POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME is a condition in women as a result of endocrine system disorder i.e reproductive hormonal imbalance. This condition leads to the growth of ovarian cysts i.e fluid-filled sac that develops on a woman’s ovary. PCOS can cause problem with a woman’s menstrual cycle, many women who have PCOS have trouble getting pregnant (infertility) because of anovulation. In fact, PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility, cardiac function, and appearance. While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, Doctors believe that hormonal imbalances and genetics play a role. Women are more likely to develop PCOS if their mother or sister also has the condition (heredity). Overproduction of the hormone androgen as a result of excess insulin in the body may be another contributing factor. Androgen is a male sex hormone that is produced in females and women with PCOS often produce higher-than-normal levels of androgen due to insulin impairment in the body. This can affect the ovaries’ ability to ovulate.
The most common characteristic or symptoms of PCOS is irregular menstrual cycle because it is marked by a decrease in female sex hormones.
This condition may cause women to develop certain male characteristics such as:
- Excess facial hair
- Broad chest, stomach (Obese)
- Thumbs or toes
- Decrease in breast size
- Deeper voice, and
- Thin hair
Other complications also includes: acne, weight gain, pelvic pain, anxiety or depression and infertility. Women with PCOS have a higher risk of developing: hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, sleep apnea (when a person stops breathing periodically during sleep), endometrial cancer (Cancer of the uterine lining), increased risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Why women with PCOS have troubles with menstrual cycle and Fertility
The ovaries, where a woman’s egg are produced, have tiny fluid-filled sacs called follicles or cysts. As the egg grows, the follicle builds up fluid. When the egg matures, the follicle breaks open, the egg is released, and the egg travels through the Fallopian tube (fertilization) to the uterus (womb) for implantation. This is called ovulation.
In women with PCOS, the ovary doesn’t make all of the hormones it needs for an egg to fully mature. The follicles may start to grow and build up fluid but ovulation does not occur. Instead, some follicles may remain as cysts. For these reasons, ovulation does not occur and the hormone progesterone is not made. Without progesterone, a woman’s menstrual cycle is irregular or absent and the ovaries make male sex hormones, which also prevent ovulation and leads to infertility.
How PCOS affects a woman while Pregnant
Treatment for PCOS is not curative rather treatment focuses on controlling symptoms and managing the condition to prevent complications. The treatment will vary from woman to woman, depending on specific symptoms. A healthy diet and regular exercise is recommended for all women with PCOS, particularly those who are overweight. This can help to regulate your menstrual cycle and lower your blood glucose levels.
What can I do to prevent complications?
If you have PCOS, get your symptoms under control at an earlier age to help reduce your chances of having complications like diabetes and cardiovascular (heart) disease. Talk to your doctor about treating all your symptoms, rather than focusing on just one aspect of your PCOS, such as problems getting pregnant. Also, talk to your doctor about getting tested for diabetes regularly. Other steps you can take to lower your chances of health problems include: Eating right, Exercising, Not smoking.
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