Everything a woman needs to know about PCOS

Are you a victim of prolonged frustrations? Sudden unknown cramps at any time in any part of your body out of nowhere or your skin is too much hairy to look presentable? If you are a woman having all these symptoms then nothing to be worried about, you have a very common disorder that most of the Western women possess. The disorder is  PCOS i.e., Polycystic ovary syndrome. Though it commonly affects the women but the symptoms are deadly.

What is PCOS?

Every normal female release some quantity of Androgen (the male hormone) along with Estrogen (the female hormone) into the ovary. In case of women having PCOS, the amount of Androgen released is more which leads to the hormonal imbalance affecting the development and release of eggs during ovulation.  In women with PCOS, mature eggs are not released from the ovaries. It instead become very small cysts inside the ovary. It affects the endocrine system.

Causes of PCOS:

The researchers are yet to come to an end to the causes of PCOS and as of now we have certain possible causes for this disorder. It might be a consequence of the environmental factors, the genetic disorders, lifestyle of people and difference in biological conditions in individuals. It is believed that PCOS runs in family, and it can be caused due to many genes. Another cause towards this might be:

  • Insulin Resistence:

It was estimated that around 70-75% of women having PCOS were unable to utilize insulin properly.  Insulin is a hormone the pancreas produces to help the body use sugar from foods for energy. When cells can’t use insulin properly, the body’s demand for insulin increases. The pancreas makes more insulin to compensate. Extra insulin triggers the ovaries to produce more male hormones. Obesity too adds on as a sign for the need of extra insulin into the body which makes it difficult for women having PCOS.

  • Inflammation:

Inflammation is another cause for PCOS. It activates the androgen level in the body which results in the termination of ovulation. It is caused due to a lot of factors like eating foods your body is not adaptable to, taking too much stress, having a lower immune system and environmental toxins. You can detect the rate of inflammation in your body. If you are someone who falls ill very easily and frequently, you are likely to have high inflammation and you need to diagnose it.

  • Thyroid Condition:

Thyroid conditions can also lead to PCOS as all the causes which we have already discussed related to PCOS are similar to that of thyroid. The increase in level of Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is very harmful for the body. It was formerly noted that the normal TSH level in a person should be 2.5mIU/L, but it’s currently set at 4mIU/L. High cholesterol and hair losses are certain symptoms of thyroid.

Symptoms of PCOS:

Symptoms associated with PCOS are milder initially but it can last for a very long period of time if not treated properly. Some of the common symptoms of PCOS are as follows:

  • Acne:

Acne is one of the most common symptoms of PCOS. Mostly women having PCOS are prone to acne. Acne normally forms in areas of the skin where there are the most sebaceous glands (glands located within the hair follicle that secrete an oily substance to lubricate and waterproof the skin) These areas tend to be the face, back and upper part of the chest. In case of PCOS where the testosterone level is high, it tends to increase in the sebum production and hence leads to acne. Inflammation also leads to the formation of acne. We need to work out a lot to improve the levels of testosterone in the body by having a healthy lifestyle which includes eating healthy and indulging in some physical activities. We need to limit the intake of inflammatory foods.

  • Changes in the menstrual cycles:

PCOS can change the normal occurrences of menstruation in females. It can vary from no periods to irregular periods and heavy bleeding during periods.  The hormonal changes that goes inside the female body, makes the periods irregular and painful. Women having PCOS find it too difficult to get pregnant and sometimes cause infertility in them. There are many other factors as well which cause irregular periods like stress, climate changes, etc. but if it stretches for long intervals, you need to consult your gynecologist for it.

  • Weight gain and difficult to lose it:

Weight gain is very common in PCOS. In case of PCOS, the body loses its ability to utilize the hormone “INSULIN”. Insulin basically converts the sugar and starch present in the body to energy. The deprivation of insulin thus causes the sugar to accumulate in the blood streams and such condition is called as INSULIN RESISTANCE. Insulin resistance thus releases androgen (the male hormone) which is responsible for weight gain. Males tend to carry weight in the abdomen. So, females who have such disorder are prone to have more fats in the abdomen and it is difficult to lose it from that portion of the body. Such fats are risky too as it causes cardiac diseases and other diseases.

