Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a disorder that is relatively common in women who are of reproductive age.
Women that suffer from PCOS will either have prolonged menstrual periods, or they may suffer from not having a period at all. Ovaries may fail to release eggs regularly and women may find that they have some excessive male hormone levels, which can cause things like excessive hair on the face and other parts of the body. Women who experience infertility without explanation are usually found to have polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS can also cause things like back pain and irritability. At this time, there is no cure for PCOS, but there are several things that can help treat the condition.
Causes of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
At this time, it is not exactly known what causes polycystic ovarian syndrome. There are several factors that play a role in it, and they include:
- Unbalanced blood sugar - The pancreas is responsible for creating the hormone that regulates blood sugar conversion to energy. In some cases, the body’s cells become resistant to this hormone. This will cause blood sugar levels to go up, and the body may produce even more. The excessive hormone levels will cause the body to struggle to ovulate well and will cause increased production of male hormones.
- Heredity. There may be a link between genes and PCOS. It may spread throughout families, according to some studies.
- Inflammation - Research has shown that some women with PCOS had a low-grade inflammation in their body. This causes the ovaries to produce hormones which can cause blood vessel issues and heart problems.
- Excess masculine hormones - These excess hormones in the body can result in increased hair growth in parts of the body that should not have hair and increased acne.
Signs and Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
There are several signs and symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, and they include:
- Irregular periods. Women with PCOS typically will have irregular periods or no periods at all.
- Weight gain. A woman with PCOS may have weight gain, and that weight may be difficult to manage.
- Fatigue. Low energy and fatigue have both been reported with PCOS.
- Unwanted hair growth. Unwanted hair may grow on the face, toes, abdomen, and arms.
- Infertility. PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women.
- Acne. When there is excess masculine hormones present in the body, this can cause frequent issues with acne.
- Darkening of skin. Women who suffer from PCOS may notice velvety patches of dark skin on their breasts, back of the neck, or under their arm.
- Mood swings. Women who have PCOS may be subject to depression, mood swings, and anxiety.
- Pelvic pain. Pelvic pain may come along with periods, or it may happen when there is not a period.
- Headaches. Due to the hormones not being regulated well, there can be headaches.
- Sleep issues. Insomnia has been reported in women who have PCOS.
Treating Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
There is no cure for polycystic ovary syndrome, but there are a few things that can help manage the syndrome. There are several different medications that a doctor may recommend. If you have trouble ovulating, your doctor may prescribe a drug to see if it helps rectify that issue specifically. If a woman is overweight, the doctor will recommend trying to drop a few pounds. Losing weight can help to reduce some of those previous mentioned hormone levels which may help a woman to ovulate. When a woman exercises, it can help to lower blood sugar levels and help to decrease blood sugar counter activity. If a woman is infertile because of PCOS, her doctor may recommend that she see an infertility specialist who can help determine ways for her to get pregnant.