What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), additionally referred to as polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common health problem as a result of an imbalance of reproductive hormones.
The hormonal imbalance creates problems within the ovaries. The ovaries make the egg this is released each month as part of a healthful menstrual cycle.
With pcos, the egg may not develop as it should or it could not be released for the duration of ovulation because it need to be.
PCOS can cause missed or irregular menstrual periods. Irregular periods can lead to:
- Infertility (inability to get pregnant). In fact, pcos is one of the most common causes of infertility in women.
- Development of cysts (small fluid-filled sacs) within the ovaries
Who gets PCOS?
Among 5% and 10% of women between 15 and 44, or in the course of the years you may have children, have pcos. Maximum women find out they have got pcos in their 20s and 30s, once they have troubles getting pregnant and see their medical doctor. However PCOS can manifest at any age after puberty.
Women of all races and ethnicities are risk to PCOS. Your risk of PCOS may be higher when you have weight problems or if you have a mother, sister, or aunt with PCOS.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
Some of the signs and symptoms of PCOS encompass:
- Irregular menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS may additionally pass over durations or have fewer periods (fewer than eight in a year). Or, their periods may also come each 21 days or greater frequently. A few girls with PCOS stop having menstrual periods.
- Too much hair on the face, chin, or parts of the body in which men typically have hair. That is known as “hirsutism.” Hirsutism impacts up to 70% of women with PCOS.
- Acne on the face, chest, and upper back
- Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp; male-sample baldness
- Weight gain or problem losing weight
- Darkening of skin, especially alongside neck creases, within the groin, and beneath breasts
- Skin tags, which might be small extra flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
What causes PCOS?
The precise purpose of PCOS is not known. Maximum specialists think that several factors, which includes genetics, play a role:
- High levels of androgens. Androgens are on occasion referred to as “male hormones,” even though all women make small amounts of androgens. Androgens manage the development of male traits, which includes male-pattern baldness. Women with PCOS have extra androgens than normal. Better than everyday androgen stages in women can prevent you the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation) for the duration of every menstrual cycle, and might cause extra hair increase and acne, symptoms of PCOS.
- High levels of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls how the meals you eat is changed into energy. Insulin resistance is whilst the body’s cells do no longer reply generally to insulin. As a end result, your insulin blood levels grow to be better than regular. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, in particular those who have overweight or weight problems, have unhealthy ingesting conduct, do now not get enough physical activity, and feature a circle of relatives history of diabetes (typically type 2 diabetes). Over time, insulin resistance can result in type 2 diabetes.
Can i still get pregnant if i have PCOS?
Yes. Having PCOS does not mean you can not get pregnant. PCOS is one of the most common, however treatable, reasons of infertility in women. In women with PCOS , the hormonal imbalance interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). If you don’t ovulate, you cannot get pregnant.
Your doctor can speak with you approximately approaches that will help you ovulate and to raise your chance of getting pregnant. You may additionally use our ovulation calculator to see which days to your menstrual cycle you’re maximum probable to be fertile.
Is PCOS linked to other health problems?
Yes, research have observed links among PCOS and other health problems, such as:
- Diabetes. More than half of of women with PCOS may have diabetes or prediabetes (glucose intolerance) earlier than the age of 40. Analyze more about diabetes on our diabetes blog.
- High blood pressure. Women with PCOS are at greater risk of getting high blood pressure as compared with women of the same age with out PCOS. High blood pressure is a main reason of heart disease and stroke.
- Unhealthy cholesterol. Women with PCOS often have higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and low ranges of HDL (good) cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol increases your chance of coronary heart disease and stroke.
- Sleep apnea. This is while momentary and repeated stops in respiration interrupt sleep. Many women with PCOS have obese or obesity, that may reason sleep apnea. Sleep apnea raises your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Depression and tension. Depression and tension are not unusual amongst women with PCOS.
- Endometrial cancers. Problems with ovulation, obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes (all common in girls with PCOS) increase the risk of growing cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus or womb).
Researchers do no longer recognize if PCOS reasons a number of those problems, if these problems purpose PCOS, or if there are different conditions that reason PCOS and different health problems.
Will my PCOS signs go away at menopause?
