What are the features of PCOS among women?

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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that is common among women who are of reproductive age. While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss can reduce the risk of long-term complications, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Polycystic ovaries contain a large number of harmless follicles that are up to approximately 8 mm in size. These follicles are sacs in which eggs develop. However, in PCOS, not only are these sacs underdeveloped, but they are unable to release an egg, which means ovulation does not take place. PCOS is relatively common and more than half of the women with PCOS do not have any symptoms.

While the exact cause of PCOS is not known, it is thought to run in families. It is often related to abnormal hormone levels in the body, including high levels of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls the level of sugar in the body.
Many women with PCOS produce higher levels of insulin to combat insulin resistance in their body. This, in turn, results in the increased production and activity of hormones like testosterone. Being overweight or obese also increases the amount of insulin that your body produces. The cause of PCOS is hormonal and it is not just a condition that affects the ovaries.

Causes of PCOS
While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, several factors such as genetics, hormones, and lifestyle may contribute to its cause. Some of the factors are:
  1. Family History: No single gene has been implicated to cause PCOS, so the link is likely to be complex and to involve multiple genes. Women who have PCOS are 50% more likely to have an immediate female relative, such as a mother, aunt, sister, or daughter, with PCOS. Type 2 diabetes is also relatively common in families of those with PCOS.
  2. Hormone Levels: An imbalance in the body of both insulin and testosterone causes the signs and symptoms of PCOS. Insulin keeps the level of glucose in the blood from rising too high after eating. It does this by allowing the passage of glucose from the blood into the body cells. This decreases the blood glucose level.
  3. Insulin Resistance: Around 85% of all women with PCOS have insulin resistance. If you are insulin resistant, your cells stop responding normally to insulin and block the entry of glucose into your cells. This means that your body does not use the available insulin to keep your glucose levels stable. This, in turn, increases the production of androgens, such as testosterone in the ovaries. While insulin resistance can also be due to obesity caused by an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise, it can also be caused by genetic factors. It occurs in women of all weight ranges. In women with PCOS, about 95% of those with unhealthy weight and about 75% of those who are lean, have insulin resistance. While insulin resistance plays a large role in the symptoms of PCOS, there are ways to reduce it. Regular activity and healthy eating can reduce insulin resistance and greatly improve the symptoms of PCOS.
  4. Androgens: These are the male hormones that are present in both men and women. However, they are present in the latter at much lower levels. All women produce androgens in the ovaries and in the adrenal glands. However, in PCOS, women produce increased levels of androgens, resulting in excessive body hair growth, acne, and scalp hair loss. Androgens also contribute to symptoms such as irregular ovulation and irregular periods.
  5. Weight and Lifestyle: While PCOS occurs in both overweight and slender women, women with PCOS are more likely to be obese or overweight. If you are obese you are more likely to develop insulin resistance, which is a key part of the development of PCOS and the symptoms of PCOS. However, a healthy lifestyle of physical activity and nutritious food can help treat PCOS and improve its symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of PCOS

There are certain signs and symptoms of PCOS and some of them are:

  1. Periods and fertility: Women with PCOS may suffer from amenorrhoea (no periods), irregular periods, or excessively heavy periods. They may also produce immature ovarian eggs that do not ovulate, with multiple cysts in the ovaries. These women may also have difficulty getting pregnant and if they do, they may have difficult pregnancies.
  2. Hair, skin, and body: Those with PCOS may have hirsutism, which is excessive body and facial hair. They could also have scalp hair loss (alopecia), severe acne on the face and body, darkened skin patches, and possible weight gain.
  3. Mental and emotional health: Women with PCOS may suffer from mood changes, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and poor body image. PCOS may also impact their quality of life.
  4. Related health conditions: PCOS may cause sleep apnoea, which is a sleep disorder in which there are abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep. Women with PCOS may also suffer from an increased risk and an early onset of diabetes. They may also have sexual health challenges and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

If you, or someone you know, suffers from PCOS, you should certainly consult a gynaecologist. Harsha Hospitals has some of the best gynaecologists in Hyderabad. They are extremely experienced at treating and managing PCOS and will consult with you to work out a treatment plan that is best for you.
Harsha Hospitals, with the best gynaecologist in Kukatpally, specializes in the treatment of varied conditions that affect women. So, if you are planning on consulting a specialist for PCOS, do consult one at Harsha Hospitals and know that you have opted for the best quality of care possible. After all, it’s you’re health we’re talking about!

For more information about PCOS and other women’s issues consult Harsha Hospitals at +91 7799565793 or at info@harshahospitals.co.in or go to our website Harsha Hospitals Hyderabad for more information.

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