Exploring PCOS - A Common Health Condition Due to Hormonal Imbalance

PCOS - Exploring Common Health Conditions Due to Menstruation
Team ujaas

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (or PCOS) is a medical condition related to menstruation wherein the ovaries produce a highly abnormal amount of androgens (which are male sex hormones), which are also present in women, although in small amounts. When it comes to PCOS meaning, the name describes the several, small fluid-filled sacs (or cysts) that eventually form in the ovaries.

Ovulation occurs when a mature ovum (or egg) is released by the ovary. This happens so that it can be successfully fertilised by a sperm. If the ovum does not get fertilised, it is sent out of the body in the form of periods.

Some women do not produce enough hormones that are needed to ovulate. When there is a lack of ovulation, the ovaries may develop several small cysts. These cysts produce hormones known as androgens. Women with PCOS often have a high level of androgens. This can lead to numerous problems when it comes to a woman’s menstrual cycle. Moreover, it can cause several symptoms of PCOS.

PCOS treatment involves certain medications. These cannot cure PCOS, but they help in reducing symptoms and preventing certain health problems.

Causes of PCOS

The precise cause of PCOS is not known. Several women who develop PCOS have demonstrated insulin resistance. This eventually means that the body cannot use insulin optimally. This leads to a build-up of insulin in the body, causing the production of higher androgen levels. Obesity, too, can cause an increase in insulin levels, making PCOS symptoms far worse.

PCOS may also be a hereditary condition. It is quite common for sisters or a daughter and mother to develop PCOS.

Risks for PCOS

You could be more likely to develop this disorder if your sister or mother has it. In addition, the likelihood increases if you are obese or have insulin resistance.

PCOS Symptoms

The following are the probable symptoms of this disorder:

  • Missed, irregular, or extremely light periods

  • Excessive body hair, including that on the chest, stomach, and back (which is also known as hirsutism)

  • Weight gain, especially around the abdomen

  • Acne

  • Oily Skin

  • Thinning of hair and male-pattern baldness

  • Infertility

  • Tiny pieces of excessive skin on the neck and armpits (which are known as skin tags)

  • Dark, thick skin patches in the armpits, back of the neck, or under the breasts

Ujaas, a menstrual health and menstrual hygiene initiative by Aditya Birla Education Trust, aims to create a positive impact on the menstrual health landscape in India.

PCOS Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask you certain questions regarding your medical history as well as your symptoms. You would also need to undergo a physical examination. This could include a pelvic exam, which checks the functioning of your reproductive organs, both internal and external.

Because some of the symptoms of PCOS problem in women are caused by other health conditions, you may need to undergo the following tests:

  • Ultrasound: This test makes use of sound waves and a computer to successfully create images of blood vessels as well as tissues and organs. It gauges the size of the ovaries and checks if they have developed cysts. This test can also provide insight into the thickness of the uterine lining (or endometrium).

  • Blood tests: These tests check the levels of androgens as well as other hormones. Your blood glucose, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels may also need to be checked.

PCOS Treatment

Treatment for PCOS usually depends on various factors. These include your age, severity of the symptoms, and overall health. The treatment method could also depend on whether you intend to become pregnant in the future.

When you have plans of getting pregnant, your treatment may include:

  • Changes in diet and physical activity: A healthy, nutritious diet and more exercise can help in losing weight and reducing your symptoms because obesity is one of the causes of PCOS . Regular physical activity helps your body use insulin far more efficiently, lower blood sugar levels, and help in the process of ovulation.

  • Medications to Induce Ovulation: Certain medications can help the ovaries to release ova normally. That said, they have some risks. They can increase the likelihood of a woman giving multiple births (twins or more). Moreover, they may cause ovarian hyperstimulation. This occurs when the ovaries release an excess of hormones, which can cause pelvic pain and abdominal bloating.

If you do not plan on getting pregnant, your PCOS treatment may include the following:

  • Birth Control Pills: These help in controlling menstrual cycles, lowering levels of androgens, and reducing acne.

  • Diabetes Medication: This is frequently used to reduce insulin resistance in PCOS. It may further help in reducing androgen levels, slowing hair growth, and helping you ovulate regularly.

  • Exercise and Dietary Modifications: A nutritious diet coupled with regular physical activity can help you in losing weight and reducing your symptoms.

  • Medications: Certain medications may help in reducing acne and hair growth.

PCOS Complications

Women with PCOS are highly likely to develop some serious health problems, including type 2 diabetes , cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and uterine cancer. In addition, those with PCOS face quite a difficulty in their ability to get pregnant. Thus, fertility is affected.

Living with PCOS

Some women find it quite a challenge to deal with the physical symptoms of PCOS, such as acne, hair growth, and weight gain. Cosmetic procedures, such as laser hair removal and electrolysis may help in making you feel better regarding your appearance.

When to Seek Medical Intervention?

You must consult your doctor if you experience irregular or missed periods, excessive growth of hair, weight gain, or development of acne.

The Bottomline

Now that you know PCOS meaning, you are in a better position to understand the risks of developing it. PCOS symptoms and treatment vary across women. Identifying the symptoms of PCOS problem in females is the first step in ensuring that the disorder does not worsen further.