Poly cystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS) is a condition that affects women where the number of hormones is high in women. This hormonal disturbance can lead to menstrual abnormalities and cause male pattern hair growth on females and cause male pattern baldness. It can also make it difficult for those affected with this condition to get pregnant and they are at higher risk to develop metabolic syndrome like diabetes mellitus 2 and heart diseases.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a condition that affects women in their reproductive ages. Many women with PCOS don’t even know they have PCOS. This condition is characterized by higher levels of male hormones called androgen. Ovaries are the reproductive organs in women which produce hormones called estrogens and progesterone, the hormones that are necessary to maintain the menstrual cycle.
Each month the ovaries release an egg in a process called ovulation. This process is controlled by hormones secreted by pituitary gland called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).PCOS affects ovaries and the ovaries, the main features are cysts in the ovaries, high levels of hormones called androgen, irregular or skipped periods.
The characteristic sign of PCOS is the presence of many sacs or cysts that are found on ovaries. These contain an immature egg that are not mature for ovulation. Since there is no ovulation the levels of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone are low and androgen are higher.
What are the causes of PCOS?
The exact causes of PCOS are not known, there are many factors’ genes, insulin resistance and inflammation.
No one gene is linked in fact there are many.
Insulin resistance describes a situation where the body doesn’t respond to insulin properly.
Insulin is important to convert sugar to glycogen and store them. The main reason for insulin resistance is obesity.
In women with PCOS it has been observed that their levels of inflammation are high. Being overweight has been linked to higher levels of inflammation.
The signs and symptoms of PCOS
- Most common presentation is irregular period, since ovulation is absent the uterus doesn’t undergo the usual shedding of the uterus. Heavy bleeding, the lining in the uterus can thicken over long time and when it sheds the bleeding can be heavy. Hair growth, growth of hair is seen on face and body, this hair growth is called hirsutism
- Acne, because androgen is high, their skin is oilier and are more prone to develop acne and weight gain, most women with PCOS are overweight.
- Darkening of the skin can be seen and headaches are also common.
The mainstay of management is weight reduction. If you are looking for weight loss solutions Australia has many options. Medications that can be used are birth control pills, metformin and clomiphene and surgery.
PCOS is diagnosed if at least two of these are present: high androgen levels, cysts in ovary and irregular menstrual cycles. Pelvic examination is done and blood tests to check for high androgen levels and other tests, for cholesterol, insulin and triglyceride levels and ultrasound detects the cysts in the ovary.