Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder that affects young girls and women of reproductive age. Women between the ages of 18 and 44 are the target group. Nevertheless, it may also afflict girls under the age of 11.
Approximately 1 in every 10 to 15 females in America have PCOS.Causes
Some of the usual factors are obesity, lack of physical exercise, family history of PCOS and overproduction of the male hormone, testosterone. Moreover, insulin resistance is also one of the risk factors.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for lowering the blood sugar. In case of insulin resistance, the insulin is not able to lower the blood sugar, and as a consequence it raises to dangerous levels.
Therefore, the body produces more insulin, therefore the insulin levels become too high.
PCOS causes infertility. Namely, it leads to anovulatory infertility, meaning there is no ovulation. The reproductive process in which a mature egg is produced by the ovaries is called ovulation. This egg might or might not be fertilized by sperm.
PCOS cannot be cured, but implementing some lifestyle changes can help with controlling the symptoms. Moreover, certain medications, like birth control pills, clomiphene and metformin are common treatments.
Some women also try cosmetic treatments like laser to reduce the physical symptoms.
Early Sings: A Growing Concern
Women usually do not pay much attention to PCOS symptoms. As a consequence, they discover that they have this disorder when they find it difficult to stay pregnant.
According to a study from 2005 around $4.36 billion are spend every year on diagnostic procedures and medical care in America.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of PCOS.
- Irregular Periods
Irregular periods are the most common sign of PCOS. This disorder triggers production of testosterone, which then leads to formation of cysts in your ovaries. These cysts then stop the release of the egg, preventing menstruation.
Irregular periods during the teenage years are considered normal, but in some cases it can be a sign of PCOS.
- Absence of Menstruation (Primary Amenorrhea)
Primary amenorrhea occurs when a girl does not get her period until she is 16 or 18 years old. This may be due to high testosterone levels, which prevent the release of eggs, thus preventing menstruation.
- Excessive Body and Facial Hair
This condition is known as hirsutism, and it happens as a consequence of high levels of testosterone. Women have excess hair on the chin and jaw area, the upper lip, arms, thighs, legs, stomach and chest.
- Loss of Hair and Hair Thinning
If you are losing a lot of hair while washing your hair, or there are strands of hair on your pillow you might have PCOS. Hair loss and hair thinning is a usual symptom of hormonal imbalance.
If your acne haven’t disappeared after your 20s, you could be afflicted with PCOS. Persistent acne occur as a consequence of overproduction of testosterone. This type of acne usually pop up around the jaw line, the chin, the cheeks and the upper neck. These remain longer than the usual acne and occur before the menstrual cycle.
- Weight Gain, Obesity and Inability to Shed Pounds
It does not have to mean that all women with PCOS are obese, but they are not slim either. Women with PCOS have slower metabolism. Approximately 50 % of women with PCOS are obese or overweight, and the majority have notable abdominal fat.
The inability to lose weight is one the most usual symptoms.
- High Blood Pressure
This condition may lead to cardiovascular complications. Hypertension is a usual symptom in women with PCOS. If a women has high blood pressure, is obese or overweight and also has other symptoms of PCOS, she may be an undiagnosed PCOS patient.
- Abnormal Skin Discoloration
PCOS may cause skin abnormalities such as black or brown patches, which appear in skin folds like forehead, neck folds, armpits, navel, between the thighs, breasts, round the groin region and sometimes on the hands, knees and elbows. This is known as acanthosis nigricans.
Moreover, these patches can be accompanied by tiny-skin colored growths which look like warts and they hang from the skin.
Stress comes as a by-product of any physical or mental condition. Patients with PCOS are exposed to stress as a consequence of hirsutism.
If you are constantly stressed that stress is accompanied with other symptoms, you could be suffering from PCOS.
Depression is yet another manifestation of psychological distress which comes with any hormonal imbalance. Patients with PCOS are depressed as a consequence of the symptoms and the repercussions that are part of their everyday life.