Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. It causes infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess androgen levels. The ovaries may develop numerous collections of fluids and fail to release eggs.
An ovary releases a mature egg during ovulation. The unfertilized egg passes out of the body during your period.
In some cases, a woman does not make enough hormones to ovulate. It leads to forming follicles or cysts and releasing androgen. Women with PCOS often have high levels of androgens. It can cause more problems with a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Missed periods
- Light flow or irregular periods
- Large cysts in the ovary
- Excess body hair, including the chest, stomach, and back
- Weight gain and belly fats
- Acne or oily skin
- Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
- Small pieces of excess skin on the neck or armpits
- Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and under the breasts
The Effects of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in the Body
- Infertility. PCOS affects ovulation and may lead to infertility.
- Metabolic syndrome. Women with PCOS experience rapid weight gain and obesity. PCOS increases your risk for high blood sugar, hypertension, and heart disease.
- Sleep apnea. It causes repeated pauses in breathing during the night and leads to trouble sleeping.
- Endometrial cancer. A thickened uterine lining can increase your risk for endometrial cancer. If you don’t ovulate every month, the lining can build up.
- Depression. Hormonal changes affect your emotions. Many with PCOS eventually experience depression and anxiety.
How to Diagnose Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
Your doctor will assess your symptoms and may recommend:
- A pelvic exam. Your doctor will inspect your reproductive organs for masses, growths, and other abnormalities.
- Blood tests. It measures hormone levels to exclude possible causes of menstrual abnormalities or androgen excess that mimics PCOS.
- An ultrasound. An imaging test can check the appearance of your ovaries and the thickness of the lining of your uterus.
Additional tests for complications. Those tests can include:
- Periodic checks of blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels
- Screening for depression and anxiety
- Screening for obstructive sleep apnea
Treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Your doctor may recommend anti-androgen medications. Birth control pills and progestin therapy are typical PCOS medications. Metformin is also helpful to maintain blood sugar and weight gain.
PCOS diet is also advisable to manage weight gain. Limit your carb intake and increase your physical activity. Ensure to visit your doctor from time to time.