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    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Understanding Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

    PCOS & PCOD

    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Understanding Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

    Updated on 3 November 2023

    Sitting in the doctor's office, Garvita’s mind was a whirlwind of emotions as she heard the words "Polycystic Ovary Syndrome" for the first time. She was suddenly thrust into a world of medical jargon and unfamiliar territory. Like many women facing this unexpected diagnosis, she was left wondering, "What is PCOS, and why me?"

    As she began to unravel the mysteries of this condition, she realized she was not alone on this journey. PCOS affects millions of women worldwide, yet its complexities often remain shrouded in misconceptions. So, join Garvita as we explore the origins of PCOS to the telltale signs that set it apart and shed light on its possible treatment options.

    What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by enlarged ovaries containing small fluid-filled sacs called cysts. Women with PCOS may experience hormonal imbalances, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and difficulties with ovulation. Proper diagnosis and management are essential to address the symptoms and potential long-term health implications of PCOS.

    How does PCOS affect women's reproductive health?

    PCOS can significantly impact women's reproductive health in various ways:

    1. Menstrual Irregularities

    Women with PCOS often experience irregular menstrual cycles or may even skip periods due to hormonal imbalances. This can make it difficult to predict ovulation and plan for pregnancy.

    2. Infertility

    The lack of regular ovulation can lead to difficulties in conceiving, making PCOS one of the leading causes of infertility in women.

    3. Ovarian Cysts

    PCOS is characterized by enlarged ovaries containing multiple small fluid-filled cysts. These cysts can interfere with the normal release of eggs during ovulation.

    4. Hormonal Imbalances

    Women with PCOS may have higher levels of androgens (male hormones) than usual, leading to symptoms like acne, excessive hair growth (hirsutism), and male pattern baldness.

    5. Insulin Resistance

    Many women with PCOS also experience insulin resistance, which can lead to high blood sugar levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

    6. Weight Gain

    PCOS is often associated with weight gain or difficulty losing weight, which can exacerbate hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance.

    7. Pregnancy Complications

    Women with PCOS may have a higher risk of certain pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and premature birth.

    8. Long-Term Health Implications

    PCOS is also associated with an increased risk of developing other health conditions later in life, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and endometrial cancer.

    Regular check-ups and discussions with healthcare professionals specializing in PCOS can help women manage the condition and improve their overall reproductive health.

    PCOS Symptoms

    • PCOS symptoms include irregular periods, excess hair growth, and hormonal imbalances.

    • Women with PCOS may experience weight gain, acne, and difficulty getting pregnant.

    • PCOS can cause insulin resistance, ovarian cysts, and long-term health risks.

    • Hormonal imbalances in PCOS can lead to excessive androgen levels and male pattern hair loss.

    • Infertility and menstrual irregularities are common features of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

    PCOS Causes

    The precise cause of PCOS remains unknown, but genetics is believed to be a contributing factor. Additionally, several other elements, notably obesity, are involved in its development:

    1. Elevated Androgen Levels

    Higher androgen levels can hinder ovulation, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and the formation of fluid-filled sacs on the ovaries. Androgen excess also causes acne and excessive hair growth in women and individuals assigned female at birth (AFAB).

    2. Insulin Resistance

    Insulin resistance prompts the ovaries to produce and release more androgens, contributing to PCOS symptoms. Insulin aids in processing glucose for energy, but resistance means that glucose remains high in the blood. Overweight or obesity can exacerbate insulin resistance, and high insulin levels, even with normal blood glucose, may indicate it.

    3. Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation

    People with PCOS often experience ongoing low-grade inflammation. Blood tests measuring C-reactive protein (CRP) and white blood cells can assess the body's inflammatory state.

    Types of PCOS

    Types of PCOS are given below:

    1. Insulin-Resistant PCOS

    This type is associated with insulin resistance, where the body's cells do not respond effectively to insulin, leading to higher insulin levels.

    2. Non-Insulin-Resistant PCOS

    In this type, insulin resistance is not a prominent feature, and hormonal imbalances primarily contribute to PCOS symptoms.

    3. Post-Pill PCOS

    Some women may develop PCOS-like symptoms after discontinuing certain hormonal contraceptives, which can disrupt the normal hormonal balance.

