Just below we’re going to jump into exactly what PCOS is and the signs and symptoms your need to be looking for. Let’s get started…
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is the most common endocrine disorder that affects as many as 5% to 10% of women in their reproductive age. ‘What is PCOS?’ This can be a tough question to answer as it is a syndrome characterized by many signs and symptoms but with no specific known causes. It is defined as a condition where a woman experiences hormonal imbalance due to the malfunctioning of her ovaries. The condition is characterized by three main indicators.
Ovaries with multiple cysts, at least more than 10
Irregular, inadequate, or absence of menstrual periods, and disturbed or no ovulation
Higher level of androgens (male hormones) in the body
This disorder derives its name from the fact that many of the affected women have polycystic ovaries. But having this malady does not indicate or confirm the condition, as it is only one of the factors or symptoms that are present in most women diagnosed with this syndrome. PCOS is established only when she shows at least 2 of the 3 conditions mentioned above.
In order to understand what Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is, it is better to look at the symptoms than explore the causes or specific conditions. There is a range of signs and symptoms that can be present in women effected. It is not necessary that all affected women will have all the symptoms or that all the symptoms will surface at the same time.
Many symptoms and signs develop only gradually and there are many women who have PCOS but do not show any visible signs. The three indicators mentioned above give rise to the most common of signs and symptoms associated with this syndrome.
So What is PCOS? It’s that the ovaries have not completely developed or they do not function properly. Every woman produces androgens in small amounts. Androgen is the hormone responsible for masculine qualities in either sex. Affected women these levels are relatively high and interfere with the production and release of eggs from the ovaries. This results in irregular, scanty or no menstrual bleeding. Also, this condition makes it difficult for patients to conceive making infertility one of the most common signs of the syndrome.
Higher levels of androgens also give rise to male like characteristics in the female body. Hirsutism is one such problem that many woman suffering with PCOS are presented with. These women experience male pattern hair growth on some parts of the body, such as sideburns, upper lips, chest and stomach hair. Some might also experience male pattern hair loss and develop bald patches. Excessive androgens also affect the sex binding globulin hormone (SHBG), and reduces the sex drive in many affected women.
Many women with PCOS have hyperinsulinemia, or insulin resistance leading to higher levels of insulin in the body. These increased levels of insulin also give rise to excessive androgen secretion which only exacerbates the existing condition. It is the simultaneous presence of these multiple conditions that can perhaps loosely define and help with the diagnosis and treatment.
Another important factor to keep in mind with a Polycystic Ovary Syndrome diagnosis is that it is suspected to be genetic. In clinical research studies of what it is, many cases have shown that the hormonal imbalance runs in the families.
So, even if you do not completely understand PCOS (Although I hoped this article has helped), you must consult a physician if you see the slightest symptoms of this syndrome and you know that someone in your family has already had it.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is a common disorder suffered by women of reproductive age. It is serious and can manifest itself into a major medical condition if not treated properly.