What is PCOS?




Polycystic Ovary Syndrome(PCOS) is a problem with hormones that affects 1 in 10 women

during their childbearing years (ages 15 to 44). What PCOS does is, it causes normal functioning of the ovaries, filled with follicles containing an immature egg that does not mature enough to be released, leading to no ovulation, thereby messing up the regular menstrual cycle.


While PCOS is not a curable condition, symptoms of PCOS are quite manageable and often, the treatment doesn't need medications. Consult your gynaecologist for the best suited treatment.

We will soon update the signs, symptoms, effects and treatment of PCOS in detail in upcoming posts.


Common Symptoms of PCOS


  • Irregular periods. A lack of ovulation prevents the uterine lining from shedding every month. Some women with PCOS get fewer than eight periods a year or none at all.

  • Heavy bleeding. The uterine lining builds up for a longer period of time, so the periods you do get can be heavier than normal.

  • Hair growth. More than 70 percent of women with this condition grow hair on their face and body — including on their back, belly, and chest. Excess hair growth is called hirsutism.

  • Acne. Male hormones can make the skin oilier than usual and cause breakouts on areas like the face, chest, and upper back.

  • Weight gain. Up to 80 percent of women with PCOS are overweight or have obesity.

  • Male pattern baldness. Hair on the scalp gets thinner and may fall out.

  • Darkening of the skin. Dark patches of skin can form in body creases like those on the neck, in the groin, and under the breasts.

  • Headaches. Hormone changes can trigger headaches in some women.


Complications of PCOS can include:


  • Infertility - Pregnancy can occur only if you ovulate. Since PCOS interferes with ovulation, it can lead to infertility. In fact, PCOS problems are a leading cause of infertility in women.

  • Gestational diabetes or pregnancy induced high blood pressure

  • Miscarriage or premature birth

  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis — a severe liver inflammation caused by fat accumulation in the liver

  • Metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol.

  • Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes

  • Sleep apnea - in sleep apnea, momentary breaks in breathing throughout the night interrupt sleep. It is more common in obese women with PCOS.

  • Depression, anxiety and eating disorders

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding - Cancer of the uterine lining (endometrial cancer)

  • Obesity is associated with PCOS and can worsen complications of the disorder.


How is PCOS Treated ?



Diet

Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can help regulate your menstrual cycle and

improve PCOS symptoms. Weight loss can also:

  • improve cholesterol levels

  • lower insulin

  • reduce heart disease and diabetes risks

Exercise

A few studies have found that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least 3 days a week can help women with PCOS lose weight. Exercise is even more beneficial when combined with a healthy diet. Diet plus exercise helps you lose more weight than either intervention alone.


Birth Control

Taking progestin daily can:

  • restore a normal hormone balance

  • regulate ovulation

  • relieve symptoms like excess hair growth

  • protect against endometrial cancer

These hormones come in a pill, patch, or vaginal ring.


Metformin

Metformin (Glucophage, Fortamet) is a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes. It also treats PCOS by improving insulin levels.


Excess Hair Loss

Laser hair removal and electrolysis can get rid of unwanted hair on your face and body.


Surgery

Ovarian drilling is a procedure that makes tiny holes in the ovary with a laser or thin heated

needle to restore normal ovulation.