POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME
What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS is a health problem that can
affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, hormones, insulin production,
heart, blood vessels, and appearance.
Women with PCOS have these
levels of male hormones, also called androgens
irregular or no menstrual cycle
may not have many small cysts in their ovaries. Cysts are fluid-filled
PCOS is the most common hormonal
reproductive problem in women of childbearing age.
How many women have
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
An estimated five to 10 percent of
women of childbearing age have PCOS.
Causes for Polycystic
Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
No one knows the exact cause of PCOS.
Women with PCOS frequently have a mother or sister with PCOS. But there is not
yet enough evidence to say there is a genetic link to this disorder. Many women
with PCOS have a weight problem. So researchers are looking at the relationship
between PCOS and the body’s ability to make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that
regulates the change of sugar, starches, and other food into energy for the
body’s use or for storage. Since some women with PCOS make too much insulin,
it’s possible that the ovaries react by making too many male hormones, called
androgens. This can lead to acne, excessive hair growth, weight gain, and
Do women with Polycystic
Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) have trouble with their menstrual cycle?
The ovaries are two small organs, one
on each side of a woman`s uterus. A woman`s ovaries have follicles, which are
tiny sacs filled with liquid that hold the eggs. These sacs are also called
cysts. Each month about 20 eggs start to mature, but usually only one becomes
dominant. As the one egg grows, the follicle accumulates fluid in it. When that
egg matures, the follicle breaks open to release the egg so it can travel
through the fallopian tube for fertilization. When the single egg leaves the
follicle, ovulation takes place.
In women with PCOS, the ovary doesn`t
make all of the hormones it needs for any of the eggs to fully mature. They may
start to grow and accumulate fluid. But no one egg becomes large enough.
Instead, some may remain as cysts. Since no egg matures or is released,
ovulation does not occur and the hormone progesterone is not made. Without
progesterone, a woman’s menstrual cycle is irregular or absent. Also, the cysts
produce male hormones, which continue to prevent ovulation.
Symptoms of Polycystic
Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
These are some of the symptoms of PCOS:
menstrual periods, no menstrual periods, and/or irregular bleeding
or inability to get pregnant because of not ovulating
growth of hair on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes
oily skin, or dandruff
gain or obesity, usually carrying extra weight around the waist
baldness or thinning hair
of thickened and dark brown or black skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or
tags, or tiny excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
excessive snoring and breathing stops at times while asleep
Investigations & tests
to diagnose Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
There is no single test to diagnose
PCOS. Your doctor will take a medical history, perform a physical exam—possibly
including an ultrasound, check your hormone levels, and measure glucose, or
sugar levels, in the blood. If you are producing too many male hormones, the doctor
will make sure it’s from PCOS. At the physical exam the doctor will want to
evaluate the areas of increased hair growth, so try to allow the natural hair
growth for a few days before the visit. During a pelvic exam, the ovaries may
be enlarged or swollen by the increased number of small cysts. This can be seen
more easily by vaginal ultrasound, or screening, to examine the ovaries for
cysts and the endometrium. The endometrium is the lining of the uterus. The
uterine lining may become thicker if there has not been a regular period.
How is Polycystic Ovarian
Syndrome (PCOS) treated?
Because there is no cure for PCOS, it
needs to be managed to prevent problems. Treatments are based on the symptoms
each patient is having and whether she wants to conceive or needs
contraception. Below are descriptions of treatments used for PCOS.
Birth control pills. For women who
don’t want to become pregnant, birth control pills can regulate menstrual
cycles, reduce male hormone levels, and help to clear acne. However, the birth
control pill does not cure PCOS. The menstrual cycle will become abnormal again
if the pill is stopped. Women may also think about taking a pill that only has
progesterone, like Provera, to regulate the menstrual cycle and prevent
endometrial problems. But progesterone alone does not help reduce acne and hair
The medicine, Metformin, also called Glucophage, which is used to treat type 2
diabetes, also helps with PCOS symptoms. Metformin affects the way insulin
regulates glucose and decreases the testosterone production. Abnormal hair
growth will slow down and ovulation may return after a few months of use. These
medications will not cause a person to become diabetic.
