How Much Do You Know About Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, also known as PCOS for short, is majorly caused by hormone imbalance, especially in women who are in their childbearing age, usually between ages 15 to 44. According to research, about 20 to 25% of women in this age bracket suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome worldwide.
Studies found that most women have this condition but do not even know that they do, and despite these statistics, about 70% of women in this age group have not been diagnosed to check for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a health malady that affects women’s ability to reproduce. In other words, it affects women’s reproductive organs. The male hormone, which is termed the testosterone hormone but is secreted in tiny amounts in all women, is higher than normal in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, hence the health condition. This imbalance or fluctuation of hormones makes menstrual flow heavier with severe cramps, and in some cases, their bodies skip menstruation, thus making it quite difficult for them to get pregnant.
This is as a result of the ovaries releasing more than one or two, or a maximum of three eggs per month for fertilization, and in most cases, these multiple eggs are released prematurely. Thus, it affects both the ovaries and the ovulation process, respectively.
Some of the characteristics of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome include;
- Higher secretion of progesterone hormone
- Cysts in the ovaries
- Skipped or irregular periods
- Excess and severe menstrual cramps
In polycystic Ovary Syndrome condition, tiny sacs are filled with fluids and grow within the ovaries. The tiny sacs are also known as follicles, and they contain eggs that are not mature for ovulation. However, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome pushes out the eggs regardless of whether they are mature or not.
In addition, the excess secretion of progesterone alters the menstrual cycle, thereby making women experience lesser menstruation.
Asides from these, one of the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is unnecessary and excessive growth of hair in both visible and invisible parts of the body. When allowed to linger for a long time, it can lead to other health conditions like heart diseases and diabetes.
Over time, medical practitioners have prescribed birth control pills and certain diabetes drugs to help improve the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome condition and relieve symptoms.
In order to grasp a sounder understanding of the causes and symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, read on.
The origin of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is still unknown to medical practitioners as research has not been able to completely pinpoint what exactly the cause of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is. However, they believe that the condition occurs when the progesterone of male hormone disrupts the ovulation process and hinders the hormones that are produced by the ovaries from functioning properly.
Over time, some risk factors have been attached to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. These risk factors include;
According to studies, it has been discovered that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome runs in the family and can be part of a family’s medical history. Though research is still ongoing on this, studies found that it is possible that not just one but many genes can trigger Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Over half of the women who have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome are insulin resistant. That is, their body cells do not properly use insulin. The pancreas generates insulin, which helps the body convert sugar or glucose to glycogen to produce energy in the body. The body begins to get affected when the insulin fails to properly carry out its conversion job. When the body cells do not use the insulin hormones adequately, the hormone begins to pile up as the pancreas will not stop producing insulin, thereby triggering the excess production of the male hormones.
Another risk factor of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is obesity. It is one of the reasons why you may develop insulin resistance. Both insulin resistance and obesity can put you at the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Women who have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome have shown increased inflammation cases. Asides from this, obesity and overweight can also cause inflammation.
Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Some women begin to notice symptoms of PCOS at the very first instance of their menstrual period. Others, on the other hand, notice Polycystic Ovary Syndrome when they begin to add excess weight and others when they begin to have issues with having babies.
Some of the most common symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome include;
- Irregular period; some women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome menstruate about 8 times or less in a year. The poor ovulation hinders the uterine lining from shedding every month.
- Heavy bleeding; the build of the uterine lining stays for a long time, thus making you experience heavier menstrual flow than normal. That is in one of your 8 times of seeing it in a year.
- Hair growth; Polycystic Ovary Syndrome comes in handy with excessive growth of hair on different parts of the body. Over 70% of women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome have hairs growing all over their faces, hands, and legs. This condition is known as hirsutism.
- Acne; The skin gets oiler than normal, and women with this condition begin to experience breakouts on parts of their bodies like their faces, back, and chest.
- Weight gain; almost all women who are suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome are overweight, and obesity is one of the risk factors of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
- Male baldness; the hair on the head begins to get thinner and fallouts.
- Darkening of skin; patches of skin around the breasts, groins, and neck begin to get darker.
- Headaches, fluctuation, and imbalances of hormones can lead to headaches. Most women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome complain of headaches.
Effects of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome on The Body
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can reduce a woman’s fertility and her chances of having babies.
Ovulation is a process that has to occur first before pregnancy comes in. however, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome hinders ovulation, thereby making pregnancy difficult. Infertility is one of the results of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Some metabolic functions in the body begin to get affected as a result of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The major cause of the metabolic syndrome is overweight, and obesity and these two factors can trigger the following;
- High blood pressure
- Reduces good cholesterol production
- Increases bad cholesterol production
All these factors put together are called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome can also result in diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
It is one of the most common results of women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome as well as those who are overweight. The research found that women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and who are also overweight have the tendency of having 5 to 10 higher chances of sleep apnea compared to women who are obese but do not have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
The lining of the uterus is shed during every ovulation process every month. Without ovulation, the uterine lining builds up and thickens, which can increase your chances of developing endometrial cancer.
Both the hormonal changes that come with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can leave you depressed. Some of the symptoms that may give you so much concern include; excessive growth of hair and heavy cramps, and menstrual flow. These symptoms are capable of tampering with your emotions. Most women who are suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome tend to slip into anxiety and depression.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Pregnancy
Since Polycystic Ovary Syndrome disrupts your menstrual cycle, it becomes quite difficult to make babies. Over 60 women who suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome have fertility issues and find it difficult to get pregnant. Asides from this, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome also increases the risks for complications during pregnancy.
With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, you might deliver many of your babies prematurely if you have any chance to deliver. Also, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome puts you more at risk of suffering multiple miscarriages, gestational diabetes, and blood pressure.
However, the good news is, with fertility medications, women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can have children, as fertility treatments can enhance ovulation. In addition, losing weight and reducing blood sugar levels can improve your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy too.
In addition, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition that is most common to women of reproductive age, which can tamper with their ability to bear children and also expose them to certain severe health conditions.