You may have heard of this term PCOS from your friend or doctor. So we will discuss in this article-what is it and how is it confirmed.
What is Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS is a condition in which women have a hormonal imbalance that interferes with normal reproductive processes. It is a common condition seen in 12-21 % of women of reproductive age. Up to 70 % of the women remain undiagnosed.
What Causes PCOS?
The cause of PCOS is not well understood but may involve a combination of genetic (it has been seen to run in families) or environmental factors (PCOS more commonly seen with high calorie diet, sedentary lifestyle, exposure to chemicals which act as endocrine disruptors).
There is a relative increase in the male hormones androgens- the eggs in the ovaries start growing but then their growth stops and they are seen as fluid filed sacs or cysts on ultrasound. Because there is no mature egg formation so pregnancy also doesn’t happen and the menstrual cycles are also irregular.
There is also insulin resistance.
What are the symptoms/ features of PCOS?
- Irregular menstrual cycles or no periods at all
- Decreased frequency or complete lack of egg formation resulting in difficulty in getting pregnant
- Abnormal hair growth (Hirsutism) over the upper lip, chin, upper chest, thighs, etc.
- Oily skin/Acne
What are the health risks associated with PCOS?
- There is high risk of depression and anxiety
- Diabetes: Increased tendency to develop diabetes mellitus II
- Sleep Apnea: Increased risk of having sleep apnea in which you may have problems like
- waking unrefreshed from sleep
- Daytime sleepiness
- Endometrial cancer: There is 2-6 times increased risk of developing endometrial cancer.
- Cardiovascular disease: There is increased risk of developing heart disease.
- Body image issues
- Eating disorders and disordered eating
How to diagnose PCOS?
- The doctor can make a diagnosis on the basis of detailed history and physical examination. An ultrasound to look for size and volume of ovaries and certain biochemical tests may be done if required.
So if you think that you may be having PCOS or have any similar features, consult your doctor today to know more about preventing and treating the problems associated with it.