Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health condition that affects a woman's hormone levels. One out of every 10 childbearing women (ages 14-44) is diagnosed with PCOS. PCOS is a condition which causes abnormal production of male hormones in a woman. This hormonal imbalance leads to irregular menstrual periods and infertility in some cases. Most women with PCOS grow a number of small cysts, or fluid-filled sacs, on their ovaries. These cysts are not life-threatening, but they can lead to an imbalance in hormone levels which results in health problems.
The symptoms of PCOS become more apparent in your late teens or early twenties. Symptoms can vary woman to woman.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF PCOS:-
Irregular menstrual periods:- Women with PCOS have fewer than 8 periods in a year, may come every 21 days or more often and some women stop having periods.
Excessive hair growth (hirsutism):- On face, chin, back, buttocks etc. 70% women who have PCOS suffer from hirsutism.
Acne: - On face, chest and upper back.
Thinning of hair: - Severe hair loss on scalp or male baldness.
Weight fluctuates: - Weight gain or difficulty in losing weight.
Darkening of skin: - Along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts.
Headaches, depression, and fatigue: - Most women experience these symptoms as well.
CAUSES OF PCOS:-
The exact cause of PCOS has not been discovered yet, however, medical experts believe that following can be the reasons:-
Genetics: - Women can inherit PCOS. According to a study, 24% of women with PCOS had a mother with this condition and 32% of the women had a sister with the condition.
High levels of androgens: - Androgens are called the male-hormones. Women with PCOS have high level of androgens than average healthy women. The higher androgen levels in women can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation) during each menstrual cycle, and can cause excessive hair growth and acne, two signs of PCOS.
High levels of insulin: - Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, especially those who are overweight, have unhealthy eating habits, are not physically active and have a family history of diabetes.
Associated health risks:-
Studies have found the link between certain health conditions and PCOS. Few of them are:-
High blood pressure
The causes of PCOS are yet not clear, but early diagnosis can help relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of medical conditions. Anyone who may have symptoms of PCOS should see a doctor.