Everything You Need to Know About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Everything You Need to Know About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Everything You Need to Know About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Affecting 1 in 10 women of childbearing age, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that induces a hormone imbalance in which the body produces a hormone called androgen mostly found in males. Because of this, the ovaries develop small follicles that fail to release the egg. This can result in infrequent or prolonged periods, as well as infertility.

Symptoms of PCOS

There are many ovarian cyst symptoms that are important to know about if you think you may have polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS is genetic, so consider checking your family history to see if you have any family members who dealt with the condition.

Irregular periods

Women with PCOS may experience irregular periods, perhaps around 8 or 9 a year. Once the bleeding starts, it becomes prolonged, and you may even experience heavy bleeding.

Infertility

Since periods are irregular, the ovaries do not ovulate every month. This affects the reproductive activity and eventually can lead to infertility.

Pain

The growth of cysts in the ovary can cause pain and discomfort.

Physical changes

The excess male hormones in the body produce physical changes, like excess facial and body hair, severe acne, and in some cases even baldness. The skin in certain parts of the body, like the neck, groin, and underneath the breast, also starts darkening.

Weight gain

The hormone imbalances mean you can gain weight quickly. You might also find it difficult to lose weight. Because of excess weight, other health issues like insulin resistance also appear.

What causes PCOS?

High androgen level

All women produce a certain amount of the male hormone called androgen. For some women, however, the androgen level will be higher. When this happens, the ovaries fail to release an egg during each menstrual cycle, resulting in PCOS.

High insulin level

Insulin is a hormone that regulates your blood-sugar level. In some people, the body’s cells do not respond appropriately to insulin, resulting in a higher insulin level. This is called insulin resistance. Excess insulin production increases the androgen level. This leads to PCOS.

Genetics

PCOS is passed on through genes. If any of your family members have PCOS, then there is a greater chance that you will also develop it.

How do doctors diagnose PCOS?

Consult a doctor immediately if you experience PCOS symptoms. The doctor may use the following methods to diagnose the condition.

Physical examination

The doctor will check your blood pressure, weight, and body mass index to see whether or not they fall within the limit for a diagnosis. The doctor will also check your skin for acne or discoloration, since these can also suggest you have PCOS.

Pelvic exam

The doctor will examine your pelvis to check for enlarged ovaries and to rule out any growth in the ovary or uterus.

Blood test

A blood test will be conducted to check the your androgen level. Your thyroid, cholesterol, and blood sugar will also be checked.

Pelvic ultrasound

An ultrasound scan of your pelvis will be conducted to rule out cysts and also to check the thickness of your endometrium, or uterus lining.

How is PCOS treated?

Doctors usually recommend lifestyle changes before treating the condition using drugs.

Dieting

Food that is low in carbohydrates help reduce the weight and lowering the insulin level. A diet containing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is highly recommended for this condition.

Exercise

A moderate intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes a day helps reduce weight and better control PCOS. Along with a proper diet, exercise will also improve your blood pressure and insulin level. However, if you see little to no improvements with these measures, then your doctor might recommend other forms of treatment.

Other treatments

The doctor might recommend hormonal pills, patches, or vaginal rings that regulate the estrogen and progesterone in the body. This regulates ovulation and also controls the symptoms of PCOS. If PCOS is caused as a result of insulin resistance, then the doctor will prescribe a drug called Metformin that can improve the insulin level. This drug helps in control blood sugar and weight, and restores the normal menstrual cycle.

Depending on the severity of the case, the doctor could also recommend surgery for ovarian cyst removal to improve fertility.

If you find you’re experiencing PCOS symptoms, contact The Woman’s Clinic for an appointment to see whether or not you have the condition. Knowledge is power when it comes to your health, and learning more about how to improve your reproductive system will enhance your overall wellbeing. We would be happy to walk you through treatment plans or provide more information on the condition.