Polycystic ovary syndrome otherwise known PCOS is a hormonal condition, and is by far one of the most daunting issues for women to handle when it comes to fertility problems.
Apart from being a potential spanner in the wheel of fertility for women with the condition, it can cause the monthly periods to stop or become difficult to predict, can cause acne or unwanted hair patterns, and raise your chances for other health problems including diabetes and high blood pressure.
Women who suffer from PCOS can get treatment for their symptoms and get pregnant, if they so wish, just they may have to try different methods.
Many women with the condition, may or may not have cysts on their ovaries, so the term ‘polycystic‘ may be misleading.
PCOS And Hormones
With PCOS, you are likely to find that your reproductive hormones are out of order. This can lead to problems with your ovaries, such as not having your period on time, or missing it entirely.
Hormones are special chemical messengers that control most major bodily functions from simple basic needs like hunger to complex systems like reproduction, and even emotions and moods.
HORMONES INDICATED IN PCOS
- Androgens: Androgens are often called ‘male’ hormones, but women have them too. In women with PCOS , the level of androgens are elevated causing symptoms like hair loss, difficulty getting pregnant and growing hair in unwanted places like under the chin.
- Insulin: This hormone is responsible for controlling blood sugar and energy absorption. If you have PCOS, your body may not respond to insulin functions in the way that it should.
- Progesterone: This hormone is otherwise called the ‘pregnancy’ hormone. With PCOS, your body may not secrete enough of this hormone. That can make you to miss your periods for a long time, or to have periods that are hard to predict. (Source: WebMd)
Causes Of PCOS
Medically, it is not entirely clear why some women get PCOS, but experts say you might be more likely to have it if your mother or sister has it. It could also be related to problems that cause your body to produce too much insulin, which can alter the functions of your ovary and lead to anovulation- a condition where ovulation does not occur.
Acne, oily skin, difficulty losing weight or missed periods may seem like normal issues that just happen to you, but PCOS does present with such symptoms. It usually takes a while and sometimes years for many women to realise that they have the condition. Below is a list of possible symptoms even though they vary from woman to woman;
- Hirsutism: This is a medical term for growing hair in unwanted places, such as on your face or chin, breasts, stomach, or thumbs and toes.
- Hair Loss: Women with PCOS might see thinning hair on their head, that could worsen in middle age.
- Weight Problems: About half of women with PCOS struggle with weight gain or have a hard time losing weight.
- Persistent Headaches: This is because of hormone changes with PCOS.
- Infertility: PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women.
- Period Problems: You could have irregular periods. Or you might not have a period for several months. Or you might have very heavy bleeding during your period.
You should let your doctor know if you have one, or several, of these symptoms. There are treatments or things you can do to relieve the symptoms, if it does turn out you have PCOS.
Your doctor will want to know about all the signs and symptoms you’ve noticed, including your medical history. This is an important step to help figure out whether you have PCOS, and to rule out other conditions that cause similar symptoms.
If you have at least two of the symptoms listed above, your doctor may diagnose PCOS using the following methods:
-Your doctor may check your blood pressure, BMI (body mass index), and waist size. She may also look at your skin to check for extra hair growth, acne, and discolored skin, which can all happen if you have PCOS.
-A pelvic Examination: Your doctor will carry out a pelvic examination look at and feel areas of your body including the vagina,cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum, checking for anything unusual.
– Pelvic Ultrasound (Sonogram): This produces an image of what your ovaries look like. For the ultrasound, you lie down and the doctor briefly places an ultrasound device in your vagina to check for cysts in your ovaries and how thick the lining is in your uterus. That lining may be thicker than normal if your periods aren’t happening when they’re supposed to.
Your doctor will in addition to conducting physical exams recommend blood tests to profile your hormone levels.
Treatment will based on your specific symptoms and your immediate needs.