    4. Inflammatory PCOS

    This type involves chronic inflammation in the body, leading to hormonal imbalances and PCOS symptoms.

    You may also like : PCOD Vs. PCOS: What's the Difference?

    PCOS Diagnostic Criteria

    The PCOS diagnostic criteria, as established by the Rotterdam criteria, require the presence of at least two out of three key features:

    1. Irregular Menstrual Cycles

    Evidence of irregular or absent menstrual cycles due to irregular ovulation.

    2. Clinical or Biochemical Signs of Hyperandrogenism

    This includes symptoms like hirsutism (excessive hair growth), acne, and male pattern hair loss, along with elevated levels of androgens (male hormones) in blood tests.

    3. Polycystic Ovaries

    The presence of multiple small fluid-filled cysts in the ovaries observed through ultrasound.

    Other conditions must be ruled out before confirming a PCOS diagnosis. These criteria help healthcare professionals in identifying and managing PCOS effectively.

    You may also like : PCOS Tea: A Warm Cup of Tea to Help You Keep PCOS at Bay

    PCOS Treatment

    The PCOS treatment is focused on managing symptoms and addressing the underlying hormonal imbalances. It involves a combination of lifestyle modifications and medical interventions:

    1. Lifestyle Changes

    Maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and achieving a healthy weight can help improve insulin sensitivity and hormonal balance.

    2. Insulin-Sensitizing Medications

    Medications like Metformin can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce androgen levels in some women with PCOS.

    3. Clomiphene citrate (Clomid)

    This drug stimulates ovulation and is commonly used for infertility treatment, often in combination with metformin.

    4. Letrozole (Femara)

    An ovulation inducer, Femara is increasingly used to address ovulation issues, especially in women with PCOS. It can also be used alongside metformin to enhance the chances of successful conception.

    5. Hormone shots

    Injectable fertility drugs may be recommended if Clomid or Femara, with or without metformin, do not yield desired results.

    6. IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)

    If other treatments prove ineffective, IVF can be considered to achieve pregnancy for women with PCOS

    7. Ovarian drilling

    This surgical procedure involves using a thin needle to burn small areas of the ovaries, aiming to lower the production of male hormones and improve ovulation. Results from ovarian drilling are inconsistent, and not all practitioners recommend it as a PCOS treatment

    8. Endometrial Protection

    To counter the increased risk of endometrial hyperplasia (thickening of the uterine lining) in women with irregular periods, progestin therapy may be recommended.

    9. Natural Herbal remedies

    One can also leverage the benefits of natural ingredients like Shatavari, Manjistha, Shankh Pushpi, chamomile, Myo-inositol, Vit D, and quatre folic. These natural ingredients help to combat insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances, and stress related to the condition. You can also try Mylo’s PCOD/PCOS tea and Myo-inositol chewable tablets to combat PCOS and PCOD symptoms and maintain your ovarian health.

    Final Thoughts

    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a complex hormonal disorder that can significantly impact women's reproductive health and overall well-being. It is essential for women with PCOS to seek timely diagnosis, engage in proactive management, and work closely with healthcare professionals to address symptoms and potential long-term health implications. Lifestyle modifications, medication, and fertility treatments can play a pivotal role in improving quality of life and increasing the chances of successful pregnancies for women with PCOS.

    Tags: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Treatment, Management in Telugu, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Treatment, Management in Bengali, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Treatment, Management in Hindi

    References

    1. I, L., & Mayrin, J. V. (2018, November 18). Polycystic Ovarian Disease (Stein-Leventhal Syndrome). Nih.gov; StatPearls Publishing.

    2. Sadeghi, H. M., Adeli, I., Calina, D., Docea, A. O., Mousavi, T., Daniali, M., Nikfar, S., Tsatsakis, A., & Abdollahi, M. (2022). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Comprehensive Review of Pathogenesis, Management, and Drug Repurposing. International Journal of Molecular Sciences

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    Written by

    Mittali Khurana

    Mittali is a content writer by profession. She is a dynamic writer with 04+ years of experience in content writing for E-commerce, Parenting App & Websites, SEO.

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