Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is a common hormonal problem in women of reproductive age. The imbalance levels of androgen hormone which causes irregularities in the menstrual cycle, such as a missed period or prolonged period days. It is a common cause of infertility in women.
PCOS is a “syndrome”, or collection of symptoms, that has an impact on the ovaries and ovulation. “Polycystic” means “many cysts” and is one of its main characteristics. It refers to the many fluid-filled sacs that form in the ovaries due to lack of ovulation. The sacs are called follicles, containing one immature egg each. Not all women with PCOS have small cysts in the ovaries.
PCOS has unknown cause. The treatment focuses on management of symptoms and lowering risk for other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and endometrial cancer.
PCOS can affect women and girls of reproductive age. According to a study, up to 70% of women with PCOS are not diagnosed.
The symptoms can vary for every individual. Women may start noticing the symptoms of PCOS around the time of their first period or during pregnancy difficulties. Common symptoms are:
Some women with PCOS may not have any symptoms. However, women who are overweight are most likely to experience severe symptoms.
Women who experience these symptoms are recommended to consult the gynecologist for proper diagnosis.
PCOS has unknown cause. Several factors that may contribute are:
Obesity is one of the major contributors to insulin resistance. Women with insulin resistance have higher risk for type 2 diabetes. They may also notice darkening of skin in the lower part of the neck, armpits, groin or under the breasts.
Chronic, low-grade inflammation causes polycystic ovaries to create androgens which can result to heart and blood vascular issues. Inflammation can also be increased by being overweight.
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