Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:
A hormonal imbalance and metabolic disorder that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age women. In honor of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Awareness month, this article explains what PCOS is and how women’s overall health and appearance may be affected.
What is Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
Nearly 10 percent of young women struggle with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder often affecting the body’s metabolic and reproduction functions. It may affect a woman’s ability to have a child or cause chronic discomfort. Many women have a tough time predicting their period’s behavior, have unwanted facial or excess hair, acne, and other health-related issues.
Women who struggle with PCOS frequently struggle with insulin resistance, meaning the body doesn’t respond well to insulin and can’t use glucose from the blood to make energy. As a result, the pancreas will keep pumping out insulin, which leads to too much insulin in the body and elevated blood sugar. Unfortunately, this means women with the condition struggle with being over-weight or obese.
Another hallmark of PCOS is the increased production of androgens, or male hormones, and infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods. Ovaries may develop several follicles (small collections of fluid surrounding the ovaries) and fail to release eggs regularly. These follicles develop due to eggs not being released over some time. The follicles keep growing and form what I know as a “cyst.” If your physician takes an ultrasound, it might appear like a string of pearls.
The cause of PCOS is unknown. However, early diagnosis of a
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
Around the time of a young woman’s first menstrual period is when signs and symptoms initially appear. However, symptoms may show up later, for example, in response to a considerable weight gain.
A diagnosis may occur when two or more of these signs occur:
- Irregular periods are the most common sign and can look like infrequent, nonuniform, or prolonged period cycles. For example, a woman might have fewer than nine menstrual cycles per year, more than 35 days in between periods and abnormally heavy bleeding.
- Excess androgens can cause physical symptoms to occur. A blood test will confirm higher levels of male hormones, known as androgens. Severe acne, male-pattern baldness, and excess facial and body hair (hirsutism) are signs of elevated male hormones. Women may experience mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
- Polycystic ovaries, known as follicles, may surround enlarged ovaries. As a result, the ovaries may fail to function correctly. Sometimes, ovarian cysts will result in an emergency trip when these symptoms occur:
- Pain with fever and vomiting
- Sudden, severe abdominal pain
- Rapid breathing
Obesity will increase the severity of signs and symptoms.
What causes PCOS?
The cause of polycystic ovarian syndrome is unknown. However, these factors might play a significant role:
- Excess insulin. Insulin, produced in the pancreas, is a hormone that allows cells to use sugar, your body’s primary energy supply. When cells become resistant to the call of action of insulin, then blood sugar levels may rise. As a result, the body may produce more insulin. When there’s an excess of insulin, the body may increase androgen production, making it difficult to ovulate.
- Low-grade inflammation. Weight gain causes an excess of inflammation in the body.
- Heredity. According to the NHS, specific genes may link to PCOS.
- Excess androgen. A blood test will need to confirm an excessive amount of male hormones. When women have an increase in this hormone produced by the ovaries, they will experience excess hair in wanted places (like mustache area or under the chin) and acne. Often, women will become embarrassed by the unwanted symptoms and reach out to a physician to maintain unwanted physical features.
As heartbreaking as it is, thousands of women each year struggle with the difficulties of this syndrome. One being infertility, or the inability to get pregnant to have a child. Some women may consider adoption or alternative impregnating routines. Other complications may include:
- Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes
- Sleep apnea
- Depression and anxiety
- Eating disorders
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Cancer-related to the uterine bleeding
- Metabolic syndrome
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis – severe liver inflammation due to excess fat accumulated in the liver
- Miscarriage or premature birth
- Gestational diabetes
There isn’t a test to definitively diagnose this disease. A doctor will talk through medical history, including weight changes and menstrual periods. A physical exam may occur to check for excessive hair growth, insulin resistance, and acne. A physician is likely to offer a pelvic exam, blood test, or ultrasounds to check for abnormalities.
There is no cure for PCOS, but managing unwanted signs and symptoms may result in relief. According to researchers, what a person eats plays a significant role in the effects of PCOS.
Due to how the PCOS body processes insulin, there’s a good chance a woman with PCOS will develop pre-diabetes or diabetes. Because insulin plays such a significant role in PCOS, it’s good to manage insulin levels with a proper PCOS diet. There’s a widespread agreement about which foods seem to help and what does not. Please check out our blog on (THREE BEST DIETS FOR PCOS) for more nutrition-related information.
If you or someone you know struggles with PCOS’s effects, it might be time to speak with a physician or an integrative health counselor. Signs and symptoms of this disease are manageable with the right approach. Check out Wilco Wellness for the proper treatment for you. Perhaps Nutrition Specialists to help with weight management or Certified Natural Health practitioners to help with organic living. Whatever you choose, we want to thank you for stopping by our page. It’s always great to have you here!