Yes and no. PCOS affects many systems within the body. Many women with PCOS find that their menstrual cycles end up more regular as they get in the closer of menopause. But, their PCOS hormonal imbalance does no longer change with age, so they’ll continue to have symptoms of PCOS.
Additionally, the dangers of PCOS-related health problems, such as diabetes, stroke, and coronary heart attack, increase with age. These risks can be higher in women with PCOS than the ones without.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
There may be no single test to diagnose PCOS. To help diagnose PCOS and rule out other reasons of your signs, your physician may additionally communicate to you approximately your clinical history and do a physical exam and different checks:
- Physical examination. Your medical doctor will measure your blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and waist size. They’ll also look at your skin for added hair to your face, chest or back, acne, or skin discoloration. Your doctor may additionally look for any hair loss or signs of other health conditions (which includes an enlarged thyroid gland).
- Pelvic examination. your doctor may do a pelvic exam for signs of more male hormones (for example, an enlarged clitoris) and check to see in case your ovaries are enlarged or swollen.
- Pelvic ultrasound (sonogram). This check makes use of sound waves to observe your ovaries for cysts and check the endometrium (lining of the uterus or womb).
- Blood test. Blood test your androgen hormone levels, sometimes referred to as “male hormones.” Your doctor will even take a look at for other hormones associated with other not common health problems that may be flawed for PCOS, such as thyroid disease. Your medical doctor may additionally check your levels of cholesterol and test you for diabetes.
As soon as different conditions are rule out, you may be diagnosed with PCOS if you have at least 2 of the following signs:
- Irregular periods, along with periods that come too frequently, no longer frequently sufficient, or in no way
Signs that you have excessive levels of androgens:
- Extra hair increase for your face, chin, and body (hirsutism)
- Thinning of scalp hair
- Higher than regular blood levels of androgens
- Multiple cysts on one or both ovaries
How is PCOS treated?
There may be no cure for PCOS, but you could manage the symptoms of PCOS. You and your health practitioner will work on a treatment plan.
Based totally in your signs, your plans for having children, and your chance of long-term health problems inclusive of diabetes and coronary heart disease. Many women will need a aggregate of treatments, which includes:
- Steps you can take at home to help relieve your signs and symptoms
What steps can i take at home to improve my PCOS symptoms?
You can take steps at home to assist your PCOS signs, which include:
- Losing weight. Healthful ingesting habits and normal bodily activity can assist relieve pcos-associated symptoms. Losing weight may additionally assist to lower your blood glucose levels, enhance the way your body makes use of insulin, and help your hormones reach regular levels. Even a 10% loss in body weight (for example, a 150-pound female losing 15 pounds) can help make your menstrual cycle extra regular and improve your chances of getting pregnant.
- Removing hair. You can attempt facial hair removal creams, laser hair removal, or electrolysis to remove of excess hair. You could find hair removal creams and products at drugstores. Procedure like laser hair removal or electrolysis ought to be accomplished by a health practitioner and won’t be included by medical insurance.
- Slowing hair growth. A prescription pores and skin treatment (eflornithine HCL cream) can help gradual down the growth rate of latest hair in unwanted places.
What types of medicines treat PCOS?
The types of drug treatments that deal with PCOS and its signs consist of:
- Hormonal birth control, including the pill, patch, shot, vaginal ring, and hormone intrauterine device (IUD). For women who don’t want to get pregnant, hormonal birth control can:
- Make your menstrual cycle extra normal
- Lower your risk of endometrial cancer
- Help improve zits and reduce greater hair on the face and body (ask your medical doctor about birth control with each estrogen and progesterone.)
- Anti-androgen drug treatments. These drug treatments block the impact of androgens and might assist lessen scalp hair loss, facial and body hair growth, and zits. They’re now not accepted through the meals and drug management (FDA) to deal with PCOS signs and symptoms. Those drug treatments also can cause problems at some point of pregnancy.
- Metformin. metformin is often used to treat type 2 diabetes and may help a few women with PCOS symptoms. It isn’t always authorized through the FDA to deal with pcos signs and symptoms. Metformin improves insulin’s capacity to decrease your blood sugar and can lower both insulin and androgen levels. After a few months of use, metformin can also help restart ovulation, but it commonly has little effect on acne and further hair on the face or body. Latest research shows that metformin might also have other advantageous effects, which includes reducing body mass and improving levels of cholesterol.