Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, known as PCOS, is a hormonal issue that mostly impacts women of reproductive age. It makes the ovaries larger with small cysts and causes problems like irregular periods, extra male hormones, and insulin resistance. PCOS can lead to diabetes, heart problems, and infertility
PCOS results from genetic variations, family history, health conditions (like diabetes and obesity), and lifestyle factors. Genetic variants that affect hormones and androgen, or male sex hormone, production are linked to PCOS. If a family member has PCOS, your risk is higher due to shared genes and lifestyles. Conditions like diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle can also play a role in PCOS development.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can manifest with a range of symptoms, such as:
Some possible risk factors of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome are:
PCOS can look different from person to person, and it’s not the same for everyone.
Diagnosing PCOS involves looking at your health history, asking about your periods and fertility, checking for signs like extra hair growth and acne, and doing tests. These tests include blood work to measure hormones and an ultrasound to see your ovaries. Sometimes, they also consider other factors like insulin levels and weight. PCOS diagnosis and treatment are personal, so it’s best to talk to a healthcare pro for the right help.
PCOS treatment focuses on managing the problems that are concerning patient the most.
This includes reproductive problems (irregular menstrual cycle, infertility), metabolic abnormalities (obesity, insulin resistance, prediabetes) or male hormones excess (hirsutism and acne).
Specific treatment of PCOS includes lifestyle modification/weight loss along +/- medications.
Reproductive problems can be addressed with combination birth control pills to regulate menstrual cycle), or anti-estrogens and/or metformin to help you ovulate.
Metabolic abnormalities should be primarily addressed by low-calorie diet and moderate exercises with the help of registered dietitian. Even a mild weight reduction of 5% may positively affect your condition. Occasionally weight loss medications can be helpful to promote more sustainable weight loss.
Excessive hair growth and acne can improve from using combination birth control pills and/or antiandrogens.
Metformin is a medication widely used in PCOS. Its benefits include weight loss, reduction in insulin resistance, and prevention of diabetes.
Preventative steps cannot completely avoid Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), but certain measures can help manage the condition and reduce risks. To reduce the risk or manage PCOS:
While these lifestyle changes can help manage PCOS and lower your risk, it’s important to know that you can’t always prevent it entirely. Things like genetics and lifestyle choices play a role too. So, living a healthy life is key, and talking to your healthcare team for personalized advice is a smart move to manage PCOS effectively.
Untreated PCOS can result in complications like an increased risk of type 2 diabetes due to insulin resistance, cardiovascular problems, fertility issues from hormonal imbalances, and emotional impact due to physical symptoms. Early medical attention is essential to reduce these risks and improve overall health.