Patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) have abnormally high levels of androgens, the male sex hormones that are generally present in women in small amounts. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) describes a collection of microscopic cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that form in the ovaries. This problem occurs during the reproductive years of a woman.
Causes of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Although the precise cause of PCOS is unknown, several things could lead to this condition.
- Insulin Resistance: The hormone insulin controls the body’s blood sugar levels. When the body’s cells do not react to insulin as intended, insulin resistance develops, which prompts the pancreas to generate more insulin. This extra insulin can cause PCOS by causing the ovaries to create more androgens.
- Genetics: Since PCOS tends to run in families, it may have a hereditary component.
- Hormonal Imbalance: PCOS is characterised by a hormonal imbalance, including increased androgen and luteinising hormone (LH) levels and decreased follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. Cysts may form due to this hormonal imbalance, which can interfere with the ovaries’ operation.
Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a hormonal disorder. One can experience a variety of signs of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in their body, including:
- Menstrual irregularities: It can involve missed periods, infrequent periods, or heavy bleeding during periods.
- Excess hair growth: Hirsutism, or excessive hair growth on the face, chest, and abdomen, affects up to 70% of women with PCOS.
- Acne: PCOS can cause persistent acne, especially on the face, chest, and back.
- Obesity: Between 40% and 80% of women with PCOS struggle with obesity and have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight.
- Darkening of the skin: Acanthosis nigricans, or dark skin patches, may occur in the neck, armpits, groin, and under the breasts.
- Ovarian cysts: Many women with PCOS have enlarged ovaries or multiple follicle-filled cysts.
- Skin tags: Small flaps of extra skin, known as skin tags, are common in areas such as the armpits and neck.
- Hair loss: Thinning hair or bald patches may occur in women with PCOS.
- Infertility: PCOS is the most common cause of infertility in females, as irregular ovulation or lack of ovulation can hinder conception.
It’s essential to seek medical attention if these signs of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are noticed, as early diagnosis and treatment can help manage PCOS effectively.
Treatment Options for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Despite no recognised cure for PCOS, several treatment options can aid in its management.
- Lifestyle Adjustments: Making lifestyle adjustments, including eating a balanced diet, exercising frequently, and maintaining a healthy weight, can help manage PCOS symptoms.
- Medication: Drugs that control menstrual periods, lower androgen production, and improve insulin resistance include birth control pills, metformin, and anti-androgens.
- Fertility Treatments: Women with PCOS trying to conceive may benefit from fertility treatments such as ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination (IUI), or in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
- Surgery: In rare circumstances, surgery may be advised to remove painful or uncomfortable ovarian cysts.
Medications for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) symptoms can be managed using several drugs. The individual’s symptoms and medical background will determine the medications administered.
The following are some typical drugs for PCOS:
- Anti-androgens: These are drugs that prevent the body from being affected by androgens such as testosterone. These medications can help reduce symptoms such as excess hair growth and acne.
- Metformin: One drug frequently used to treat type 2 diabetes is metformin. It can also help manage PCOS symptoms by improving insulin resistance and reducing androgen levels.
- Gonadotropins: Gonadotropins are medications that stimulate ovulation in women trying to conceive. These medications can be helpful for women with PCOS who are having trouble getting pregnant.
- Clomiphene citrate: Clomiphene citrate is a medication that can also stimulate ovulation in women with PCOS trying to conceive.
- Pioglitazone: Pioglitazone is a medication that can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce androgen levels, which can help manage symptoms of PCOS.
- Birth Control Pills: Pills for birth control contain synthetic forms of the hormones progestin and oestrogen. These hormones can help regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce androgen levels, which can help improve symptoms such as acne and excess hair growth.
Understanding that these drugs may not be suitable for everyone and may not treat PCOS is critical. Discussing the risks and benefits of any medication with a healthcare provider before starting treatment is essential.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Gynecology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a common hormonal condition, may substantially influence a woman’s physical and mental health. A hormonal disorder called PCOS can harm a woman’s physical and mental health. Even though PCOS cannot be cured, numerous treatments can help treat its symptoms. Women exhibiting PCOS symptoms should consult their doctor to determine the best course of action for their situation.
Q. What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
A. PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It can cause irregular periods, excessive hair growth, acne, weight gain, and difficulty getting pregnant.
Q. What causes PCOS?
A. While the primary cause of PCOS is unknown, genetics and insulin resistance are considered to play a role. Due to insulin resistance, PCOS symptoms might result from the ovaries producing too many male hormones.
Q. What are the common symptoms of PCOS?
A. The typical signs of PCOS include irregular menstrual cycles, excessive body or facial hair growth, acne, weight gain, and trouble getting pregnant.
Q. How is PCOS diagnosed?
A. PCOS can be diagnosed through a medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Blood tests can check hormone levels, and an ultrasound can detect cysts in the ovaries.
Q. What is the treatment for PCOS?
A. Treatment for PCOS focuses on managing symptoms and reducing the risk of complications. Lifestyle changes like weight loss and exercise, medications to regulate menstrual cycles or reduce androgen levels, and fertility treatments can all be options.