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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) symptoms and treatment

Last updated on : 16 May, 2024

Read time : 5 min

What does polycystic ovary syndrome mean?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone disorder. This is a reference to the many follicles on the ovaries that are not fully formed but each holds an egg. This rarely develops or produces fertile eggs. Women with PCOS mostly have too much insulin that doesn’t work right, or too much of a male hormone called “androgens,” or both.

The exact cause is not known, but family history, genes, hormones, and way of life all have an impact. Insulin resistance affects 80% of PCOS women. PCOS is fairly common, especially in women who can’t get pregnant. It affects 8 to 13% of women of reproductive age (between late adolescence and menopause). Almost 70% of these cases are still not known.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a group of symptoms that affects ovulation and the ovaries. Three main features of PCOS ovaries include:

  • High level of male hormone
  • Presence of cyst in ovaries
  • Irregular periods

Polycystic ovary syndrome causes

No one knows what causes PCOS. There are signs that genes are involved. PCOS is also occurred by a variety of other factors:

1. Infection at a low rate

Women with signs of PCOS have low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce more androgens, which may cause heart and blood vessel-related problems.

2. Excessive insulin

Insulin is produced by the pancreas and is also responsible for the body’s primary energy supply. If our body organs become resistant to insulin then the blood glucose level may rise and as a result, more and more amount of insulin secretion takes place. Excess insulin production increases androgen production and causes difficulty in ovulation.

3. Genes

PCOS is a trait that runs in families. It is thought that 20–40% of women with PCOS have a mother or sister who also has the disease.

4. Excessive androgen

PCOS ovaries produce high levels of androgen which can also result in hirsutism and acne.

Polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms

In some women, symptoms are noticeable around the time of their first periods, while in others the symptoms are only discoverable when the women have gained weight or have trouble in pregnancy. 

The most common symptoms associated with polycystic ovary syndrome include:

1. Heavy bleeding

When the uterine lining keeps on depositing for a longer period then the periods can be heavier than normal.

2. Hair growth

Most women who experience PCOS grow hair on their face and body- including on the belly, back and chest. The phenomenon of excessive hair production in women is known as hirsutism.

3. Acne

The presence of male hormones can make the skin oilier and causes breakouts on areas like the upper back, chest, and face.

4. Darkening of the skin

Women with Polycystic ovary syndrome develop dark patches on the skin, especially in the folds of their neck, armpits, groin, and under your breasts.

5. Weight gain

Almost 80% of women with polycystic ovary syndrome are overweight or have obesity.

6. Irregular Periods

Since ovulation is late or doesn’t happen at all in women with PCOS, the uterine lining doesn’t drop every month. It has also shown that women with PCOS have less than eight periods a year, and sometimes none at all.

7. Headache

Hormonal changes in women can even trigger a headache.

8. Male pattern baldness

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have thinner hair on the scalp and may also experience severe hair fall.

9. Trouble with pregnancy

Women who do not get regular periods face trouble in pregnancy as PCOS makes the women infertile due to lack of ovulation.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome treatment 

Doctors in the Treatment of PCOS focus on managing your symptoms such as hirsutism, obesity, acne, and infertility. Specific treatment of PCOS involves medication or lifestyle changes.

1. Make changes in lifestyle

The doctor may recommend weight loss by consuming a low-calorie diet combined with exercise activities. Even a slight weight reduction-for example losing just 5% of total weight may also improve your condition. Losing a few extra kilos may also increase the effectiveness of medication and also help treat infertility.

2. Have proper pills

Polycystic ovary syndrome affects the period, so for the proper regulation of the menstrual cycle, consult the doctor so, that he/she will recommend the medicines

3. Combination of birth pills

It is a combination of estrogen and progesterone which helps to decrease androgen production and regulate oestrogen.

4. Progestin therapy

Consumption of progestin for 10 to 14 days every one to two months can help to regulate your periods and also protect against endometrial cancer. Progestin therapy does not prevent pregnancy nor improve androgen levels.

For improvement of ovulation, the following medications are prescribed by a doctor such as:

  • Letrozole
  • Metformin
  • Clomiphene
  • Gonadotropins

To reduce excess hair growth from the body:

  • Spironolactone
  • Vaniqa
  • Birth control pills
  • Electrolysis

So, consult the doctor that he/she will diagnose and let you know about the condition and recommend about how to manage it.

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.

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