The disease you may have and you may not know – Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) ! An invisible illness which can make you suffer for your whole life if it is not treated. And unfortunately 70% of the women having Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) don’t know that it is not their fault and their body’s but it is their ovaries that have toxic relationship with them. Failed marriages because the women isn’t able to give birth, having so many miscarriages and all the blame on the women for not able to give heir to the family. All these happen in our society and one of the cause for them is PCOS.
What is Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS)?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS) is a metabolic, hormonal and psychosocial disorder of ovaries with ovaries being enlarged having small cysts on the outer edges.
It is a “syndrome”- a group of symptoms, that affects ovaries and ovulation leading to various diseases. Female body produces a small amount of male hormones too that is androgens, testosterone but about one tenth to one twentieth as compared to produced by a male body.
But women with Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) produce higher than normal amount of male hormones which causes irregular periods, difficulty in pregnancy, excess hair growth on face and body, thinning of hair on scalp and excess hair fall, diabetes and heart diseases.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) mainly affects women of childbearing ages 15 to 45 and it is found in 5 to 10% of the female population in developed countries that means out of every 10 women one is having PCOS
Hormones causing Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS) are-
- Androgens- They are male hormones but women with PCOS have higher levels of androgens in the body.
- Insulin- insulin resistance is one of the cause of PCOS
- Progesterone- it regulates menstrual cycle and women with PCOS produce low progesterone.
It affects the ovaries (the primary reproductive organ) which produces oestrogen and progesterone, they are steroid hormones which regulate menstrual cycle.
And the ovaries produce small amount of androgens which is a male hormone. androgens is produced by adrenal glands, fat cells and skin cells.
The granulosa cells (somatic cell originated from ovarian surface epithelium) of ruptured graphene follicle proliferate and these cells become yellow due to accumulation of pigment called lutein or luteal cells which secrete progesterone and oestrogen is secreted by Corpus luteum.
Progesterone hormone maintain pregnancy and repairs the wall of uterus to make its surface adhesive to help implantation and due to combined action of progesterone and oestrogen the endometrium of uterus is prepared for ovulation.
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing hormone (LH) control ovulation follicle stimulating hormone(FSH) and luteinizing hormone(LH) produced by anterior pituitary called gonadotropins they stimulate ovary to produce a follicle(a secretory sac) containing egg and luteinizing hormone(LH) trigger the release of a mature egg from ovary.
You will ask “What is the purpose of androgen in females!?”
In females androgen play a pivotal role in hormonal cascade that stimulate puberty as well as various physical changes like hair growth in pubic area and underarms. Additionally they regulate functions of many organs as well, like bone, kidney, muscle and liver. Also the functions in libido and sexual arousal.
Symptoms of PCOS: Most common are-
- Irregular periods- Due to less production of progesterone irregular or skipped periods occur.
- Heavy menstruation-The uterus wall builds for a long time and sheds all together resulting into heavy bleeding compared to regular ones.
- Obesity- women gets overweight by the time they are diagnosed with Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS). Obesity is a result of high level of insulin produced by the female in Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS), which is not regulated in their body.
- Male baldness- thinning of scalp hair due to male hormones(androgens) is called androgenic alopecia which leads to low confidence in women.
What causes Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS)?
it is not exactly known what causes PCOS that is why there is no no cure to it.
But various factors lead to PCOS
- Insulin resistance- Up to 50% of women having Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS) also have insulin resistance. insulin hormone produced by pancreas. Increased insulin resistance, the body isn’t able to use insulin properly stimulating pancreas to produce more insulin for the body and excess insulin triggers ovaries to produce more male hormones and the excess glucose in body leads to obesity.
- Hereditary- Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS) is a heterogenetic disease many genes contribute to PCOS and it can be passed on from mother’s or father’s or both sides. Males in these families are also at high risk of endocrine abnormalities
- Inflammation- Inflammation has emerged as a key contributor to Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS).Obesity is also associated with chronic inflammation which can lead to diseases like Type 2 diabetes and cancer.
