The Mystery of PCOS: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of Polycystic Ovarian Disease
What is PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by the presence of multiple small cysts in the ovaries, as well as a range of other symptoms including irregular periods, weight gain, acne, and excessive hair growth. It is also associated with an increased risk of other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and infertility.
What is the cause?
The exact cause is not known, but it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Women with PCOS have higher levels of androgens (male hormones) than normal, which can lead to the development of cysts on the ovaries and the other symptoms associated with the condition.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom is irregular or infrequent periods. Women with PCOS may have fewer than nine periods per year or may have long intervals between periods. Additionally, they may experience heavy or prolonged periods. Other symptoms can include weight gain, acne, excessive hair growth (hirsutism), and thinning hair (alopecia).
What are its risks
PCOS can also be associated with a number of other health problems. Women with PCOS are at an increased risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. They are also more likely to have high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Additionally, PCOS is a leading cause of infertility.
There are several tests that can be used to diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). These include:
Physical Examination: A healthcare provider will perform a physical examination to look for signs of PCOS, such as enlarged ovaries and excess hair growth.
Blood Tests: Blood tests can be used to measure hormone levels, such as testosterone, estrogen, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). High levels of androgens (male hormones) and/or an imbalance in LH and FSH can indicate PCOS.
Ultrasound: An ultrasound can be used to visualize the ovaries and look for the presence of cysts.
Glucose Tolerance Test: This test is done to check for insulin resistance which is a common feature of PCOS.
Lipid Profile: A test to check for cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
It’s important to note that its diagnosis is based on the presence of specific symptoms and test results, rather than a single test. The healthcare provider will take into account your medical history, symptoms, and test results when making a diagnosis.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are no specific diagnostic criteria for PCOS, it is a clinical diagnosis based on a combination of signs, symptoms and laboratory data. Therefore, the diagnosis may vary depending on the specialist you consult.
Treatment of PCOS is typically based on the presence of characteristic symptoms, as well as a physical exam and laboratory tests. It’s important to work with a qualified medical practitioner to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs. They will help you understand your options and work with you to find the best treatment for you. In some cases, lifestyle changes, losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise may help to improve symptoms of PCOS.