Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common issue among women. It is a disorder caused by enlarged ovaries that develop cysts. This condition causes several symptoms. The enlargement of the ovaries throws your hormones out of balance. This hormone imbalance affects your physical appearance and the way your body functions. One of the main complications with PCOS is difficulty with conception. This condition is not considered serious in its beginning stages, but if left untreated, you can develop serious health conditions. Although there is no cure for PCOS, there are certain treatments available. You can also assist in decreasing your symptoms by developing a healthier lifestyle.
Hormones are important for our body to work properly. Without hormones, the natural functions of our body would not happen. It is because of hormones that we start puberty or have growth spurts. Hormones tend to have a domino effect. One hormone triggers another which triggers another until finally, your body reacts. PCOS affects sex hormones more than anything. This is why symptoms bring about so many physical changes. PCOS increases the production of the male sex hormone and decreases the production of estrogen. When this hormone increases, the body reacts in a way that is unsuitable. Polycystic ovary syndrome has no known cause. There is no specific reason why the hormones of women get out of balance, but when it does, symptoms are evident.
There are many symptoms of PCOS. At the beginning of the disorder, your symptoms are mild, but if you leave the disease untreated, symptoms become worse and possibly life-threatening. Two of the main symptoms of PCOS are acne and weight gain. These things occur for anyone with PCOS. Hormones directly affect both acne and weight gain. The skin changes and weight loss is nearly impossible. Hair is another major thing affected by PCOS. It grows in places you don’t want it to but doesn’t grow where desired. By this I mean you have unwanted hair growth typically on your face, but the hair on your head will begin to thin out. Periods also become irregular. Due to a decrease in hormones, you will also have a decrease in periods. They will no longer be monthly. Sometimes you will only have a period a few times a year or not at all. It is also possible to bleed more than normal. This makes fertility difficult. Women can get pregnant, but it is much harder. All these changes may lead to depression. Not understanding why these things are happening or how is frustrating.
These symptoms are typically mild. When you do not address PCOS in the beginning, the symptoms become health complications. Insulin plays a role in PCOS, but PCOS may also cause diabetes. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are also health problems that may not be serious initially but can lead to heart disease. Depression and anxiety are symptoms, but it can get to the point where you get a clinical diagnosis. Sleep apnea is another serious condition. An obstruction of oxygen during sleep characterizes it. There may even be a major increase in inflammation. Cancer is among the worst complications of PCOS. The change in hormones puts you at risk for endometrial cancer. Not everyone experiences infertility, but many women do. It can be difficult to accept if you want to have children.
There is no true cause of PCOS, but there are some things that could be considered risk factors. Heredity is one possible factor. If the women of your family have PCOS, you are more likely to have PCOS. An increase in insulin is another factor. Increased insulin directly affects your ovaries. It causes it to produce more of the male hormone androgen which leads to the formation of the other symptoms. Inflammation is another risk factor. Inflammation is a result of the body’s immune response. When you suffer from a low-grade inflammation, the white blood cells stay active and stimulates the ovaries. This stimulation leads to androgen production.
Diagnosis & Treatment
A PCOS diagnosis is made through a number of tests. The doctor will start with a physical examination. A pelvic exam is uncomfortable but necessary. During a pelvic exam, the doctor can assess the ovaries and see how large they are. Ultrasound may be the next step if a pelvic exam is not enough. Blood tests are also done. In the blood test, the doctor can assess hormone levels. Once PCOS is diagnosed, treatment is the next step. The doctor may have you change your lifestyle first. The next step is to regulate your menstrual cycle. Birth control is the best medication for this. Birth control may also help with hair growth. If you are trying to get pregnant, you will need a different method of treatment that helps with ovulation.
PCOS is a condition that may lead to serious complications. If you are having abnormal weight gain and hair growth, you may have PCOS. Do not ignore these symptoms. Untreated PCOS leads to more serious health complications. If you are dealing with PCOS, you are not alone. Nearly 5 million women in the United States have this condition. Talk with your doctor about your symptoms and try to get a treatment that works best for you.
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