The human body functions like a machine. It requires numerous things to hold it together, just like a machine would not function well without fuel. Hormones and enzymes are among the fuels that support the functioning of the human body.
However, balance is everything. The same is correct for hormones. Our body requires proper secretion of hormones, neither deficient nor in excess. It also goes true with sex hormones, which must be appropriate in males and females.
Any imbalance in the secretion of hormones leads to diseases and disorders. PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is one such disorder associated with hormonal imbalance in females. If you are new to the term, here is all you need to know about PCOS symptoms and treatment. Hence, let us walk through a discussion on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and understand how it affects the body.
Before we begin discussing PCOS symptoms and treatment, let us focus some light on PCOS's meaning. PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It is a hormonal disorder in females due to which they produce high amounts of male hormones that exceed the normal limit.
It mainly affects women of childbearing age due to the defective functioning of ovaries. There could be numerous PCOS symptoms, and everything starts with the uneven secretion of hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle, thus leading to an imbalance in menstrual periods.
Not only are the PCOS symptoms, but also the consequences are abnormal. Women with PCOS face difficulty getting pregnant and experience heavy hair growth on the face and body. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome might also lead to baldness. Further discussion on PCOS symptoms and treatment shall make things crystal clear to you.
The science behind PCOS
If we dig deeper into PCOS meaning, we will realize that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is associated with the formation of cysts in ovaries. To understand the science behind Polycystic ovary syndrome and PCOS symptoms and treatment, you must first understand the concept of ovulation and the functioning of ovaries.
Ovaries in females are responsible for producing reproductive hormones, namely estrogen, and progesterone. These hormones regulate the menstrual cycle in females and are known as female hormones. However, ovaries also produce small amounts of male hormones known as androgens besides these female hormones.
Besides the sex hormones produced in the ovaries, the female body also produces Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing hormone (LH) in the pituitary gland. These hormones regulate ovulation.
Ovulation is a phenomenon in which ovaries release eggs each month to form a zygote after fertilization with the male's sperm. The eggs are released from a sac known as a follicle. Follicle-stimulating Hormone (FSH) regulates follicle production, while the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) makes ovaries release a mature egg.
These processes lead us to PCOS, meaning where polycystic indicates the formation of many cysts in the ovaries. Cysts are nothing but small, fluid-filled sacs containing immature eggs. The growth of numerous cysts or follicles with immature eggs in the ovaries leads to an imbalance in ovulation as the eggs never mature.
Hence, the disorder and PCOS symptoms arise due to a lack of ovulation that disturbs the normal levels of hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone. It causes the production of male hormones androgen to be higher than the female hormone progesterone, thus leading to abnormal hair growth on the body and irregular and fewer menstrual periods, which are PCOS symptoms.
So, in conclusion to, PCOS meaning and PCOS symptoms, you can note that polycystic ovary syndrome is all about the production of high levels of male hormones, many cysts in the ovaries, and irregular menstrual cycle in females. Hence, PCOS treatment focuses on curing these aspects of the female reproductive system.
Causes of PCOS
Now that you are clear with PCOS meaning, you might wonder what causes it and the reasons behind PCOS symptoms. PCOS symptoms and treatments are all associated with the root causes of PCOS. Hence, let us understand what the causes of PCOS are.
It is clear that PCOS is associated with the formation of cysts and high levels of male hormones produced in the ovaries. However, the point lies in what leads to such dysfunctional ovaries and excess androgen production.
Studies show that the main causes of the disorder are associated genes, inflammation, and insulin resistance.
- Genes: Polycystic ovary syndrome is also associated with genetics. So if females in your family suffer or have suffered from PCOS, you are most likely to catch it. Numerous genes might contribute to Polycystic Ovary syndrome.
- Inflammation: High levels of inflammation in the body also leads to Polycystic Ovary syndrome. Inflammation, in turn, is associated with females being overweight and having high levels of androgen.
So if you are prey to inflammation, you might also experience PCOS symptoms and need to undergo PCOS treatment. Doctors also prescribe a PCOS treatment diet for women to lose weight and reduce the consequences of inflammation.
- Insulin resistance: insulin resistance is also a major cause of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Insulin, the sugar-regulating hormone produced by the pancreas, is not used properly by the body in case of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Insulin produces energy by utilizing sugar from the food we intake that gets disturbed when the body can not use insulin properly. It increases the demand for insulin in the body, which needs to be compensated by excess insulin production in the pancreas.
Excess production of insulin in the pancreas is the root cause of the production of male hormones in the ovaries. So insulin resistance can also make you face PCOS symptoms and treatment. As a matter of fact, insulin resistance can result from obesity and eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.
Hence, these causes of PCOS are at par with the PCOS meaning and give rise to PCOS symptoms. PCOS treatment is all about eradicating these causes of PCOS. So it would help if you kept these factors in check in order to avoid PCOS symptoms and treatment.
Symptoms of PCOS
Having covered PCOS's meaning and its causes, we finally arrive at PCOS symptoms. PCOS symptoms are necessary to recognize in order to undergo PCOS treatment and follow a PCOS treatment diet. Not all females recognize the PCOS symptoms at the same stage.
