PCOS, with its impact on over 1 in every ten women of reproductive age, has become one of the most common endocrine disorders. Most women are not even aware of the curative measures they must implement and ways to diagnose them. Let’s have a deep insight into the disorder.
PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is an endocrine disease associated with the ovaries. It disturbs the body’s hormonal balance. It mainly affects women of the age group 15-44 years.
In girls with PCOS conditions, secretion of male hormones (androgen) is highly unusual, which disturbs the process of ovulation. Ovulation is the process wherein, each month, a mature egg is released. Whereas in the PCOS condition, the eggs never get mature enough to be released. These eggs form cysts inside the ovaries. Cysts are fluid-filled sacs or follicles that contain immature eggs. And this is how PCOS disrupts the menstrual cycles of a woman.
- Three main features generally characterize PCOS: cysts formation, high levels of androgen secretion, and irregular or skipped menstrual cycles. Its symptoms include:
- Irregular menstrual cycle: As the levels of male hormones are high; the normal egg formation process is disrupted, leading to irregular ovulation cycles. As a result, women with PCOS may experience eight periods a year or even no period at all.
- Hair growth: Due to androgen secretion, more than 70 percent of women with PCOS experience hair growth on their face, chin, and body.
- Acne: The skin gets oilier and may face breakouts.
- Weight gain: 80 percent of women having PCOS face obesity.
- Skin darkening: Dark patches of skin develop over the body creases like in the groin and on the neck.
- Thinning of hair and headaches: Hair on the scalp starts getting thinner, resulting in male pattern baldness. Hormonal changes may cause headaches too.
- Skin tags: Small flaps of hanging skin may develop on the necks or underarms.
In the medical field, the causes of PCOS have not been stated clearly. However, doctors suggest high androgen levels are the cause. Some of the factors linked with high androgen amounts are:
Genes: It is observed that the PCOS condition might be passed down genetically.
Excess Insulin – When the body becomes resistant to insulin, the insulin secretion increases, leading to high androgen release.
Low-grade inflammation – Low-grade inflammation is a condition wherein the white blood cells start attacking the body’s internal organs. Studies show that girls with PCOS suffer from low-grade inflammation that triggers ovaries to release androgen.
PCOS can be controlled only by lifestyle interventions. Having a healthy diet and exercising regularly can effectively reduce the symptoms of PCOS.
The diet must contain a low amount of carbohydrates will reduce the insulin level. And a 30-minute workout must be carried out at least three days a week.
PCOS is one such condition that has no proper medical treatments. Although there are surgeries and medications available, those are not highly recommended. While what’s essential is spreading awareness and implementing lifestyle changes.
Many women are even unable to diagnose PCOS conditions. This may lead to an increase in infertility, heart diseases, or diabetes. Therefore, diagnosis at an early stage is essential, along with taking the required measures.