Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects the endocrine system, sex hormone levels, and metabolism. This leads to the egg not maturing and no ovulation, as well as cysts forming on the ovaries. PCOS can have an impact on a woman's overall health, appearance, and fertility. It is estimated that 5-10% of women worldwide aged 15-44 years have PCOS and it is often diagnosed when a woman is seeking help with conception. It is treatable but it can take time. The risk of PCOS is higher if there is a hereditary factor and if the woman is overweight.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is caused by an imbalance in hormones, including an increase in the production of male sex hormones (androgens). Symptoms and signs of PCOS include irregular menstrual cycles, loss of periods, being overweight, increased appetite, greasy skin and inflamed acne, hair breaking or shedding, hair loss and excess hair growth on the chest, abdomen, back, hips, chin, or above the upper lip. These symptoms may not necessarily indicate the disease, but they are reason enough to consult a doctor.
Getting irregular periods
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a disorder that disrupts the normal functioning of the ovaries, resulting in irregular periods and ovulation. It is caused by elevated levels of male sex hormones, which can cause the ovaries to form cysts and prevent eggs from being released. This can also lead to a lack of estrogen and progesterone, hormones necessary for regular menstrual cycles, resulting in infrequent or prolonged periods. The condition can be managed with persistence and patience.
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial in treating PCOS. The condition is often accompanied by a reduced sensitivity to insulin, which can lead to increased appetite. A balanced diet and regular physical activity are important in breaking this cycle and promoting normal levels of androgens and better insulin absorption. Gradual weight loss can also help normalize carbohydrate and fat metabolism, making it easier to control food intake.
Frequently asked questions on PCOS:
1. How do you test for polycystic ovary syndrome?
There isn’t a specific test that’s used to diagnose PCOS. A doctor will perform a physical examination to rule out abnormalities, an ultrasound to check your ovaries and uterus, and blood tests to determine hormone levels.
2. Can you get rid of polycystic ovary syndrome?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for PCOS yet, but the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome can be managed with healthy lifestyle changes, losing weight, and hormonal birth control.
3. What is the main cause of polycystic ovary syndrome?
The exact cause of polycystic ovarian syndrome isn’t known, but research has found that a higher risk of PCOS can be inherited.
4. Is tiredness a symptom of PCOS?
Yes, fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome.
5. Can you get pregnant if you have polycystic ovaries?
PCOS can make natural conception difficult or impossible, but reaching a healthy weight and certain medications can help regulate ovulation.
6. What is the fastest way to cure PCOS?
Although PCOS can’t be cured, there are many ways to regulate its symptoms, including adopting healthy lifestyle habits and losing weight.
7. Can I have PCOS and have regular periods?
It’s not common, but some women do experience regular periods while dealing with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
8. Can polycystic ovarian syndrome go away on its own?
In some cases, making healthier lifestyle choices and using hormonal birth control can eliminate the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome.
9. Can polycystic ovaries turn into cancer?
The cysts in your ovaries aren’t dangerous and won’t turn into cancer, but women with PCOS carry a slightly increased risk of developing cancer of the endometrium.
10. Does PCOS get worse with age?
Unfortunately, it can. Older women with PCOS tend to gain more weight and symptoms such as hirsutism and hair loss can worsen.