Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

One of the major health problems that women across the world face is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This problem affects the hormones, fertility, blood vessels, menstrual cycle, heart and appearance of a woman. Numbers have it that one in ten to one in twenty women are diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Even the girls of 11 years of age might fall prey to this dreadful health issue.

What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a dreadful condition affecting the hormonal balance causing troubles in getting pregnant and in menstrual cycle. Many women who suffer from PCOS present with little cysts on ovaries. Hence, the name Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
If the condition is not corrected on time, it may lead to severe ailments like diabetes.

What Are The Causes OF Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
The exact cause of PCOS is not very clear. The factors that may lead to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome are:
• Genetics
If mother or sister of a woman have PCOS, she is more likely to develop this condition.
• Hormonal Imbalance
When the ovaries of women produce more androgen hormone than the normal, it leads to PCOS.
• Insulin Levels

Some women who have PCOS present with higher levels of insulin. The increased levels of insulin lead to increase in production of androgen hormone.

What Are The Symptoms Of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
The symptoms of PCOS can be different for every patient. Some common symptoms are:
• Irregular, infrequent or sometimes no periods.
• Infertility. PCOS is the commonest cause of infertility. It happens due to no ovulation.
• Hirsutism i.e., excessive growth of hair on the face, stomach, chest, back, toes and thumbs.
• Cysts on ovaries
• Weight gain, especially around the waist.
• Oily skin or acne
• Dandruff
• Thinning of hair or male pattern baldness
• Skin tags- flaps of skin on neck area or armpits
• Thick and dark patches of skin on arms, neck, breasts or on thighs
• Depression or anxiety
• Pain in the pelvic region
• Sleep apnoea

Pregnancy And PCOS
A pregnant woman who has PCOS may experience:
• Gestational diabetes
• Miscarriage
• Premature delivery
• Pregnancy- induced hypertension

How Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Diagnosed?
Diagnosis is done on the basis of medical history, thorough physical examination, a thorough pelvic examination, blood test and vaginal sonogram (ultrasound).

What Is The Treatment Of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

• Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills are prescribed to the women who are not desirous of getting pregnant.

• Fertility Medications
Clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene), Metformin with Clomiphene and Gonadotropins are given.

• Anti- androgens
Spironolactone (Aldactone) or Finasteride are given. Anti-androgens are given along with birth control pills. These medications are contraindicated if a women in desirous to have a baby.

• Surgery
Ovarian drilling is the indicated surgery to treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Bariatric surgery may be indicated for obese women.

• Lifestyle Changes
There are a certain lifestyle changes that a woman should do to manage PCOS. The changes include:
a) Consuming whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.
b) Saying no to sugar containing food and processed food.
c) Say no to smoking.

Women's Health Info