What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder and is common among women who have reached the reproductive age.
Women with Polycystic ovary syndrome may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods. They may also have excess male hormone (androgen) levels.
The ovaries, under this circumstance, tends to develop numerous small groups of fluid (follicles).They fail to release eggs regularly.
The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is still unknown. Early diagnosis is a definite advantage.
Treatment along with a rigorous weight loss regime goes a long way in reducing, the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Symptoms of Polycystic ovary syndrome
The signs and symptoms of polycystic ovary syndromeare often observed around the time of the first menstrual period during puberty. But that does not happen always.
Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS, occurs much later, primarily because of weight gain.
The symptoms which suggest of PCOS are:
- Irregular periods: This is a classic symptom which appears for an individual suffering from PCOS. It is also the most common symptom, though there are other ailments which have similar symptoms. The gap between the menstrual cycles may be as high as 35 days or more,and that would make less than periods a year. And when they happen, it usually is abnormally heavy.
- Excessive secretion of Androgen: PCOS often leads to excessive secretion of Androgen or male hormone which may lead to a transformation in physical signs. Classic examples are the growth of facial and body hair also known as Hirsutism. Other symptoms that may appear are the sudden appearance of acne and baldness, like what males suffer from.
- Polycystic Ovaries: The ovaries will enlarge and get surrounded by follicles. This may lead to the ovaries failing to function properly.
The most pressing point to remember is that these symptoms will be severe if one is more obese. Weight gain is the most important factor that leads to PCOS.
What causes PCOS?
The exact causes of PCOS are still yet to be ascertained. The exactness of its nature is still under research. The possible causes that lead to PCOS are:
- Excessive secretion of Insulin: Pancreas produces insulin. This helps the cells to use sugar, which is indeed the body’s primary source of energy. There are circumstances when the cell becomes resistant to the activities of Insulin, in which case the content of sugar rises in the blood. This has a cyclical effect on the body. It gives a higher push to the production of Insulin. Excessive Insulin in the body will give rise to an increased production of Androgen. This leads to a difficulty in ovulation.
- Inflammation: It has been observed that at times individuals suffering from PCOS have inflammation, which is low-grade by nature that leads the polycystic ovaries to produce anexcess of Androgen. Low-grade Inflammation is the term used to explain the production of substances by the white blood cells to fight infection. Such an inflammation often leads to heart and blood vessel issues.
- Genetic: And this is up to more research, but initial findings do suggest that PCOS may be linked to the presence of certain genes.
- Excessive secretion of Androgen: This is again a case of the cyclical effect of PCOS. Excessive secretion of the male hormone, Androgen, which will lead to the growth of facial and body hair also known as Hirsutism. The sudden presence of acne is also its symptom.
Now that we know the apparent reasons and the symptoms of PCOS let us now have a quick look at what are the usual complications this ailment leads to:
The likely complications are:
- Infertility: Because of the presence of polycystic ovaries, infertility is a major occurrence.
- Gestational diabetes: This is the kind of diabetes which occur during pregnancy. This is essentially a pregnancy induced occurrence and can also appear to individuals with no prior cases of diabetes.
- Miscarriage: The possibility of a miscarriage or even a premature delivery has been observed for patients suffering from PCOS.
- Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis: This is an extreme possibility. Here the liver suffers from extreme inflammation caused by fat accumulation.
- Unusual Metabolic Syndrome: This is not a single occurrence but a combination of conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal levels of cholesterol or triglyceride. This leads to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Diabetes: Or predominantly Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes in any form is a dangerous condition. Especially for individuals suffering from PCOS.
- Depression: Coupled with Anxiety and eating disorders, PCOS does influence the behavioral pattern of the individual.
- Abnormal bleeding in the Uterus
- Cancer: This is again an extreme occurrence but is not abnormal. Cancer usually occurs in the uterine lining and is also known as endometrial cancer.