It is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The most common hormonal condition During the reproductive period of women. But no one knows exactly what causes it, and there is no cure.
PCOS a Common cause Why do women have difficulty getting pregnant or have complications during pregnancy? This is also the case Associated with many health problemssuch as insulin resistance, obesity, depression and metabolic disorders.
But it is not easy to diagnose. For women with PCOS symptoms, studies show It can take two years to find many doctors To make a proper diagnosis.
Although you are familiar with the term PCOS, you may not be sure what this condition is and what it does to the body. Here’s what you need to know about PCOS.
What is polycystic ovary syndrome?
As of 2011 US Bureau of Women’s HealthPCOS is a medical condition caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones, which affects how the ovaries (organs that make eggs and hormones that control the menstrual cycle) work.
PCOS is characterized by ovarian insufficiency, polycystic ovaries and elevated androgen levels. Dr. Shefali ShastriThe clinical director and managing partner at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Reproductive Medicine Associates and clinical associate professor tells Yahoo!
In other words, people with PCOS have ovaries that release too many eggs, have too many fluid-filled sacs containing immature eggs (called follicles), or produce too much androgens (a type of hormone).
What causes PCOS?
Aside from reproductive hormone imbalances, the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, he says. Dr. Mokhrum Fatima MalikOb-Gyn with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Services with the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
However, high androgen hormone and insulin levels can contribute to this condition US Bureau of Women’s Health.
If a person’s mother has PCOS, that person may have it too. Some research It suggests that PCOS tends to run in families – children whose parents have PCOS are five times more likely to develop it.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
People with PCOS may have symptoms of high androgen levels, such as male pattern baldness — that is, hair growing on their chin, chest, stomach or thighs — hair loss on the scalp and increased acne, Malik notes.
She added, “Weight gain, especially in the abdomen, they may have irregular periods or have difficulty getting pregnant.”
Interestingly, studies show that PCOS is associated with weight gain and obesity. In about half of women. And about 70% to 80% of people with PCOS have trouble getting pregnantAccording to the 2015 assessment.
other Symptoms of PCOS Include:
What other ways does PCOS affect your physical health?
PCOS does more to the body than you might think. People with PCOS are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome — a group of conditions that include high blood pressure, increased waist circumference, high blood-sugar levels, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the “good cholesterol”) and elevated triglyceride levels. explains Malik.
Due to this effect of PCOS, Metabolic syndrome increases a person’s risk of health problemsincluding heart disease, diabetes and stroke. “Accordingly, women with PCOS are at risk for insulin resistance and diabetes as well as heart disease,” Malik added.
She recommends that “women with PCOS should be screened regularly for these health conditions in addition to routine maintenance health screenings.”
The condition also affects fertility. According to the Women’s Health Protection Bureau, PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility in women. This is because hormonal imbalance affects the egg by interfering with its growth and release.
Does PCOS affect mental health?
Yes, experts say. Overall, PCOS is a complex condition that affects how the ovaries work, resulting in a variety of reproductive, metabolic and psychological symptoms in women, he says. Dr. Nitu BajekalLondon-based ob-gyn and author Living free from PCOS.
Shastri explains that PCOS can cause body changes such as excessive facial and body hair, acne and obesity, which can be a huge psychological burden, affecting body image, self-confidence and self-esteem.
Malik agrees, adding that PCOS symptoms like weight gain and infertility are significant sources of psychological stress and can lead to more serious conditions like anxiety and depression.
There is a social stigma associated with PCOS symptoms such as weight gain, scalp hair loss, acne and excessive hair growth. Because of the stigma, many women can’t talk openly about their condition or seek the help they deserve, says Bajekal.
Getting an accurate PCOS diagnosis is another obstacle that people with PCOS often face. Because PCOS manifests itself in many ways, people with PCOS symptoms may begin seeing health care professionals from a variety of specialties for the most common ones, such as menstrual cycles, acne, and excessive hair growth. Like a disordered diet or sleep disorder, Bajekal explains. “The dots may never be connected to make an accurate diagnosis of PCOS, which leads to fragmented and fragmented medical advice and treatment,” she says.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with PCOS, Malik says, “It’s important to talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking about your symptoms or diagnosis so that you can be properly evaluated and treated.”
How is PCOS diagnosed?
To be diagnosed with PCOS in adults, according to Bajekal, two of the three criteria listed below must be met.
Ovulatory dysfunction: Your body doesn’t ovulate regularly, causing missed periods or irregular cycles.
Clinical or laboratory evidence of hyperandrogenism or high androgen levels. A doctor may look for symptoms such as acne, thinning scalp hair, and darker, thicker body hair or blood tests.
Evidence of cysts on one or both ovaries. A doctor can find this evidence during an ultrasound examination of the uterus.
It is also important to note that PCOS is a cause. Symptoms similar to other hormonal disordersincluding thyroid disease, Cushing’s syndrome, and hyperprolactinemia. Your doctor may also perform tests to rule out the possibility that your symptoms may be due to other causes.
“Women who have or think they may have PCOS should have a complete physical exam, including a pelvic exam, ultrasound, and lab work to rule out other metabolic or endocrine conditions, such as thyroid disease, Cushing’s syndrome, or androgens,” advises Malik.
How is PCOS treated?
Because doctors aren’t sure what triggers PCOS, available treatment options mostly focus on managing the symptoms associated with the syndrome, Malik explains. So treatment depends on a person’s symptoms, adds Shastri.
According to Bajekal, lifestyle habits, such as how we eat, sleep, exercise and manage stress, can have a significant impact on PCOS symptoms. While there’s no cure for PCOS, making healthy lifestyle changes — the first treatment option a doctor might recommend — can go a long way toward managing PCOS, she says.
Adopting these lifestyle changes is especially important for people with PCOS who are at risk for chronic diseases such as endometrial cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, she added.
Bajekal recommends these lifestyle changes for people with PCOS:
Eat a plant-based diet. A high-fiber, plant-based diet that includes whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, herbs, and spices promotes healthy bacteria in the gut and helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, Bajekal explains. “It also normalizes blood sugar and reduces insulin resistance,” she says, using it for people with PCOS.
Move often. Aerobic exercises and resistance training can help improve insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS, says Bajekal. She recommends “aim for 300 minutes of exercise a week — about an hour each week — and exercise outdoors in natural light.” “Any form of activity is beneficial – even 15 minutes a day has been shown to reduce the risk of death,” she added.
Take sleep health seriously. Bajekaal recommends seven to nine hours of restorative sleep per night during regular sleep cycles.
Control stress levels. Activities such as exercise, meditation, mindfulness, community service, talk therapy and yoga can help manage stress and lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, says Bajekal.
Create positive social relationships. Bajekal recommends having a support network or a trusted friend. “Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you,” she says. Loneliness can be a chronic stressor and is linked to increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, she says.
To treat symptoms, some women may need insulin-sensitizing drugs, such as metformin (Glucophage), to control blood-sugar levels. Others may need statins — cholesterol-lowering drugs — for heart health benefits, Malik explains.
Women who want to regulate their menstrual cycles may benefit from hormonal birth control, says Malik. But for those with PCOS who want to get pregnant but are having trouble, Shastri recommends talking to a fertility specialist about treatment options.
People with excessive hair growth or acne can benefit from taking oral contraceptives, which reduce androgen production; spironolactone, which blocks androgen effects on the skin; Or prescription eflornithine cream, which can slow facial hair growth, suggests Shastri.
In addition, hair removal treatments such as electrolysis and laser hair removal can help control excess body hair, if desired, she added.
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