While some might discover it at the onset of their menstrual cycle, others might discover it at a later stage while facing difficulties in getting pregnant or falling prey to excessive weight. Hence, PCOS symptoms and treatment have a long distance to travel.
Different women might face different PCOS symptoms. However, the most common PCOS symptoms might be as mentioned below.
- Excessive weight gain: Obesity or excessive weight gain is associated with PCOS.
- Irregularity in the menstrual cycle: Females with PCOS usually get fewer periods due to a lack of ovulation that prevents the shedding of the uterine lining.
- Periods with heavy bleeding: irregular periods cause heavy bleeding due to extra build-up of the uterine lining.
- Heavy hair growth: excessive secretion of male hormones leads to heavy hair growth on the face and the body.
- Acne: oily skin due to excess male hormones cause acne in various regions of the body, such as the face, chest, and upper back.
- Baldness: hairs get out and fall, leading to baldness.
- Mental health issues: one might also experience depression and anxiety due to PCOS.
- Headaches: headaches might result from hormonal changes in females.
Consequences of PCOS
If you understand PCOS meaning and PCOS symptoms well, you will know that it comes with consequences that trigger some changes in your body. Hence, the effects of PCOS must make you aware of the PCOS symptoms and treatment.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome causes high levels of male hormones in females, disturbing the natural flow and leading to several health issues. Below are some common effects of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome experienced after PCOS symptoms.
- Endometrial cancer: endometrial cancer usually arises from a thickened uterine lining, resulting from the lack of ovulation every month.
- Infertility: insufficient release of eggs due to lack of ovulation might also result in infertility.
- Depression: Females with PCOS have high chances of experiencing depression and anxiety due to hormonal changes and uneven hair growth.
- Metabolic syndrome: PCOS might also result in metabolic syndrome, a combination of various factors, such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, low HDL good cholesterol, and high LDL bad cholesterol. Metabolic syndrome also increases the risks of heart diseases and diabetes.
- Sleep apnea: sleep apnea, a condition of regular paused breathing while sleeping, arises due to obesity. It is also associated with PCOS.
The diagnosis process for PCOS
The females experiencing PCOS symptoms must undergo the diagnosis process for PCOS and, finally, PCOS treatment. PCOS symptoms and treatment have the diagnosis process as the junction where females experiencing PCOS symptoms are diagnosed using various techniques.
The doctors usually look for the three main PCOS symptoms: increased androgen levels, cysts in the ovaries, and irregular menstrual cycles. Other symptoms, such as excessive weight gain, heavy growth of body and facial hairs, and acne, are also considered.
Pelvic exams are conducted to check the ovaries and the reproductive tract issues. Besides, the growth of cysts in the vagina and uterus is checked through vaginal examinations.
You might also need to undergo ultrasound tests for follicular examination. Blood tests are also conducted to check for insulin levels, male hormones, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. These tests determine the risks associated with PCOS, such as heart problems and diabetes.
Medical treatments for PCOS
PCOS symptoms and treatment are interrelated, and you might need to undergo PCOS treatment to cure PCOS symptoms. Here are a few medical treatments found to cure PCOS symptoms.
- Birth control methods: birth control methods usually include the incorporation of progestin into the body in the form of pills, vaginal rings, or patches. These methods regulate ovulation, and hormone balance, prevent chances of endometrial cancer and treat excessive hair growth issues.
- Hair removal methods: You can also use hair removal methods such as laser treatment or Eflornithine cream to reduce excessive hair growth.
- Surgery: Surgery is also used as a treatment to drill ovarian holes to restore the ovulation cycle.
- Metformin: is a drug that treats type 2 diabetes and PCOS by regulating insulin levels.
- Clomiphene: is a fertility drug that can increase the chances of getting pregnant. However, it would be best if you kept in mind that it also increases the chances of having twins.
Other ways to treat PCOS
Medical treatments usually come after the normal treatment methods, such as weight loss, exercise, and changes in the diet. Hence, females with PCOS can follow a PCOS treatment diet to reduce the chances of PCOS symptoms and treatment.
A low carbohydrate diet is preferred for weight loss and reducing insulin levels. A diet that maintains a low glycemic index regulates the menstrual cycle. Besides, regular exercise can help in weight loss and reduce PCOS symptoms.
PCOS and pregnancy complications
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome causes complications during pregnancy. So if you are associated with PCOS symptoms and treatment, you are more likely to experience complications in your pregnancy.
First of all, women with PCOS face difficulties getting pregnant and face fertility problems. It is due to the dysfunctional menstrual cycle arising from PCOS. However, women with PCOS might get pregnant by undergoing fertility treatments and following a PCOS treatment diet.
But PCOS also gives rise to pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes, increased chances of miscarriage, and high blood pressure. Women with PCOS have more chances of delivering babies through C-sections.
Having understood the PCOS meaning, symptoms, and treatments, we can conclude that it is a significant cause of infertility in women, which can be treated somewhat through a healthy diet, exercise, and medical treatments.
Authored by: Bhavishya Pahwa
About the Author: Bhavishya Pahwa is a budding writer who has always confided in a pen. He believes that art is a cure-all and that introspection followed by writing can add to the sanity of the world.