What is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health condition that alters the normal functioning of a woman’s ovaries. The ovaries usually produce ova and the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones regulate the menstrual cycle and the creation and release of eggs from the ovaries.
In healthy women, ovulation occurs every month. The eggs in women are released into the fallopian tubes. Before that, these eggs develop tiny cysts within, identified as follicles.
PCOS is a chronic problem with no cure. After menopause, once the ovarian function has weakened, the symptoms of the condition will typically improve. Before that, treatment is intended at managing the signs and symptoms and preventing complications.
Specific lifestyle changes, such as exercise and diet, are the most common treatment methods for adolescent girls and women undergoing the condition.
Does PCOS Cause Acne?
One of the critical features of PCOS is high levels of hormones called androgens. It is also known as hyperandrogenism.
Androgens play a vital role in the growth of acne. It causes the glands in the skin to create an excess of an oily substance called sebum.
Acne arises when sebum and dead skin cells build up inside hair follicles, trapping bacteria under the skin, that leads to inflammation and the formation of pimples.
How to Treat Acne Caused by PCOS?
Some of the Oral contraceptive pills can treat acne that occurs from PCOS. The mixture of estrogen and progesterone in these pills decreases levels of testosterone in the body.
A decline in testosterone limits the development of acne and hirsutism.
Not all oral contraceptives are equally able to treat acne caused by PCOS.
Two types of progesterone, called cyproterone acetate and drospirenone, they block the effect of androgens and work particularly well for this purpose.
Researchers have found a 30–60% reduction in inflammatory acne within 3–6 months of oral contraceptive therapy. They estimate that 50–90% of people who get this treatment see an improvement in acne lesions.
Other two medications, called flutamide and spironolactone, might also treat acne and hirsutism caused by PCOS.
Some of the most common symptoms of PCOS include:
Hirsutism: Hirsutism is a common symptom of PCOS. It is the excessive growth of facial or body hair on women. Hair grows in places that should not have hair like the chin, back, or chest. This kind of hair growth means too many male hormones are being produced in the body.
Weight gain or obesity: Women with PCOS usually can't lose weight. They have a higher chance of insulin resistance; the body does not respond to insulin, a hormone that keeps blood sugar in the normal range. As a result, women with PCOS can be at a higher risk of diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, and uterine cancer. It needs changes in diet and activity or medications to assist with weight loss.
PCOS Treatment and Management
PCOS is a lifelong problem, but there are several options to help reduce the symptoms and prevent the complications in the future. And how PCOS is treated will depend on the likely cause of the PCOS and each person’s symptoms and goals.
These are just some of the options:
• Lifestyle changes: Exercise, diet, and behavioral changes can significantly impact preventing and managing PCOS. Re-establishing regular ovulation will help with the symptoms and health consequences of the condition.
For some women with a lot of non-essential fat in the body, weight loss of more than 5% may help restore ovulatory function and improve symptoms like facial hair growth. Limiting simple sugar and carbohydrates in the diet can help keep insulin in balance and may prevent inflammation.
Still, there is not yet strong confirmation that one diet is best for everyone. Weight loss can be more challenging for people with PCOS, and weight can be easier to put on, so self-compassion is essential. Symptoms of anxiety and depression might also be fixed with lifestyle changes.
• Medications: Birth control pills are usually prescribed as a first-line treatment after or with lifestyle changes. Antidiabetic medication and anti-androgen medication are seldom prescribed to help balance hormones.
People who are attempting to get pregnant might be prescribed a drug to help them ovulate.
Antidiabetic medicines, which can improve the way the body uses insulin, are seldom prescribed in combination with other measures to help manage weight. Some people seek out complementary medicine, including herbal treatments and supplements to help with PCOS symptoms.
PCOS can upset a woman’s menstrual cycles and make it more challenging to get pregnant. High levels of male hormones in women also lead to unwanted symptoms such as hair growth on the body and face.
Lifestyle interventions are the first medications doctors suggest for PCOS, and they often work well. Weight loss can treat PCOS symptoms and change the odds of getting pregnant. Diet and aerobic exercise are two efficient ways to lose weight.
Medicines are an alternative if lifestyle changes don’t work.