Polycystic ovary syndrome shortly known as PCOS is a hormonal disorder diagnosed among reproductive age group women. Menstrual cycle is a natural process experienced by females of reproductive age group. In PCOS, due to the high amount of male hormones, it becomes difficult for them to get a period which affects their child bearing capacity. In addition, there are various other issues that women with PCOS syndrome have to face. In this article, we will look at PCOS symptoms and treatment.

How PCOS affects?

PCOS is a condition that affects hormone levels in females during their childbearing age, which is the age when they are supposed to get their period between the ages of 15 to 44. Presently, 4-20% women worldwide and 7% of American women are suffering from this hormonal disorder. It affects women's ovary and reproductive organs that produce progesterone and estrogen. Ovaries in women release eggs that are necessary for reproduction. PCOS is a syndrome that affects the power of ovulation.

What causes PCOS?

Scientists are still finding causal factors which leads to PCOS. But, they believe that too much male hormone built-up causes this issue. PCOS can also be a genetic disorder. If your mother had it, you would most likely have it too.

Symptoms of PCOS


Here is a PCOS symptoms checklist-
•    Irregular periods- women with PCOS get less than eight periods a year or, in some cases, no periods at all. This is because no ovulation prevents the shedding of the uterine lining. But when they do, they face heavy bleeding.
•    Excess acne, hair- women with this condition have hairy bodies compared to others; excess hair growth is seen on areas like the chest, upper lip, face, and back, and they also face acne issues.
•    Weight gain: women with PCOD lose excess weight, and women with PCOS gain extra weight
•    Baldness and skin darkening- women lose hair on the scalp and face severe hair fall issues. In addition, skin gets dark in the armpits, neck area, and even under the breast areas.

There can be some exceptions where women don’t have common PCOS symptoms or some don’t get relief from the general treatment.

Women with PCOS may also experience:

•    It makes women incapable of giving birth, referred to as infertility.
•    Women may face the problem of high blood pressure, which is induced during pregnancy.
•    Severe inflammation in the liver due to fat
•    Increased risk of cardiovascular disease due to high sugar, blood, or triglyceride levels.
•    Causes cancer, depression, anxiety, sleeping, and eating disorders.
•    Uterine lining infection, which is a type of cancer
•    Miscarriage or premature birth.

PCOS and adolescence

An adolescent faces various issues such as acne, excess hair, menstrual irregularities, pigmentation, etc. They face menstrual irregularities which occur due to the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. PCOS symptoms checklist for teens or adolescents with PCOS usually includes development of abnormal acne problems, excessive or abnormal hair growth on the face, other areas of the body, loos thinning of the scalp hair, anxiety and depression, weight gain, and most importantly, irregular menstrual cycle.

How was PCOS discovered and diagnostic criterion developed?  

Two people named Stein and Leventhal found out about this syndrome. Then, in 1721, an Italian scientist named Vallisneri did more research on this topic. Finally, a group of experts established criteria during a conference in the year 2003 and incorporated the size and morphology of the ovary into the diagnostic criteria. Many researches have been conducted on this syndrome to date.

PCOS diagnosis

There is no single definitive method or diagnostic test to diagnose PCOS, whereas a combination of different methods is used for the same. The general process of diagnosis is as follows:
•    Medical history: Initially, the doctor takes the medical history which includes details of previous menstrual cycles, duration, blood flow, etc.
•    Physical examination: Then, other general symptoms are checked such as excessive hair growth, acne, weight fluctuation and pelvic examination is also carried out.
•    Laboratory testing: Thyroid functioning test, free androgen index and cosintropin stimulation tests are some common lab tests used by a doctor to diagnose PCOS.  

Is it possible to cure PCOS?

There is no medicine developed so far to cure PCOS. But its symptoms can be managed and quality of life can be improved with a combination of lifestyle management and medication. Here are some PCOS treatment modalities:
•    Weight management and lifestyle modification: Most the women with PCOS are either overweight or experience weight fluctuations. So, weight management is the first aspect which is often addressed during PCOS treatment.  Lifestyle modification, diet planning and including exercise in daily routine helps with it. If you are suffering from PCOS or have recently been diagnosed with it, you must include a good amount of fiber as a high-fiber diet is very beneficial in dealing with PCOS.  Another superfood to eat is lean protein, as PCOS causes abnormal weight gain; you can manage weight with lean protein. Don't forget to include lots of antioxidants in your diet if you suffer from PCOS. You can have antioxidants, fruits, vegetables, unsaturated fats, etc. However, you must avoid foods rich in refined carbs, sugary beverages, processed foods, saturated and trans fats, alcohol, and dairy products if you develop dairy intolerance due to PCOS.
•    Medication: Doctors use to prescribe different types of medicine to address different symptoms of PCOS. For instance, medicines are prescribes to reduce excessive hair growth, to regulate mensuration cycle and to help with ovulation.

Conclusion

Women with PCOS are more vulnerable to experience several chronic health issues and diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart failure, cardiovascular diseases, etc. As there is no cure for this syndrome yet, patients are encouraged to stay fit. Women with PCOS or even with a few PCOS symptoms should visit the doctor regularly for checkups. Proper medication should be taken which have been prescribed by a doctor. Women with PCOS should be encouraged to join support groups. It is a noncommunicable disease, so people should not fear away from those who have it.

Note: The article is meant for general awareness of the readers. The information can’t be used as a substitute to a medical prescription or diagnosis by a medical professional. In case you experience above or related symptoms, kindly consult a registered medical professional.


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