Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of childbearing age and causes problems with periods, fertility, and overall health.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a problem that affects many women. It can cause problems with your periods, fertility, and overall health. In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms of PCOS, treatment options, and ways to improve your overall health if you have PCOS.
What is polycystic ovary syndrome?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of childbearing age.
The hormones that play a role in PCOS include androgens, often called male hormones, but women have them, too. Women with PCOS tend to have higher levels of excess male hormone (androgen) levels and may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods.
The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to release eggs regularly.
Causes of PCOS
The cause of PCOS is unknown, but it is thought to be related to an imbalance of the hormones insulin and testosterone.
Insulin resistance is a common problem among women with PCOS. This indicates that the body’s insulin receptors are dysfunctional. Insulin levels in the body increase, causing further androgen production. Obesity can also cause increased insulin levels and aggravate PCOS symptoms.
PCOS can run in families, so if your mother or sister has the condition, you may be at increased risk. Obesity also seems to play a role, as women who are overweight are more likely to develop PCOS.
Symptoms of PCOS
The symptoms of PCOS can vary from woman to woman, and many women with PCOS do not have any symptoms at all.
The most common symptom is irregular menstrual periods. This means that your menstrual cycle may be infrequent or prolonged altogether. Other symptoms include:
- Excess male hormone (androgen) levels
- Oily skin or acne
- Missed periods
- Weight gain
- Trouble losing weight
- Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp
- Pelvic pain
- Excess hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, or thighs
- Patches of thick, dark, velvety skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs
Diagnosis of PCOS
If you think you might have PCOS, it is important to see your doctor. They will ask about your symptoms and medical history.
They will also do a physical exam, pelvic exam, and order blood tests to check your hormone levels. An ultrasound of the ovaries may also be done.
Complications of PCOS
Women with PCOS are at higher risk of:
- Type II diabetes
- Sleep disorders
- Eating disorders
- Cardiovascular disease (heart disease)
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Endometrial cancer (the lining of the uterus)
Prevention of PCOS
There is no sure way to prevent PCOS, but maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise may help.
Treatment of PCOS
The best way to treat PCOS is with a combination of lifestyle changes and medication.
Diet: Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight is important for women with PCOS. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help regulate insulin levels and manage weight.
Exercise: Exercise can help improve insulin resistance, lower blood sugar levels, and promote weight loss.
Stress reduction: Stress can worsen PCOS symptoms, so finding ways to reduce stress may help.
Medications: There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat PCOS. The type of medication will depend on the symptoms you are experiencing.
Birth control pills: Birth control pills can help regulate hormone levels and improve fertility.
Anti-androgens: These medications can block the effects of excess male hormones and improve fertility.
Insulin-sensitizing drugs: These drugs can help the body better use insulin and lower blood sugar levels.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be recommended to remove ovarian cysts. This is typically only done if other treatments have not been successful.
What steps can I take at home to improve my PCOS symptoms?
There are many things you can do at home to improve your PCOS symptoms.
One of the most important things is to maintain a healthy weight. This can help to regulate your hormone levels and improve your fertility.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can also help to improve your PCOS symptoms.
If you smoke, quitting smoking can also help to improve your PCOS symptoms.
There are also many treatments available that can help to improve your PCOS symptoms. If you have trouble conceiving, there are fertility treatments that can help.
Some medications can help to regulate your hormone levels and improve your PCOS symptoms. Talk to your doctor about what treatment options are available to you.
PCOS is a common condition that affects women of childbearing age. It is important to see your doctor if you think you might have PCOS, as it can cause a variety of health complications. There is no cure for PCOS, but treatment can help manage the symptoms.