The main fertility problem for women with PCOS is the lack of ovulation. Even
so, her husband’s sperm count should be checked and her tubes checked to make
sure they are open before fertility medications are used. Clomiphene (clomid)
medication and gonadotropin injections can be used to stimulate the ovary to
ovulate. PCOS patients are at increased risk for multiple births when using
these medications. In vitro Fertilization (IVF) is sometimes recommended to
control the chance of having triplets or more. Metformin can be taken with fertility
medications and helps to make PCOS women ovulate on lower doses of medication.
Medicine for increased hair growth or extra male hormones.
If a woman is not trying to get pregnant there are some other medicines that
may reduce hair growth. Spironolactone is a blood pressure medicine that has
been shown to decrease the male hormone’s effect on hair. Propecia, a medicine
taken by men for hair loss, is another medication that blocks this effect. Both
of these medicines can affect the development of a male foetus and should not
be taken if pregnancy is possible. Other non-medical treatments such as
electrolysis or laser hair removal are effective at getting rid of hair. A
woman with PCOS can also take hormonal treatment to keep new hair from growing.
Surgery. Although it is not recommended as the
first course of treatment, surgery called ovarian drilling is available to
induce ovulation. The doctor makes a very small incision above or below the
navel, and inserts a small instrument that acts like a telescope into the
abdomen. This is called laparoscopy. The doctor then punctures the ovary with a
small needle carrying an electric current to destroy a small portion of the
ovary. This procedure carries a risk of developing scar tissue on the ovary.
This surgery can lower male hormone levels and help with ovulation. But these
effects may only last a few months. This treatment doesn`t help with increased
hair growth and loss of scalp hair.
A healthy weight. Maintaining a
healthy weight is another way women can help manage PCOS. Since obesity is
common with PCOS, a healthy diet and physical activity help maintain a healthy
weight, which will help the body lower glucose levels, use insulin more
efficiently, and may help restore a normal period. Even loss of 10% of her body
weight can help make a woman`s cycle more regular.
How does Polycystic
Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affect a woman while pregnant?
There appears to be a higher rate of
miscarriage, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, and
premature delivery in women with PCOS. Researchers are studying how the
medicine, metformin, prevents or reduces the chances of having these problems
while pregnant, in addition to looking at how the drug lowers male hormone
levels and limits weight gain in women who are obese when they get pregnant.
Note: No one yet knows if metformin is
safe for pregnant women. Because the drug crosses the placenta, doctors are
concerned that the baby could be affected by the drug. Research is ongoing.
Does Polycystic Ovarian
Syndrome (PCOS) put women at risk for other conditions?
Women with PCOS can be at an increased
risk for developing several other conditions. Irregular menstrual periods and
the absence of ovulation cause women to produce the hormone estrogen, but not the
hormone progesterone. Without progesterone, which causes the endometrium to
shed each month as a menstrual period, the endometrium becomes thick, which can
cause heavy bleeding or irregular bleeding. Eventually, this can lead to
endometrial hyperplasia or cancer. Women with PCOS are also at higher risk for
diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Getting the
symptoms under control at an earlier age may help to reduce this risk.
Does Polycystic Ovarian
Syndrome (PCOS) change at menopause?
Researchers are looking at how male
hormone levels change as women with PCOS grow older. They think that as women
reach menopause, ovarian function changes and the menstrual cycle may become
more normal. But even with falling male hormone levels, excessive hair growth
continues, and male pattern baldness or thinning hair gets worse after
Homoeopathic medicines are very
effective and useful to PCOD/PCOS. With out produce side effects, helpful to
regulate the menses cycle, reduce the weight, controls facial hair growth
To get effective treatment for PCOD/PCOS
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