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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.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is diagnosed only if at least two of the following occur:
- A minimum of 12 small cysts forms in the ovaries. These cysts are not large enough to trigger ovulation.
- The balance of the hormones produced in the ovaries is changed, especially if testosterone increases.
- The individual does not ovulate every month or does not ovulate at all.
In many cases, affected women will experience all three of these effects.
Although PCOS is a comparatively common condition, occurring in approximately 5 to 10 percent of women, the definite cause is not known.
It is generally diagnosed during adolescence or young adulthood, and the symptoms include absent or irregular periods, excessive hair growth, and difficulty in falling pregnant.
What are the complications of PCOS?
Females with PCOS are more prone to develop certain serious health problems, which include type 2 diabetes, problems with the heart and blood vessels, high blood pressure, and uterine cancer. Females with PCOS often have problems with their ability to get pregnant.
When should I seek medical care?
If you have irregular or missed periods, acne, excess hair growth, and weight gain, you should call your doctor for an evaluation.
When to consult a doctor?
Consult your doctor if you have the symptoms mentioned below:
- You have missed periods, and you are not pregnant.
- You have symptoms of PCOS, such as hair growth on your body and face.
- You have been trying to get yourself pregnant for more than 12 months but haven’t been successful in it.
- You have symptoms of diabetes, such as blurred vision, excessive thirst or hunger, or unexplained weight loss.
If you have PCOS, you should plan regular appointments with your doctor. You’ll need regular tests to check for high blood pressure, diabetes, and other possible complications.
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.
What are some of the Chronic Diseases linked with Polycystic ovarian syndrome?
- Insulin Resistance
- Coronary Heart Disease
- Risk for Endometrial Cancer
- Pre Diabetes
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.