Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

It is a common hormonal disorder among women during their reproductive years. Normally, women produce small amounts of “male” hormones such as testosterone (androgens), but women with PCOS produce slightly higher amounts. This hormone imbalance causes health problems such as irregular menstrual periods, too much hair on the body and face (hirsutism), and too many follicles (small fluid-filled sacs in which eggs develop) in the ovaries. These numerous follicles explain where the term “polycystic” comes from.

Who develops PCOS?

Women and girls who are obese are more likely to have PCOS. It also runs in their families.

Often times, symptoms of PCOS first appear at the onset of menstruation, but some women don’t get symptoms until their mid-20s. Symptoms such as excessive facial hair and male pattern baldness can persist even after a woman has gone through menopause.

What Causes PCOS?

The cause of PCOS is unknown. There could be more than one reason.

The main problem in this case is hormone imbalance. In addition to PCOS, obesity and insulin resistance, many women with PCOS have too much insulin in their bodies because the insulin is not working as it should.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

• Menstrual problems:

– Fewer menstrual cycles (less than 9 periods per year)

– Absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)

– Unpredictable heavy menstrual bleeding

Infertility (trouble conceiving) due to lack of ovulation

Excessive or unwanted hair growth on your face and body

thinning hair on the scalp

Weight gain or obesity, usually around your waist

Skin problems:

– Acne on the chest, back and face

– Dark, dark patches on your neck, arms, groin, or under your chest.

– Depression or anxiety

– bad sleep

Not all women with PCOS have these problems. Each person may have a different mix of these traits. Also, other conditions can cause some of these health problems. For these reasons, PCOS can be difficult to diagnose.

What conditions mimic PCOS?

Before doctors diagnose PCOS, they must first rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. These are thyroid excess or deficiency, cortisone excess and deficiency diseases, and prolactin hormone excess.

How does a doctor diagnose PCOS?

Experts suggest that a diagnosis of PCOS requires:

• Patients with PCOS must have at least two of the following characteristics:

– Excessive male hormones

– Problems with ovulation

– Multiple pearl-necklace follicles on one or both ovaries

Young girls. It has both of these features:

– Excessive male hormones

– Infrequent or absent menstrual periods, often with no other cause of symptoms lasting more than two years after menstruation begins.

Physiologically, the ovaries appear as polycystic ovaries in the ultrasound examination during puberty and puerperium in women’s lives. Your doctor will want to learn about your medical history by asking about your health history and menstrual cycle. The physical exam will want to measure your height, weight and waist and look for skin and hair problems.

No single test can diagnose PCOS. Sometimes a blood test is needed to measure your hormone levels. To see many follicles, your doctor may say that the ovaries should be examined with an ultrasound (usually done through the vagina). Most teens don’t need an ultrasound because it’s common for many follicles at that age to be seen as polycystic.

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