What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common health issues faced by women around the world.
In simple words it’s a condition which causes a major imbalance in a woman’s hormonal levels which has an impact on their overall health and the way they look.
So, before getting into the details of what are its symptoms and providing you with an effective treatment plan for PCOS, we will first talk about how this condition is becoming a common dilemma for women everywhere.
Will I Get PCOS?
If you have PCOS, you are most likely not having a healthy menstrual cycle.
This is the first sign that there’s trouble.
This is due to the fact that the hormonal imbalance is impacting the ovaries from making a healthy egg. This egg is needed as part of a healthy period and is released every month.
Now, what happens in PCOS is that the egg isn’t developed properly or it isn’t released properly.
This leads to missed or irregular periods. It causes fertility issues and women also develop cysts in the ovaries. They develop higher amount of male hormones ‘androgens’.
The other two hormones which are highly impacted by PCOS are ‘insulin’ which manages your blood sugar levels and PCOS may not allow your body to react to it properly. Also your ‘progesterone’ levels may be low with PCOS. This hormone helps to regulate your menstrual cycle and is a key player in getting you pregnant.
PCOS- a rising hormonal dilemma among women
It causes hormonal issues in women who fall in the age range of 15 till 44 years.
It doesn’t help that the number of cases are rising, in fact according to a recent study shared by PubMed, it was determined that around 70 per cent of women with PCOS hadn’t been diagnosed as of yet.
This means many women who have it aren’t even aware of it. Since there ovaries have cysts in them with immature eggs, ovulation is not triggered.
This in turn leads to alteration in the levels of hormones, including hormones like FSH and LH. It becomes a cause of concern, causing hindrance towards a healthy lifestyle with balanced hormonal levels.
Looking At PCOS Symptoms:
Now that we have a fair idea on what exactly defines PCOS, we will look directly into the many symptoms you can be on the lookout for, so to determine if you have this condition or not:
*The first and foremost condition is you have been trying to have a baby for about 12 months or so with no positive results. It is time to have that consultation with your doctor.
* Also be on the lookout for irregular very light periods or missing them completely while not being pregnant.
*You are sending weight gain, specifically around the abdomen area
*Feeling a sense of excessive facial hair-which is uncommon in women
*There is thinning of hair
*The appearance of skin tags, especially around armpits and necks
*You have oily skin more than often
*Unexplained headaches which may trigger out of nowhere
*There is darkening of skin around certain areas, especially the armpits, neck area and around breasts.
*You have acne which remains uncontrollable and breaks out often
What Causes PCOS?
So now we know what physical issues are depicting that there is a cause of concern. But why you are subjected to PCOS? What are the reasons you have it?
Interestingly, the reasons as to why one woman will have PCOS and another might not is still pretty unclear.
Despite the fact that it was in 1935, according to Wikipedia, when doctors first diagnosed the syndrome based on the symptoms associated with it like facial hair growth, weight gain, irregular periods, and large ovaries with an abundance of eggs (so-called “cysts”), the exact cause is still unknown.
However, the good news is, doctors have been looking at various cases and were able to form a pattern around which women are most likely to have this syndrome develop. Let’s check out the results:
Women who are insulin-resistant, which means their body can’t administer insulin properly, will have higher levels of androgen. And this makes for a high probability for PCOS symptoms to appear.
Those who are obese also have increase amounts of insulin in the body which in turn leads to PCOS. It has been determined by PubMed: that about up to 70 per cent of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, meaning that their cells can’t use insulin properly.
Obesity and Inflammation Contribute To PCOS
According to ScienceDirect, genes play a very strong role as a determinant of PCOS. This condition is highly likely to run in the family. Also more than one set of genes can be termed as a contributor to PCOS.
Obesity is also a contributing factor, which coupled with insulin-resistance, leads to higher chances of you developing type 2 diabetes, all playing a part in developing PCOS.
Obese women have higher levels of inflammation which can lead to higher levels of male hormones- in turn leading to a rise in the PCOS syndrome.
The PCOS Diagnosis
It is never too late to determine if you have PCOS or not. The first step is making the decision to have yourself checked out at a certified, reputable clinic like Dr.Amal Al Qedrah .
Your doctor will have a brief overview of your medical history and will check if you have any of the symptoms discussed earlier. Aside from that you will also face a pelvic examination so as to know the condition of your reproductive organs. As well as a blood test to see glucose levels in the body.
You will also have a couple of blood tests to determine the level of androgens and progesterone in the body.
Also an ultrasound for PCOS will check if the size of the ovaries is normal and whether they have cysts or not.
How to Treat PCOS?
Now we know what this syndrome is, how to determine if we have it or not and how does it happen in the first place.
And while there exists some ambiguity regarding how PCOS happens, the good news is that you can manage PCOS.
There are treatments plans your qualified medical expert will create for you. And these will majorly depend on factors like your age, what PCOS symptoms you are facing, your age and any medical illnesses in your history.
For cases which are obese and have Type 2 Diabetes, your doctors will most likely prescribe you to a certain drug called ‘met formin’.
The main purpose of this medication is to control high blood sugar. Its major impact is to restore the body’s natural response to the production of insulin. Hence it helps with PCOS by contributing towards the lowering of insulin resistance.
Also if you aren’t planning to have a baby, PCOS can also be controlled by your doctor prescribing you with certain birth control pills. This helps to get your menstrual cycle in order. It also helps with the other symptoms of PCOS, i.e. it controls acne as well as helps in lessening the facial hair.
However, for those who wish to get pregnant, the treatment will include a set of other medications to be administered in an orderly fashion.
These would include in you gearing to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This means not just eating healthy but also adapting an active exercise regime in your life. This helps for you to lose weight and reduce majority of the PCOS symptoms, including lowering sugar levels as well as better ovulation prospects.
Ovulation medication also depends largely upon the individual’s medical history and other relating health factors.
So now we have a complete overview on what PCOS consists of.
We had a detailed look into how PCOS causes three main issues. It leads to the creation of cysts in the ovaries, while causing high levels of male hormones to arise in the body. Also it causes for women to have irregular or skipped periods.
Also the majority of symptoms you face if you have this very common syndrome, include infertility, thinning of hair, headaches, excessive facial hair, among others.
It was also mentioned how the concrete causes of PCOS are still not clear, however we have been able to determine that women can be subjected to it on the basis of concerns like obesity, having family history, as well as being on the spectrum of insulin-resistance.
However, there is still hope. You can manage your PCOS. This post talked about ways in which customized treatments plans can be made, according to an individual’s personal medical history and standing.
PCOS is a common syndrome but it is highly manageable. Determine your symptoms and book a consultation with a certified expert to see what works for you best. It’s never too late to get treated.