PCOS is a very complex condition in women of childbearing age. They get stress mood swings, stress, anxieties as a daily reward plus society makes it more difficult and PCOS leads to many complications as well
- Difficulty in pregnancy- to get pregnant each ovary should release one egg alternatively per month during ovulation but females having PCOS ovulate less frequently.
- Obesity- females having PCOS are obese. some female get diagnosed with PCOS when they are already become overweight but it’s not necessary that all female having PCOS are obese.
- Acne- due to more production of androgens it stimulate production of oil in skin resulting acne on the face, back, neck, chest.
- Sleep Apnea- it is a serious sleeping disorder which causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start which interrupt sleeping .it is more common in obese women and adding Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS) to it makes it more serious.
- Depression- Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS) causes information leading to high cortisol level which increases stress and depression. Mood swings, depression and anxiety is increased manifold in Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS).
- Endometrial cancer- The uterus wall is unable to cast off every month due to no ovulation for long time and it becomes thick and thicker by every passing month and thus increases the risk of endometrial cancer.
- Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes- More than 50% women having Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS) develop type 2 diabetes(gestational diabetes- diabetes to pregnant women) it risks the baby’s life and pregnancy and can lead to type 2 diabetes later in life of both mother and child.
Diagnosis of Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS)
Three main type of diagnosis and if two symptoms appear then women is having Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS) and symptoms are-
- High androgen in blood
- Cysts in ovaries
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Methods of diagnosis-
- Blood test- If high level of male hormones are found. Also the cholesterol, insulin and triglyceride level in body detect your risk to heart diseases.
- pelvic exam- in this the doctor insert his gloved fingers in the vagina to check if there is any growth in ovary or uterus.
- ultrasound- it is used to look for abnormal follicles and any other problem in ovary and uterus.
Myths about Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS)-
- if you lose weight you can get rid of PCOS – There is NO cure for it but obesity is not the must symptom and result of Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS).
Female having normal weight also suffer from PCOS.
- you can’t get pregnant if you have PCOS A BIG myth, a lot of medications are present when you can consult a good doctor which can stimulate ovulation.
Other than that assisted reproductive technologies(ART) which are a boon to a female having PCOS like in-vitro fertilization , zygote intrafallopian transfer(ZIFT), gamete intrafallopian transfer(GIFT), artificial insemination(AI), intracytoplasmic sperm injection(ICSI), surrogacy and many more.
Also PCOS doesn’t mean no ovulation and no pregnancy so females having PCOS) should use contraception during sexual intercourse if they have to avoid pregnancy.
And there are many more myths. Please consult to a good gynaecologist before believing to any one of them.
Diet and Lifestyle changes- Lifestyle changes like weight loss diet and exercise.
- Losing 5 to 10% of your body weight can help regulate your menstruation properly.
- Also it improves insulin resistance, heart disease ,diabetes risk and cholesterol levels in your body.
- Have a good diet chart with low glycemic index(GI) and low carbohydrate which is effective for PCOS.
- Do workout daily at least 4 times a week for 30 minutes per day which improves your body insulin level.
The potential cure for Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS)-
The researchers found that if the mice were given cetrorelix an IVF drug to control female hormone levels the PCOS diminished that suggest cetrorelix or other IVF drugs May restore ovulation and even increase pregnancy rate in women with PCOS but still this research is done in mice and various testing and guidelines has to be followed before doing it on humans.
So if you are having symptoms like
- Missed periods
- not getting pregnant after trying continuously for 12 months
- Or more Male features like hair growth on face and body
- diabetes unexplained weight loss
Do visit your doctor and get all the tests and checks check your body to prevent future complications.
PCOS is a life-changing disorder please do not take it or the symptoms casually. Ask the people suffering from it daily and go do something for yourself, your body because it is the only place you have to live in.