Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance- which would affect your periods and make it difficult to get pregnant, and it may also cause unwanted changes in the way you look. If it isn’t treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, diabetes and heart disease.
So why is it called polycystic ovary syndrome? Women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries. The ovaries are “hormone factories”, and any problems in them would lead to hormone imbalances.
When hormones get out of balance in PCOs. One hormone change triggers another, which changes another, and so on.
Normally, the ovaries make a tiny amount of male sex hormones (androgens). In PCOS, they start making more male hormones. This may cause you to stop ovulating, get acne, and grow extra facial and body hair.
Also, due to the hormonal imbalance, the body may have a problem using insulin, called “insulin resistance”. Insulin is the hormone that makes the cells able to take up sugar for energy production. So, when the body doesn’t use insulin well, sugar levels will go up in the blood. Over time, this increases your chance of getting diabetes.
The cause of PCOS is not fully understood, but PCOS seems to run in families, so your chance of having it is higher if your m other, sister, or maternal/paternal aunts have had it.
Symptoms vary. You may have only a few symptoms or a lot of them. The most common symptoms are:
Weight gain and trouble losing weight.
Extra hair on the face and body. Often women get thicker and darker facial hair, especially on the chin, and more hair on the chest, belly, and back.
Thinning hair on the scalp.
Irregular periods. Often women with PCOS have fewer than nine periods a year. Some women have no periods. Others have very heavy bleeding.
Fertility problems. Many women who have PCOS have trouble getting pregnant (infertility).
To diagnose PCOS, the doctor will: Ask questions about your health, do a physical exam, do a number of lab tests to check your blood sugar, insulin, and other hormone levels. A pelvic ultrasound will be done to look for cysts on your ovaries.
So, what is the treatment of PCO?
The most important steps towards treating PCOS are: regular exercise, healthy foods, and weight control. **Try to fit in moderate activity and/or vigorous activity often. Walking and HIIT are great options here. **Eat heart-healthy foods. This includes lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and whole grains. It limits foods that are high in saturated fat, such as meats, cheeses, and fried foods. **Losing 10 lb (4.5 kg) may help get your hormones in balance and regulate your menstrual cycle. **If you smoke, consider quitting. Women who smoke have higher androgen levels that may contribute to PCOS symptoms. **Your doctor also may prescribe medications to reduce symptoms, , help you have regular menstrual cycles, or fertility medicines if you are having trouble getting pregnant. But those medications will not be effective without a healthy lifestyle.
It is important to see your doctor for follow-up to make sure that treatment is working and to adjust it if needed. You may also need regular tests to check for diabetes, high blood pressure, and other possible problems.
It may take a while for treatments to help with symptoms such as facial hair or acne. You can use over-the-counter or prescription medicines for acne.
It can be hard to deal with having PCOS. If you are feeling sad or depressed, it may help to talk to a counselor or to other women who have PCOS. But remember that with PCOS, you can change your whole health situation if you stick to a healthy lifestyle, so go for it! All the best.
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