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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): An Overview

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome - (Image Credit: Shutterstock); Author picture - (Image Credit: Author)

Almost 1 out of 5 women suffer from the polycystic ovary but just 6-7% of cases lead to the polycystic ovarian syndrome.

This is more common in young girls around 20 years old

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem by effecting on:

  • Menstrual cycle
  • Birth Ability
  • Endocrine Hormones
  • Heart and Blood vessels
  • Hair, Skin, And Appearance

PCOS can lead to:

  • Androgens increasing (called male hormones), females also make them
  • Infrequent, absent, and/or irregular menstrual periods
  • Many small fluid-filled cysts in their ovaries

Symptoms:

  • Gaining weight, obesity usually with extra fat around the waist
  • Acne, oily skin, or dandruff
  • Patches of skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs that are thick and dark brown or black
  • Pelvic pain
  • Mood disorders and depression
  • Sleep respiratory problems
  • Infertility because of ovulating problems, PCOS could be the most common reason
  • Hirsutism, increased hair growth on the face, chest and stomach

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Causes

The main cause of PCOS is unknown. But some factors, such as genetics, could play an important role

Another one is related to hormonal imbalance in women. High levels of androgen can negatively affect the development and release of eggs in the ovulation process.

Researchers also mentioned insulin may be related to PCOS. Insulin is a glucose controller hormone. Many PCOS women have too much insulin in their blood. Excess insulin leads to increase production of androgen

Diagnosis

There is no specific test to diagnose the syndrome, you need a package of exams to know it.

History: about your menstrual periods, weight changes, family history, your mood.

Physical and blood Exams: blood pressure, blood glucose, hormonal level, body mass index (BMI), waist size, and checking unwanted hair growth.

Ultrasound (sonogram). Take pictures of the pelvic area. It might be used to examine your ovaries for cysts and check the endometrium.

Treatments

It is crucial to be managed to prevent problems. Treatment goals are based on your symptoms, some treatments for PCOS include:

Lifestyle modification: Many women with PCOS are overweight or obese, healthy eating and exercising helps them to manage the syndrome.

Healthy diet tips include:

  • Decreasing processed foods, junked foods and sugar
  • Increasing more whole-grain products, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats to your diet.

10 percent loss in body weight can make your cycle regular.

Birth control pills

Birth control pills:

  • Control menstrual cycles
  • Reduce male hormone levels
  • Help to clear acne

For someone who does not want to be pregnant can be helpful.

Diabetes medications:
-Metformin (Glucophage) is used to treat type 2 diabetes also can be beneficial for losing weight and symptom control.

Fertility medications:
Can promote ovulation and help PCOS women become pregnant

  • Clomiphene,as a stimulator of ovulation for most women
  • Gonadotropins, given as shots, but are more expensive and raise the risk of multiple births compared to clomiphene.

IVF Concern

Another choice is in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF is a way to become pregnant in these women but it will be costly.

Surgery:
“Ovarian drilling” is a surgery that may increase the chance of ovulation. For those who do not answer to medications can be the last option.

Medicine for treating hirsutism and unwanted hair control
Before taking Aldactone, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Do not breastfeed while taking this medicine.

Other options include:

  • Cream to reduce facial hair
  • Laser hair removal or electrolysis to remove hair
  • Hormonal treatment for hair growing

Other Treatments:
Some research has shown that in some cases who have BMI more than 40 or between 35 to 40, weight loss surgery such as bariatric with diet therapy also taking some weight loss medications or supplements can be effective.

To learn more about current PCOS treatment studies, visit the clinicaltrials.gov Web site. Talk to your doctor about whether taking part in a clinical trial might be right for you.

PCOS Treatment

Does PCOS put women at risk for other health problems?

Studies demonstrated that the risk of developing some metabolic disorders and chronic diseases in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome is significantly higher than in others.

For instant diabetes or pre-diabetes is occurred around 50 percent more than non- polycystic women before the age of 40.

Also, high blood pressure treats women with PCOS more than others because the rate of LDL cholesterol will increase as a result of weight gaining and hormonal changes thus these women are at risk of a heart attack 4 to 7 times higher than the women without PCOS in the same ages.

On the other hand, these patients usually suffer from sleep apnea during the night

Psychotherapy is so important in these women because some mood instability, anxiety and depression will happen also the changes of appearance sometimes affect teenagers who are dealing with this syndrome.

Some related cancer can treat Women with PCOS, for example, endometrial cancer. Since Irregular menstrual periods and the lack of ovulation can increase estrogen hormone, but not the hormone progesterone.

Progesterone can be the reason for the endometrium (lining of the womb) to shed each month as a menstrual period.

As a consequence of progesterone lacking, the endometrium becomes thick, which can lead to heavy or irregular bleeding. Over time, this can be a cause of endometrial hyperplasia, when the lining grows too much, and cancer.

1] Akbarzadeh M, MoradiF,DabaghManeshM.Metabolic Syndrome in the Mothers of Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.Knowledge & Health 2011;6(1): 36-43
2] EmadiM,RamezaniTehraniF,YaghmaeiP.Serumadiponectin levels and its association with insulin resistance and obesity in women with poly cystic ovarian syndrome.. Razi Journal of Medical Sciences Oct-Nov 2012; 19( 101)
3] S Barr, K Hart, S Reeves.Habitual dietary intake, eating pattern and physical activity of women with polycystic ovary syndrome. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition October 2011 ;65:1126-1132
4] AhmadiA, AkbarzadehM, MohammadiF.Anthropometric characteristics and dietary pattern of women with polycystic ovary syndrome.Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism / Jul-Aug 2013 / Vol 17 | Issue 4
5] Crystal C, Leigh E, Robert A.Difference in dietary intake between women with polycystic ovary syndrome and healthy controls.Vol. 86, No. 2, August 2006
6] Mahan L.K ,Escott-Stump S, Raymond J.L. Krause's Food & the Nutrition Care Process, (Krause's Food & Nutrition Therapy) 2012 13ed. Phil: WB Saunders, Elsevier
7] Douglas C, Norris L, Oster R, Darnell B, Azziz R, Gower BA.Difference in dietary intake between women with polycystic ovary syndrome and healthy controls. Fertil & Steril 2006; 86(2): 411-417.
8] Carmina E, Legro RS, Stamets K, Lowell J, Lobo RA. Difference in body weight between American and Italian women with polycystic ovary syndrome: influence of the diet. Hum Reprod 2003; 18(11): 2289 –2293.
9] Wild RA, Painter PC, Coulson PB, Carruth KB, Ranney GB. Lipoprotein lipid concentrations and cardiovascular risk in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1985; 61(5):946 –951..
10] Hatfield JA. Comparison of dietary intake between obese, post-obese, and normal weight women [masters thesis]. Birmingham (AL): Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham, 2000.
11] Micic D, Macut D, Popovic V, Sumarac-Dumanovic M, Kendereski A, Colic M, Dieguez C, Casanueva FF. Leptin levels and insulin sensitivity in obese and non-obese patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. Gynecol and Endocrinol 1997; 11(5): 315-320.
12] Clayton RN, Ogden V, Hodgkinson J. How common are polycystic ovaries in normal women and what is their significance for the fertility of the population? Clin Endocrinol 1992; 37(2):127-134.
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Neda Ghoddousi

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I was born and educated in Iran. My professional life has started when I was a teenager. I was an ambitious ba...

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