PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is an extremely common condition among women, one that more and more women are experiencing every day. Though its exact cause remains unknown, doctors believe that PCOS is caused due to a combination of hormonal imbalances and genetics. Between men and women, this condition is likelier to develop among the latter, particularly if a woman’s mother or sister has been diagnosed with it.
Another cause could be the overproduction of androgen, the male sex hormone produced by women’s bodies. Women who suffer with PCOS are known to produce much higher levels of androgen that eventually affect the development and issuance of eggs during monthly ovulation. An overproduction of insulin, also a symptom of PCOS, can also cause high androgen levels.
Symptoms of PCOS
A woman’s first brush with PCOS begins at puberty, with the severity and type varying from woman to woman. However, this condition is best typified by irregular menstrual periods.
With the onset of this condition, women experience a reduction in female characteristics because of a fall in female sex hormones. As a result, they break out into features such as excess facial hair, and hair on the thumbs, chest and stomach; a deep voice, infertility, decline in breast size, anxiety, depression, deep male voice, weight gain and acne. Women also experience related health issues like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol, all linked to weight gain, a typical symptom of PCOS.
It’s common, so don’t worry: Often, the symptoms of PCOS can leave women feeling desolate, frustrated and alone. Its symptoms can be embarrassing and individual, so not many other women would experience what one does, making it all the more difficult to express and discuss. Fortunately, there are several websites that offer practical help for women suffering with PCOS to connect with others who can empathize with their problem.
Double check and check often: Although PCOS is common among women, its cause remains still elusive. According to science, it is genetic, but cannot be diagnosed easily. This makes it necessary to double check to ensure that it is PCOS after all. If women notice PCOS symptoms such as moodiness, growth of facial hair and irregular periods, they should go in for periodic checking.
It is controllable and curable: PCOS is believed to be caused due to an unhealthy diet, compounded by a hectic lifestyle. A regular course of medicine and controlling the amount of sugar intake can make PCOS both controllable and curable.
Treatment for PCOS can control the symptoms and manage the condition so that further complications are avoided. The treatment for this condition isn’t uniform, but varies from patient to patient, depending on each one’s specific symptoms and their severity.
However, all PCOS patients will benefit greatly from eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly, especially if overweight. This combination of diet and exercise can also help regulate their menstrual cycle and reduce blood sugar levels.
PCOS can bring on depression: Women suffering with PCOS dismiss the depression, they suffer from as unimportant, when it is actually a spin-off of PCOS. If women with PCOS have trouble sleeping, are depressed or have mood swings, they should consult a counselor or doctor immediately, as these could be early symptoms of depression.
According to studies, there is a definite link between depression and diabetes. Therefore, the depression experienced by PCOS patients could well be related to insulin resistance. It could also be due to hormonal imbalances and the overt symptoms of PCOS. Depression is also attributed to the changes in appearance brought on by PCOS, such as sudden acne, hair loss, facial hair and other such symptoms that cause poor self-esteem.
Miscarriages and infertility can also lead to stress and depression. However, medication can help bring in the right balance of hormone levels just as anti-depressants can alleviate feelings of inferiority.
PCOS may cause diabetes: PCOS is typified by many symptoms, one of them being insulin resistance. It changes the way your body uses sugar, thereby causing diabetes. If diagnosed with PCOS, it helps to avoid sugary foods.
PCOS also leads to undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea: A majority of PCOS patients experience undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea or breathing difficulties at night. To get over the problem of sleep apnea, one must lose sufficient weight, something of great importance to PCOS sufferers.
It’s possible to be pregnant: Though it is difficult for women with PCOS to conceive, yet it’s a fallacy that being diagnosed with this condition automatically means that conception is impossible. Far from it.
PCOS affects women’s supply of breast milk: According to studies, PCOS causes a hormonal imbalance that affects the development of breast milk. However, the fact remains that women with PCOS can breastfeed without facing any problem. Therefore, doctors advise that pregnant women with PCOS should act on their doctors’ advice and get their breasts checked.
Without medical support PCOS can worsen: There is no shame in having PCOS. If you see symptoms of the disorder, it is advisable to seek medical help. Appropriate and consistent medication can help you deal better with PCOS and prevent it from recurring.
Other conditions: PCOS may also open the floodgates for developing a slew of other conditions, such as irregular periods and a lack of ovulation may make women produce more estrogen, but not progesterone. In the absence of progesterone, which is instrumental in making the endometrium shed monthly in the form of a menstrual period, the endometrium may grow much larger than usual and experience cell changes. This condition is pre-cancerous and is known as endometrial hyperplasia. If the endometrium, now thickened, is left untreated, it can cause endometrial cancer.
Other diseases that PCOS can cause in later life include insulin resistance, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), type 2 diabetes, heart disease and blood pressure.
Treating PCOS takes time: Patients of PCOS may be in great pain, but in order to overcome that challenge, one must persevere with an intelligent diet, exercise and medication in the long-term, for best results. It does take time and patience to see results, so hang in there and see the difference in time.