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WHAT IS PCOS?

Mya Care Guest Blogger 13 Mar 2019
WHAT IS PCOS?

Disclaimer: Please note that Mya Care does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided is not intended to replace the care or advice of a qualified health care professional. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your health care regimen.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is common, affecting 1 in every ten women. It is a leading cause of female infertility and is responsible for a number of symptoms that can affect the body physically and emotionally. 

What causes PCOS?

The exact cause of PCOS is still unknown. Genetics and environmental factors are believed to be involved in the development of PCOS,

Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance. This means the body can't use insulin well. Insulin levels build up in the body and may cause higher androgen levels. Obesity can also increase insulin levels and make PCOS symptoms worse.

According to the NHS, PCOS may also run in families. It's common for sisters or a mother and daughter to have PCOS.

There are 3 main features of PCOS. 

  • Irregular periods – menstruation may be less or more frequent due to less frequent ovulation (release of an egg)
  • Excess androgen – high levels of "male hormones" which may cause physical signs such as excess facial or body hair
  • Polycystic ovaries – ovaries become enlarged and contain small fluid-filled sacs (follicles) that surround the eggs

If you have at least 2 of these features, you may be diagnosed with PCOS.

A diagnosis of PCOS is made various tests such as an ultrasound to look at the ovaries for cysts (which can be very small or large enough to warrant surgical removal) or blood work to check hormone levels. They may also do a physical exam to look for symptoms like facial hair or acne.

Some other common symptoms of PCOS symptoms include

  • Weight gain
  • Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks
  • Fertility Problems. Many women discover they have PCOS when they're trying to get pregnant and are unsuccessful.
  • Loss of hair on the scalp (also, called alopecia);
  • Acne breakouts on the face/body

Other common complications of PCOS include:

  • Sleep apnea or Sleep problems
  • Depression or Anxiety
  • Bleeding from the uterus and higher risk of uterine cancer
  • Inflammation of the liver
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
  • Diabetes (type 2)
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Elevated triglycerides / low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
  • Metabolic syndrome

What are the available treatments for PCOS?

Treatment PCOS varies dependent on symptoms. 

In overweight women, losing weight can make a great difference. Weight Loss of just 5% can lead to a significant improvement in PCOS. This can be done by making changes in the lifestyle such as improving diet and including exercise as part of a daily routine. In some cases

Hormone therapy, ovulation-inducing medication, and fertility treatments have been reported to help PCOS women with relieving the symptoms.

For cosmetic symptoms such as alopedica, acne, and excessive hair growth, various treatment may exist. Visit a dermatologist to see what options work best for you.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, then you may want to think about medical help. Visit your Primary Care or Family Doctor first who can help guide you to which doctor to visit next. This may include a gynecologist, or a endocrinologist. You can look up healthcare professionals across India, London, Singapore, Thailand, Dubai, Malaysia, on our free search engine.

Reference

  • https://www.pcoschallenge.org/what-is-pcos/
  • https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos/
  • https://www.health.com/infertility/pcos-causes-treatment
  • https://www.mymed.com/diseases-conditions/polycystic-ovarian-syndrome-pcos/what-are-the-most-common-complications-of-pcos
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