  • Depression:

Depression is another major symptom of PCOS. Researchers have found that women having PCOS are more prone to depression than those who are not having it. They are less likely to go for outings and don’t like social gatherings much. In terms of insulin resistance, according to Dr. Perloe, calories are stored rather than made available to the brain in women with PCOS. This can actually leave the brain feeling malnourished in a sense, and can subsequently cause mood swings.  You might also see a major swing in sugar levels, which can play a role in mood regulation as well. You should never feel that you are alone. Practicing healthy lifestyle can make the hard journey of PCOS to surpass.

5 things that every woman should know about PCOS

  1. PCOS can’t be easily diagnosed:

Some women have PCOS since their birth but it only gets detected when you either not undergo your regular period cycles or during pregnancy. There’s no permanent cure or any blood tests for the detection of PCOS. It can only be treated when you face the causes of it.

  1. You can be thin and still get PCOS:

As we have already discussed that PCOS affects and makes women obese, but researchers have found thin women with no acne as well to have PCOS, so the reasons are yet to be clarified. Till now it’s unclear that why some people gets it and some having similar traits don’t.

  1. PCOS affects your heart:

Due high level of cholesterol and high blood pressure, women with PCOS are more likely to have heart diseases. They are two to five percent more prone to it for being obese than women without PCOS. If you keep a check on your diet and exercise regularly, you can at least control the dangers.

  1. PCOS and cancer have a connection:

As per our previous studies PCOS deprives you of regular menstrual cycles. The scariest of all is women having polycystic ovary syndrome has a risk of having endometrial cancer. “Because women with polycystic ovary syndrome do not have regular menstrual cycles, this gets them in the risk for hyperplasia [abnormal cells] or cancer,” Dr. Gray says. “Additionally, excess weight commonly associated with polycystic ovary syndrome is also a risk factor.”

Women with the syndrome tend to develop endometrial hyperplasia due to the lining of the uterus becoming too thick as they don’t menstruate and this happens because of the lack of ovulation—ovulation normally triggers the production of progesterone, but if ovulation doesn’t occur, the lining may continue to grow in response to estrogen. The cells get crowded together and can become abnormal. According to the National Institutes of Health, women with polycystic ovary syndrome have three times the risk of endometrial cancer than women without it.

  1. PCOS doesn’t kill your chance to be pregnant:

Women having PCOS face a lot of difficulty while trying to get pregnant but that doesn’t make them infertile. Researchers have found many drugs to cure fertility and also to make menstruation regular. A relatively recent study showed that women who want to conceive do best with ovulation induction medication like Clomiphene (Clomid) or Letrozole (Femara).

Treatments For PCOS:

As there are no permanent solutions to this genetic hormonal disorder, yet we can incorporate certain essential things to bring it under control. They are as follows:

  1. Changing lifestyle:

A lot of drugs are already in the market to make PCOS less risky for females. Many medications have been invented in order to control the dangers but all are for a stipulated period of time, till the day you depend upon them for controlling it. The day you decide not to depend on medications for the well-being, they tend to have even worse effects on your body. Depending on medications can be harmful for the smooth functioning of your body and can cause a lot of side effects so cutting it off and having a well-balanced life is what is necessary.

You need to have healthy balanced diet meals every day. You shouldn’t be craving for processed food as they’re high on calories. Starts having a fit life, hit the gym or yoga classes and indulge yourself in aerobics, functional training to get rid of obesity.

You can also try certain medications for it like:

Combination birth control pills:

Pills that contain estrogen and progestin decrease androgen production and regulate estrogen. It regulates your hormones and lowers your risk of endometrial cancer. It controls abnormal bleeding, excess hair growth and acne. Instead of pills, you might use a skin patch or vaginal ring that contains a combination of estrogen and progestin.

Progestin therapy:

Taking progestin for 10 to 14 days every one to two months can regulate your periods and protect against endometrial cancer. Progestin therapy doesn’t improve androgen levels and won’t prevent pregnancy.