5% – 10% of women of childbearing age, with less than 50% of women diagnosed, which leaves millions of women undiagnosed.
PCOS is responsible for 70% of infertility issues in women, studies have shown that 40% of patients with diabetes and/or glucose intolerance between the ages of 20 – 50 years have PCOS. It is affecting the lives of over 10 million women worldwide, it is time to take a stand.
What is polycystic ovarian syndrome?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS is a common endocrine system disorder that affect women of reproductive age. It is a condition in which a woman’s levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance. This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries), enlarged ovaries that contain small collections of fluid.
PCOS can cause problems with your periods and make it difficult to get pregnant. Infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne and obesity can all occur in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome signs and symptoms often begin soon after a woman first begins having period. In some cases, PCOS develops later during the reproductive years.
Doctors don’t know the exact cause of PCOS, but these factors may play a role:
Excess Insulin: Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that allow cells to use sugar (glucose). If you have insulin resistance, your ability to use insulin effectively is impaired, and your pancreas has to secrete more insulin to make glucose available to cells.
Heredity: Genetics plays a role in the causes of PCOS. Women are more likely to develop PCOS if their mother or sister also has the condition.
Androgen: Over production of the hormone androgen may be another factor contributing to PCOS. Androgen is a male sex hormone that women’s body also produce. Women with PCOS often produce higher-than-normal levels of androgen. This can affect the development and release of eggs during ovulation. Excess insulin might also affect the ovaries by increasing androgen production, which may interfere with the ovaries” ability to ovulate.
PCOS symptoms vary from one woman to the other. The symptoms typically starts soon after a woman begins to menstruate. The most common characteristics of PCOS is irregular menstrual periods. Symptoms tend to mild at first and you may only have a few symptoms or a lot of them. The most common symptoms are:
How Is PCOS Diagnosed?
To be diagnosed with PCOS, your doctor looks for some of the following:
Having polycystic ovarian syndrome may make the following conditions more likely, especially if obesity is also a factor:
Treatment for PCOS is not curative. Treatment focuses on controlling symptoms and managing the condition to prevent complications. The treatment will vary from woman to woman, depending on specific symptoms.
Your first step towards managing PCOS is getting regular exercise, not smoking and having a healthy diet.
If you are overweight, even a small weight loss may help to balance your hormones. This may also start up your menstrual cycle and regular ovulation. If you smoke, give some serious thought into quitting, as women who smoke have higher levels of androgen (male hormones)
Consulting a gynecologist to advice you on the different treatments available will be best in managing PCOS.