Don’t ask me if I am PMSing
Like every one in 10 women, I have polycystic ovary syndrome. I have to wax my facial hair constantly and I am struggling to get pregnant. Society has told us to look one way and if I don’t look like that textbook, I feel that I look wrong!
I have a skin of a thirteen year old which never seemed to improve for long. I have trouble losing weight and experience a lot of pain roughly where my ovaries are. When I have my period, the pain usually gets much worse. I feel moody and at times depressed.
Polycystic ovary syndrome – A metabolic malady
The mother of all lifestyle disorders in women, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome or Stein-Leventhal Syndrome was first described by an Italian physician Antonio Vallisneri as early as 1721. It is the most common endocrine disorder that affects 12-21% of women in their reproductive age out of which most remain undiagnosed.
Although it has affected millions of women, its actual cause has eluded the medicine world.
Timely diagnosis of PCOS in women is vital since there is a high risk of metabolic syndrome and its cardiovascular sequel. Management of PCOS restricts attention to current symptoms, fertility and psychosocial issues, as well as prevention of related health problems including diabetes.
Normally the ovaries in a female body situated either side of the uterus have two functions: ovulating and secreting hormones. In comparison to the normal ovary, the polycystic ovary is larger, often causes clusters of small, pearl-sized cysts in the ovaries. The cysts are fluid-filled and contain immature eggs. Women with PCOS produce slightly higher amounts of male hormones known as androgens. All the attributes results in the symptoms.
SYMPTOMS OF PCOS
- Polycystic ovaries(many cysts)
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Unwanted hair growth due to high levels of androgens(male hormone)
- Thinning of scalp hair
- Irregular ovulation
- Occasionally infertility
The cause of PCOS is not known. Researchers believe that insulin resistance can cause the ovaries to produce too many male hormones, resulting in the symptoms of PCOS. The condition appears to be genetic as it is often seen among the sisters. Although PCOS has no cure, variety of PCOS treatments can help alleviate the symptoms of this disease, including infertility.
COMPLICATIONS OF PCOS
- Diabetes, elevated insulin levels or insulin resistance
- Heart and blood vessel problems
- Uterine cancer
- Sleep apnea
Each of these complications of PCOS can be life threatening, which is why early diagnosis and timely treatment for PCOS is so important.
TREATMENT FOR PCOS
Treatment is chosen based on a woman’s symptoms, age and future pregnancy plans which may include:
- Birth control pills to regulate menstruation
- Insulin-sensitizing medications
- Ovulation induction to treat infertility
- Androgen-blocking medications
- Topical anti-hair-growth medications
- Other excess hair treatments
- Treatments for hair loss
- Acne treatments
Healthy Lifestyle is the best prevention for PCOS
A healthy diet low in carbohydrates is very important to help regulate blood sugar levels. Exercise can help in regulating insulin and maintain the body weight.