“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal disorder that often afflicts women of reproductive age. This condition makes it difficult to conceive and causes periods to be irregular. Some women get acne or increased facial hair. 

As PCOS increases the risk of other health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, it is important to get the right advice. Women with PCOS can conceive with the right treatment.

Possible Causes:

PCOS is a hormonal disorder in women which leads to irregular periods, infertility and increased levels of androgen, the male hormone. Many patients with PCOS  may suffer from obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, mood disorders, heart disease, high levels of insulin, and may develop insulin resistance.

While the exact PCOS causes aren’t known, some contributing factors that are suspected are:

  • Excess insulin. If cells become resistant to the action of insulin, then blood sugar levels can rise, and the body might produce more insulin. This might increase the androgen levels, which disturbs ovulation.
  • Research has shown that women with PCOS have a type of low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens.
  • Heredity.
  • Excess androgen. The ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgen, resulting in hirsutism and acne.

Risk Factors:

There are some factors that increase the risk of PCOS:

  • Heredity – a familial predisposition.
  • Stress may be both a symptom as well as a contributing factor to PCOS.
  • Insulin resistance, which increases androgen levels.
  • Overweight and obesity.
  • Women with sleep apnoea may be at a higher risk.

Signs & Symptoms:

A PCOS symptoms checklist is:

  • Irregular periods, usually delayed cycles followed by heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Polycystic ovaries which means ovaries might be enlarged and contain follicles that surround the eggs.The ovaries may develop cysts and fail to regularly release eggs. 
  • Excessive hair growth (male pattern), acne, hair loss on the scalp.

Diagnosis:

If your gynaecologist suspects PCOS, a pelvic exam to check for masses and growths would be conducted. Blood tests could be advised in order to check the levels of hormones. An ultrasound exam to check the ovaries and uterus may also be required.

Regular testing of blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol may also be necessary.

Treatment Options:

At Medcare, PCOS treatment focusses on managing the specific concerns of the patient – whether infertility or acne or obesity.

  • If you have PCOS and are overweight, losing weight and eating a healthy, balanced diet can reduce the symptoms.
  • Symptoms like irregular periods, fertility problems or excessive body hair are treated with medications. If you are not able to conceive, then your gynaecologist will decide on further management after thorough evaluation of both partners.
  • A simple surgical procedure called laparoscopic ovarian drilling (LOD) may be recommended which involves using heat or a laser to destroy the tissue in the ovaries that's producing androgens, such as testosterone.
FAQs:الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • Can I get pregnant if I suffer from PCOS?

    A: Yes, with the right treatment, you can successfully conceive even if you have PCOS. PCOS causes a hormonal imbalance that prevents the release timely of eggs from the ovaries, a process called ovulation. Your gynaecologist will treat you to overcome this and normalise ovulation so that you can become pregnant.

  • How will birth control pills or an IUD help my PCOS?

    A: Birth control is a common treatment given to PCOS patients who are not trying to get pregnant. Hormonal birth control pills or a patch or a hormonal IUD can help restore regular menstrual cycles. Acne and unwanted hair growth may also reduce with certain specific class of hormonal contraceptives.

  • How will losing weight reduce my PCOS symptoms?

    A: Many women with PCOS are overweight. Losing up to 5% to 10% of body weight has been shown to regulate menstrual cycles and thereby ovulation by decreasing the insulin resistance in the body, which is one of the main pathologies of PCOS.