What is PCOS?
PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is also known as PCOD (Polycystic Ovary Disease) which is a hormonal condition developed in a woman mostly during the child-bearing years. The word PCOS can be misleading as some women with PCOS have cysts, but several others don’t develop any cysts. It can have detrimental effects on your ability to have a child. It causes a lot of other problems such as missing periods, causing acne and facial hair growth. The women having PCOS may develop numerous small fluid follicles and hence fail to release eggs regularly. The exact causes of PCOS are yet unknown but the early diagnosis and treatment can help in reducing the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
PCOS: The Most Common Symptoms
Some women might experience the symptoms from their very first period itself and some others only discover it when they are facing trouble getting pregnant or have gained a lot of weight.
A few most common PCOS symptoms include:
- Irregular periods: Since women with PCOS don’t ovulate regularly, the uterine lining doesn’t shed every month. Some women with PCOS get fewer than eight periods per year.
- Heavy bleeding: The periods can be heavier than normal as the uterine walls build up for a longer period of time.
- Excessive Hair growth: Most women with PCOS develop hair on their face and body including their back, belly and chest. Excessive hair growth is known as hirsutism.
- Acne: Male hormones in the body make the skin oilier than usual and result in breakouts on face, chest and upper back
- Weight gain: 80% of women with PCOS are overweight and have obesity.
- Male pattern baldness: The hair on the scalp starts getting thinner and may fall out.
- Darkening of skin: Women with PCOS get dark patches in body creases such as on the neck, groin and under the breasts.
- Headaches: The change of hormones result in severe headaches in women.
How does PCOS affect your body?
Having higher levels of androgens in the body can bring many changes in fertility and health elements.One suffering from PCOS observe the below medical condition:
Women with PCOS don’t fertilize regularly. Hence the number of eggs to get fertilized is very less. PCOS is one of the main reasons for infertility in women.
- Metabolic Syndrome:
Besides weight gain, women with PCOS have increased high blood sugar, high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). All of these factors together is known as metabolic syndrome and it increases the risk for the following:
- Sleep Apnea:
Repeated pauses in breathing during night that interrupt your sleep is known as sleep apnea. It is an extremely common condition in women who are overweight. The risk of sleep apnea is higher 5 to 10 times in women who have PCOS.
- Endometrial cancer:
Due to no shedding of uterine lines for a longer time, the lining can build up. The thickening of the uterine lining can increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
Various hormonal changes and hair growth can have a negative impact on your mental health. Many women with PCOS usually experience depression and anxiety.
When to see a doctor?
There is no good time to book your doctor consultation. One weak symptom is fair enough to get in touch with the health specialist. If you’re experiencing any of the following conditions, we advise you for an instant health check-up.
- If you miss your periods and you’re not pregnant
- Excessive hair growth on face and back
- Any other hormonal change
- If you are experiencing symptoms of diabetes such as excessive thirst or hunger, blurred vision or sudden weight loss
Lifestyle changes are the best approach towards treating PCOS. Likewise, weight loss is a great way to improve the odds of you getting pregnant. Birth control pills and metformin can help in restoring normal menstrual cycles and relieve PCOS symptoms; as prescribed by the doctor.
Also Read: 6 Signs You Are in Need of a Routine Doctor Visit
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