Here is a deeper look at the causes, symptoms, and treatment for PCOS. Although problematic, it is treatable with early detection and there are many preventative measures to take to avoid longer-term problems from occurring.
The female body is made up of a
range of hormones that need to stay in balance to keep the body in check.
things are thrown off, even just slightly, problems arise!
One common problem
that occurs in women is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It is a mouthful to say,
so better referred to as PCOS.
PCOS happens when there is an
excess of the male hormone androgen.
These increased levels cause a range of
issues for women of reproductive age, including fertility struggles and cysts
on the ovaries.
Here is a deeper look at the
causes, symptoms, and treatment for PCOS!
Although problematic, it is treatable
with early detection and there are many preventative measures to take to avoid
longer-term problems from occurring.
What causes PCOS?
There is a lot of research going
into PCOS but there are no concrete causes of it.
There are many factors that
can have an influence with PCOS, but mostly it comes down to hormonal
Something we rarely realise about
the female hormonal system is that there is a range of male hormones that come
It is normal for the ovaries to produce a small amount of androgens.
When there are too many androgens coming out of the ovaries, PCOS can occur.
Another possible cause is an
imbalance with insulin. If there are excess insulin levels, a resistance
occurs. Insulin is the hormone that allows humans to digest sugar. An excessive
amount of insulin retained in the body can lead to more androgens being
It is also thought that the
condition can be hereditary although this area is still being researched and
there is no definite explanation.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
Since the hormones are so tricky
and difficult to understand, there are no direct symptoms of PCOS.
There is a
range of symptoms that might lead to PCOS, but these are also symptoms of many
other things playing up in the female body.
This is why regular check-ups are
so important, especially at reproductive age!
Some things that might be a sign
of PCOS include acne or facial hair, due to the increased androgen levels.
Weight gain or trouble losing weight can also be a sign of the hormonal
Most commonly, missed or
irregular periods are a major sign. This is one of the hereditary factors so it
is always good to know family history and their menstrual patterns to look out
Finally, there are fertility
Many women realise they have PCOS when they are trying to get pregnant.
Obstetricians and gynaecologists are equipped and trained in recognising,
diagnosing, and treating PCOS when women make appointments for infertility
Are there any side effects of PCOS?
Not without its complications,
PCOS can lead to a range of health problems if it isn’t treated.
infertility is a common sign of PCOS, it is still possible to fall pregnant
with this condition.
There can also be problems with
sleep apnea, metabolic problems, uterine bleeding, and depression.
PCOS can be managed effectively and there are many preventative tactics to avoid
these wider health concerns.
How is PCOS treated?
Fortunately, there are many ways
to treat PCOS and lessen the severity of it.
Even if it doesn’t go away
completely, it is entirely possible for women with PCOS to lead healthy lives
and have normal pregnancies.
The main treatments for PCOS
relate to a healthy diet and healthy weight.
Since hormones are controlled and
affected so much by what we eat and what our weight is, it is important to
consider these factors and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Regular health focus
can reduce the long-term severity of PCOS!
First, exercising moderately and
staying active throughout the week is key.
The recommended exercise amount for
the average adult is 30 minutes a day. This doesn’t have to be an intense, sweat-filled
work out at the gym, rather just soft cardio, yoga, or walking.
Next, eating foods that are
healthy for the heart and promote hormonal balance is essential. This might
mean big dietary changes for some people, but it is worth it in the long term.
Vegetables, beans, nuts, fruits, and whole grains should make up the main
portion of each meal.
Avoiding saturated fats and oily foods are important. It
is fine to have a cheat day every now and then, but they shouldn’t dominate the
Importantly, women who smoke
should seriously consider quitting. It is much better for overall health to
avoid smoking and can help to reduce the prevalence and severity of PCOS.
Overall, keeping a healthy weight
and eating fresh ingredients helps to keep the body and its hormones in check.
Losing weight, even just 5 kilograms, can help to regulate the menstrual cycle
and keep ovulation on track.
Doctors may also prescribe birth control pills as
a way to regulate this, depending on the individual circumstances.
How do doctors diagnose PCOS?
As stated early, many women find
out they have PCOS if they have fertility issues.
Also, if women are
experiencing irregular menstrual cycles, the doctor may investigate and find
this as a cause. There is no definitive test for PCOS, rather it is generally
found through an investigation of other health concerns.
presenting to a doctor with fertility or menstrual struggles, some diagnostics
they may run include:
A pelvic exam to assess the reproductive organs and check for
any masses on the fallopian tubes or ovaries
Blood tests to measure and analyse hormonal levels
An ultrasound check the appearance of the ovaries and the
thickness of the uterus lining
doctors to formally diagnose PCOS, they need to have a thorough rundown of
medical history, family history, and lifestyle factors. Some questions they may
ask during their investigation include:
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