PCOS / PCOD - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

  • Overview
  • Causes of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Common symptoms of PCOS
  • Is PCOS linked to other health disorders as well?
  • What is the treatment for PCOS?
  • What steps can be taken to improve symptoms of PCOS?

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Overview

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or more commonly known as PCOS, is a common hormonal disorder in women. Women suffering from PCOS experience prolonged or infrequent periods or heightened levels of androgen. Sometimes, the ovaries develop some follicles and are unable to release eggs. Although the exact reason for development of PCOS is not known, an early diagnosis may help in reducing the complications that can surface later like heart problems and diabetes.

Causes of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

It is not possible to pinpoint the exact cause of PCOS. However, there are some factors which might play an important part in its development. Some of those factors are as follows:

  • High levels of insulin: The source of insulin is pancreas and this hormone allows body cells to use sugar. When body cells become resistant to insulin, it results in higher levels of blood sugar. This causes the body to produce more insulin. These heightened levels of insulin increase production of androgen which results in difficulty to ovulate.

  • Chronic inflammation: Low grade inflammation, or chronic inflammation means the ability of leukocytes to fight infections in our body. Several studies and researches show that females suffering from PCOS have a kind of chronic inflammation which stimulates ovaries to produce androgen.

  • Hereditary factors: Some studies lead us to believe that PCOS might have a link to genes

Common symptoms of PCOS

While most females start experiencing symptoms around the time they get their first period, there is a demographic that realizes they might have PCOS only after they notice abnormal weight gain, or trouble in getting pregnant. Some of the most common symptoms of PCOS are listed below.

  • Irregular periods

  • Abnormally heavy bleeding

  • Abnormal hair growth on face, back, belly etc.

  • Baldness

  • Acne

  • Weight gain

  • Frequent headaches

Is PCOS linked to other health disorders as well?

Yes. There are numerous researches and studies to back up this claim. Around half of the females who suffer from PCOS below the age of 40 have glucose intolerance or diabetes. Females with PCOS are at a higher risk of having high blood pressure too as compared to females of the same age of who don’t have PCOS.

PCOS is also linked to high levels of bad cholesterol and low levels of good, healthy cholesterol. Many females experience sleep apnea as well. Sleep apnea is a condition when repeated and momentary stops in breathing interrupt sleep. This elevates risk of heart problems.

Anxiety and depression is also commonly seen in females suffering from PCOS. One of the most serious problems linked to PCOS is endometrial cancer. This is because obesity, problems with ovulation, diabetes and insulin resistance increase the risk of endometrial cancer.

What is the treatment for PCOS?

By far, there is no known cure for PCOS. However, it can be managed and controlled. An early diagnosis is always helpful, and enables your doctor to formulate a plan curated according to your symptoms, your future plans about pregnancy and present health conditions.

What steps can be taken to improve symptoms of PCOS?

Although there is no cure for PCOS, there are some things which you can do yourself to control its symptoms. One of the most important steps to take to control symptoms of PCOS is achieving a healthy body weight. Losing weight lowers insulin levels and blood sugar levels. Eating healthy and being physically active can help you to ward off symptoms of PCOS to some extent.

Going for facial hair removal is also a good choice. Laser hair removal, electrolysis or hair removal creams are some of the options available. There are also prescription skin treatments which help to slow down the rate of hair growth.

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