PCOS

 

A health problem that causes increase levels of Androgens, missed or irregular periods, developing cysts in ovaries, are health problems that can affect a woman’s ability to have children. This problem is referred to as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). The cause of PCOS is unknown, but several factors including genetics and hormonal imbalance. PCOS occurs in 5% to 10% of women and is the most common cause of Infertility in women. Often, a woman finds out about a cyst during a pelvic exam.

The main problem is a hormone called Androgens which are male hormones that females also produce. Increased levels of this hormone inhibit the development and release of eggs during ovulation. Some researchers say that insulin is linked to PCOS. Increased levels of insulin can predispose a woman to polycystic ovaries. Increase in insulin levels can cause androgens to increase. Most women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries. That is why it is called polycystic ovary syndrome. These cysts are not harmful, but can lead to hormonal imbalances.

Symptoms of PCOS tend to be mild at first and you may have only a few symptoms or a lot of them. The most common symptoms are:

  • Acne
  • Weight gain or trouble losing weight
  • Extra hair on the face and body
  • Thinning hair on the scalp
  • Irregular and fewer periods
  • Fertility problems; trouble getting pregnant
  • Depression
  • Skin discolorations
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Multiple, small cysts in the ovaries
  • Elevated insulin levels and insulin resistance
  • Oily skin
  • Dandruff

Treatments for PCOS include Birth control pills that contain female hormones that help to regulate menstrual cycles. Contraceptives also help to lower levels of androgens. Insulin-sensitizing medications used to treat adult-onset diabetes are useful for many women with PCOS. While these medications have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically for the treatment of PCOS, they seem to improve the regularity of menstrual cycles by lowering insulin levels. Ovulation Induction. In some women who wish to become pregnant, inducing ovulation is necessary. In current methods, the initial treatment to induce ovulation is usually an oral medication called Clomiphene citrate, which is taken for five days. If clomiphene is not effective, the next order of treatment often includes an injectable medication of gonadotropins. Lastly, Exercise helps the body use insulin more effectively and is highly recommended as well. It helps with weight loss and keeping off weight.

References:

Medicine.net. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Retrieved from: http://www.medicinenet.com/polycystic_ovary/article.htm

MedlinePlus. (2010). PCOS Treatment. Retrieved from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ovariancysts.html

U.S. Department of health & Human Services. (2010). Eisenberg, E. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  Retrieved from: http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/polycystic-ovary-syndrome.cfm

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