Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age.Women with PCOS may have enlarged ovaries that contain small collections of fluid, or follicles, located in each ovary. The name of the condition comes from the word “polycystic” meaning “many cysts”.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Excess androgen – elevated levels of male hormones
  • Heavy periods
  • Weight gain
  • Acne
  • Oily Skin
  • Hirsutism – excessive facial and body hair growth
  • Fertility issues

Causes of PCOS

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. There are several factors that could contribute to the development of this condition like:

  • Hereditary – the condition can be passed from parent to child.
  • Abnormal hormone levels – the body has a harder time regulating hormone levels, which can lead to an excessive amount of male hormones, leading to PCOS.
  • Insulin resistance – cells don’t respond to the hormone insulin, resulting in higher levels of insulin in the blood.
  • Inflammation – inflammation of the ovaries can cause the overproduction of male hormones.

Complications of PCOS

  • Infertility – PCOS can interfere with the normal production of eggs, making it difficult to become pregnant.
  • Gestational diabetes – pregnant women with PCOS have an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.
  • Miscarriage – women with PCOS have an increased risk of miscarriage.
  • Depression – women with PCOS can be more prone to depression due to hormonal imbalances.

Treatment Options:

Treatment for PCOS varies depending on the woman’s symptoms and health concerns. Common treatment options for PCOS include:

  • Birth control pills – these can help regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce male hormone levels.
  • Antidepressants – drugs such as Prozac and Zoloft can help reduce depression linked to PCOS.
  • Metformin – this drug helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduce male hormone levels.
  • Anti-androgen medications – these medicines block the action of male hormones in the body.
  • Lifestyle changes – healthy diet and exercise can help reduce many of the symptoms of PCOS.