PCOS? What does mean? PCOS is an acronym for polycystic ovary syndrome. It is a hormonal condition that offsets the balance of the female reproductive hormones. This condition causes the ovaries to become enlarged; some persons with this condition may have small cysts on the outer edges of the enlarged ovaries. This disorder can only be treated and managed as it is a condition that can not be cured. PCOS can halt one’s menstrual cycle or make it very irregular, thereby, making it uneasy to know when one would menstruate. This disorder could also increase one’s chance of having other health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, infertility, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, and cancer as a result of the endometrium thickening. A young girl who is 11 years old could have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Persons with PCOS may experience irregular menstrual period, no menstrual periods, infertility issues, acne, thinning hair, weight gain, excessive body hair in areas like the lower abdomen, chest, thighs, nipples area and face; dark patches on the skin, skin tags, anxiety, depression, and pelvic pain. Here are the hormones affected by polycystic ovary syndrome.
Androgens are hormones that the male gender has but are also seen in women in small amounts. The androgen hormone plays a vital role in the development and manifestation of male traits such as body hair and patterned baldness. Androgens in women are converted in the female hormone called estrogen which helps increase sexual desire and satisfaction. Estrogen also helps prevent bone loss in women. Persons with PCOS have high androgen levels, this is the cause of excessive body hair, acne, weight gain, infertility, and irregular or no menstrual cycle.
Insulin is a hormone that controls the body’s sugar level — it changes the food we eat into energy. It also stores glucose for future use. Insulin literally looks out for the body’s interest: some cells in the body cannot receive sugar directly, so insulin releases sugar into the bloodstream. It, however, signals the cells that cannot receive sugar directly to absorb sugar from the bloodstream. It is dangerous to one’s overall health if the body’s sugar level increases or reduces drastically. This condition can be said to be hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia respectively. Persons with PCOS have high levels of insulin which can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.
Progesterone is a hormone that the ovaries need to produce eggs for pregnancies or menstrual cycles. This hormone also helps the body maintain early stages of pregnancies. Persons with PCOS may have low production of progesterone, making the patient have irregular menstruation or no menstruation at all. Here are some health implications that may arise as a result of one having PCOS.
Type 2 Diabetes
A person with PCOS is usually insulin resistant, which makes the body produce insulin in high amounts, thereby, leading to diabetes. Diabetes is a health disorder most patients with polycystic ovary syndrome have to deal with. The excess production of insulin affects the ovaries directly as it triggers an increase in the production of testosterone. So, it is advisable for persons with PCOS, especially those in the early stage, to consult a doctor and monitor the insulin levels if it has not spiked at the moment of detection. It could also be managed if otherwise is the case.
It is possible for obesity to cause polycystic ovary syndrome and for polycystic ovary syndrome to cause obesity. PCOS is a disorder that any female who has started having menstrual periods can get. Persons with this disorder produce excess insulin that does not do what it should, such as distributing sugar to the cells and storing glucose for future purpose. This may lead to weight gain or difficulty losing weight. It works both ways, obese women are at a high risk of having PCOS and persons with PCOS are at a high risk of being obese. It is advisable for persons who are obese or persons with PCOS to watch their diet and avoid foods that would most likely increase the weight.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where a person stops breathing during sleep and starts breathing after a while. Persons who snore and wake up tired after a full night’s rest may have sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a type of sleep apnea which occurs when the muscles of the throat relax. This sleep disorder could potentially be dangerous as it could lead to mood disorder, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even weight gain. Studies show that persons with PCOS are highly susceptible to sleep apnea.
Having PCOS may increase the chances of one getting heart diseases. Increased levels of insulin also increase the risk of one having high triglycerides. Triglycerides are fats found in the blood and high levels of it may increase one’s cholesterol levels and risk of having heart disease. So, maintaining a healthy weight and reduction in salt are undeniably important, as these could help reduce the risk of having a heart disease.
Studies show that menstrual abnormalities in women with polycystic ovary syndrome would most likely increase the chances of one having mental health issues. Persons with PCOS may have anxiety, depression and mood swings. The hormone imbalances can contribute to these mental health issues, these hormones may, however, be sometimes present at birth. Changes in sugar levels may cause mood swings because women with PCOS have calories stored. Calories that should rather be made available to the brain in order to nourish it to enable it to regulate mood.
Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer found in the endometrium. An endometrium is the lining of the uterus. Endometrial cancer can also be called uterine cancer. Persons with PCOS van increase one’s chances of having endometrial cancer. The change in hormone levels increases the risk of cancer. The absence of the progesterone hormones and menstrual periods makes the endometrium think, thereby, altering the cells causing endometrial hyperplasia. Endometrial hyperplasia is a precancerous condition one has before cancer itself. Leaving PCOS untreated may lead to endometrial cancer.
How to Live with PCOS
Eating healthy would most definitely help women with PCOS. It helps regulate the weight and regulate the imbalances of insulin in the body. One can eat natural foods, foods high in fiber, fatty fish, spinach, kale, broccoli, blueberries, blackberries, cherry berries, lentils, dark chocolate (eat moderately), spices, nuts and healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado.
Knowing that persons with PCOS may most likely be obese, regular exercises would most definitely help burn excess fat and boost the body’s metabolism.
Coffee is a stimulant most people are used to. But, this is not a good choice of drink for persons with PCOS as it increases the production of insulin. Insulin production is something persons with PCOS want to regulate so it is not too much, thereby, causing diabetes.
Relaxing can help persons with PCOS battle depression, anxiety and mood swings. PCOS can affect the emotional well-being of a person, so, depressing would most likely help the patient feel better.
This is necessary because of the many health complications a person with PCOS may most likely have. Regular checkups are mandatory in order to monitor body changes and possibly profer a solution before it gets out of hand.
Oral Conceptive Pills
This is a medication a person with PCOS need to regulate their menstrual cycle and making it possible for pregnancies, despite the odds.
There are quite a lot of people living with PCOS. Having this hormonal disorder does not necessarily spell doom for one. A person with PCOS can most definitely live a normal and productive life. Eating healthy, getting checked regularly by a doctor, working hard to lose excess weight and taking one’s medications would most likely increase the quality of life. It is important to know the symptoms of PCOS, so as to get diagnosed early enough to manage the situation. Early detection can greatly increase the quality of life and reduce the risk of having other health complications.