Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that affects women’s periods, hormones, fertility, and appearance aspects. This condition can be controlled and managed by several treatment options and lifestyles eg specialized hormone replacement therapy, contraceptive pills, and fertility drugs. PCOS results in the production of extreme levels of male hormones. Other non-hormonal methods such as dietary supplements can also be used under a doctor’s guidance. Symptoms that result from the condition include
- Hair loss
- Irregular periods or no periods due to failure to ovulate hence the uterine walls are not shed.
- Oily skin and acne due to high levels of male hormones causing breakout on the woman’s face, upper back, and chest.
- Rapid gain and loss of weight
- Difficulty in getting pregnant.
- Facial hair growth. Hair also grows on other parts such as the chest area, back, and belly. This is referred to as hirsutism.
- Baldness as hair gets thinner and falls out of the scalp.
- Long term effects include diabetes and heart disease.
- Heavy bleeding as a result of building up of the uterine walls for a longer period.
PCOS condition is common in women at the age of 15 to 44 years. Most women with PCOS are either not aware or have not been diagnosed. The ovaries are the most affected organ and it also starts producing androgens. PCOS also means there is an imbalance in the Follicle-stimulating hormone and Luteinizing hormone which control the ovulation process. Cysts are formed in the ovary when a woman has PCOS. They are polycyclic fluid-filled sacs containing immature eggs. The cysts are the ones that make male hormones i.e. androgens. Disruption of ovulation causes an imbalance in estrogen, progesterone, LH, and FSH.
Causes of PCOS.
GenesPCOS research shows that it is a genetic disease and runs in the family of patients. The genes are a combination of two and not an individual. Most women with pros have a sister with a similar condition.
- Hormone levels
Imbalance in the levels of androgen and insulin hormones may cause symptoms of PCOS.
Most women with PCOS have an insulin intolerance and their body cells do not require insulin hence do not use the available one to effectively maintain glucose levels stable. Accumulation of insulin in the body as the pancreas continues to make insulin results in the production of male hormones. Insulin resistance also causes an increase in weight and obesity. Weight gain increases the chances of cardiovascular diseases, endometrial cancer, and diabetes.
Women with PCOS show signs of high levels of inflammation due to high levels of androgen hormones.
Abnormal levels of testosterone and insulin in women increases the risk of developing PCOS. Patients with PCOS also show high levels of testosterone. Testosterone levels affect the LH and gonadotropic hormones which are part of ovulation. The insulin levels also have effects such as weight gain, fertility problems, irregular periods, and high testosterone levels. PCOS is diagnosed by performing a pelvic exam, blood tests, and ultrasound. A pelvic exam involves the doctor examining the reproductive organs to determine if there are any abnormalities or growths. Blood analysis results show the levels of present hormones while the ultrasound involves the use of a device called a transducer to inspect the appearances of the ovaries and the thickness of the uterine walls.
Medications recommended for PCOS condition affects the body function by regulating the menstrual cycle and increasing chances of ovulation. The type of treatment depends on the woman’s decision about conceiving. For regulation of the menstrual cycle medications such as birth control pills are used. They contain both estrogen and progestin hormones. These pills work by lowering the production of androgen hormones and regulating estrogen levels. It also treats other symptoms such as excessive hair growth, acne and reduces the risk of endometrial cancer. Progestin therapy can also be prescribed. It involves ingestion of the progestin hormone minipill. It helps in period regulation and lowers the risk of endometrial cancer. This therapy does not change androgen levels and does not prevent pregnancy. It can be administered in form of intrauterine progestin or a minipill.
To help ovulate patients are given anti-estrogen oral hormone pills called clomiphene taken in the first part of the menstrual cycle. Metformin medication reduces insulin levels preventing type two diabetes. Breast cancer treatment Letrozole for ovaries stimulation and gonadotropins hormone medications. Excess hair growth is controlled by birth pills that help reduce androgen production, electrolysis destroys the hair follicles, Aldactone meant to block androgen effects on the skin, and Vanica cream that slows down hair growth in women.
Lifestyle and home remedies can also be used to control and reduce the effects of PCOS conditions. Ovulation can be restored by weight control measures. Losing weight helps to reduce the amounts of insulin and androgen in the body. Limiting carbohydrate intake in PCOS patients can also help in decreasing the amounts of insulin in the blood. Engaging in exercises and activity also helps in reducing the effects of PCOS by lowering blood sugar levels and helping in weight control.
The effects due to PCOS conditions can be debilitating for women hence may require solutions to make life easier. Hormone replacement therapists and infertility specialists at Liv natural are available to recommend tests, give advice on lifestyle changes and introduce the patient to the most favourable therapy after diagnosis. PCOS control requires a reduction of the amounts of androgens and estrogen hormones. Addressing these hormones prevents them from interfering with the ovulation and menstrual cycle of women.