PCOS, Most Common Syndrome Affecting Women Health
PCOS, defined as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is a common disorder in the females of the reproductive age i.e. (15 to 44) which also tends to be one of the most undiagnosed and unmanaged in most patients. The hormonal disorder can lead to various health problems due to the direct effect on ovaries. Ovaries are the reproductive organs that produce estrogen and progesterone which are the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle and a small amount of male hormone called androgen.
In the medical condition of PCOS, women grow numerous small cysts filled with sacs on the ovaries which lead to different symptoms. With the symptoms that are common things like irregular periods, weight gain, facial and body hair growth, acne, and infertility issues. The women who conceive with PCOS have higher chances of premature delivery, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and even miscarriages. In such cases, heart conditions and type 2 diabetes are also commonly seen.
As mentioned, there are various symptoms of PCOS, but for diagnosing the problem, usually, one must have at least two of three main symptoms including high androgen levels, irregular periods, and cysts in the ovaries. Most doctors advise the patients with the pelvic exam, blood tests, and ultrasound can confirm the diagnosis of PCOS and consult the patient to know if they have the symptoms including:
PERIODS WITH ABNORMALITIES: Irregular menstrual cycles are mostly seen in women with PCOS. They usually experience irregular, prolonged or infrequent menstrual cycles. If one has less than 9 periods in a year, very heavy periods or a cycle of more than 35 days, then it time to get alert about the body and see a doctor help with the condition.
- POLYCYSTIC OVARIES: The ovaries are essential to regulate the hormones in the body and hence PCOS is a serious condition where they might get enlarged and as a result, the ovaries fail to function appropriately. This can ultimately lead to infertility.
- INCREMENT IN ANDROGEN: Androgen is a key hormone that can result in various symptoms that can be physically spotted. The increased levels of male hormones result in result in physical appearances like excess body and facial hair, skin issues (including severe acne, dark patches on the back of the neck), hair thinning on the head, etc.
CAUSES OF PCOS
The actual cause of the disease is unknown but researchers across the world have identified various reasons causing PCOS:
- Heredity: Family history does matter when it comes to PCOS. The immediate female relatives i.e. sisters and daughters share a 50% chance of having PCOS. The syndrome is common in families having Type 2 diabetes and both deal with insulin resistance. However, a single gene has not been found in causing PCOS, so the link is likely to be complex and involves multiple genes.
- Insulin Resistance: One of the major roles of insulin is to keep the levels of glucose in the blood from rising after eating, which if not produced effectively can lead to increased androgen or male hormones production such as testosterone, in the ovaries. This can be caused by genes, being overweight or a combination of both factors.
- Inflammation: Inflammation is the body’s response to an injury where the tissue becomes red, swollen, warmer than usual which worsens in case one already has insulin resistance. In such a case, the inflammation causes the body to produce extra insulin, creating the same pathway to testosterone production. PCOS affected patients are much more likely to have chronic low-grade inflammation, which is measured via blood tests for C-reactive protein. The root cause of inflammation in people with PCOS is still unclear.
TYPES OF PCOS
The most essential part of the disease is to understand that there are different types of PCOS which can have different causes and symptoms, including:
- Insulin-resistant PCOS: The most common type of PCOS is caused by smoking, sugar, pollution and trans fat which leads to high levels of insulin that eventually prevent ovulation and trigger the ovaries to create testosterone. One having increased levels of insulin and being overweight, might be the one having insulin resistance PCOD.
TIP: Stopping sugar consumption. The high level of sugar contributes to insulin resistance. To prevent insulin resistance PCOS, one can take inositol. The recovery from this type of PCOS is a slow process with almost six to nine months needed to improve from.
- Pill-induced PCOS: The second most common type of PCOS is Pill-induced PCOS. This medical condition is influenced and developed due to the birth control pills which suppress ovulation. Most of the women with this type of PCOS do not experience the effects for long and they resume ovulating after the effect of the pill is over. However, for some women, the case is different, they do not resume with ovulating for months and years even after the effects of pills get over. In such a situation, it is advised that they consult a doctor.
One experiencing regular and normal periods before starting with the pills might have Pill-induced PCOS. Another symptom of this type of PCOS includes the increased levels of LH in the blood test.
- INFLAMMATORY PCOS: Inflammation as mentioned above, can cause the imbalance of the insulin and lead to the increase of male hormones in the body. The inflammation can cause the process of ovulation to be prevented. This leads to imbalanced hormones and androgens production. The cause of such a situation can include stress, toxins of environment and inflammatory dietary like gluten.The symptoms of this type of PCOS include headaches, infections or skin allergies and blood tests showing a deficiency of vitamin D, abnormal blood count, increased levels of thyroid.
Tip: Stressing won’t help. One can stop the consumption of inflammatory foods like dairy products, sugar or wheat and start taking supplements of magnesium as it has anti-inflammatory effects. The process of recovery is slow and takes about nine months.
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