What does PCOS mean? Possible Causes and its Management
The female reproductive system consists of ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and external genital organs.
Every month an egg is released from one ovary, which, if not fertilized, is shed along with the uterine wall; what we call menstruation. PCOS disrupts this process resulting in many hormonal and gynaecological problems.
What is PCOS Meaning?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, commonly known as PCOS, affects and alters the normal functioning of ovaries. Many follicles containing the immature egg are formed on the ovaries, but not one releases a mature egg. Hence they persist in the ovaries in the form of fluid-filled vesicles called cysts.
Though the primary reason for PCOS is still unknown, genetics, environmental and lifestyle conditions are considered to play a detrimental role in this condition.
PCOS is characterized by the imbalance of male hormones androgens, i.e. testosterone. Due to the abnormally excess production of these hormones, the normal functioning of the reproductive system gets affected since female hormones regulate it.
What Happens in PCOS?
If you are suffering from PCOS, you know how debilitating it is to live with this chronic condition.
As described above, due to the hormonal imbalance, ovaries fail to release eggs in the usual manner, and the menstrual cycle becomes irregular. Women may experience as few as 2 to 9 periods per year. Or they might even bleed profusely twice a month.
The body hair increases in the number and becomes more course and prominent. The weight starts to kick in issues like skin discolouration and acne also become apparent. This happens especially near the expected menstrual days.
Besides genetic inheritance, PCOS is also linked to insulin resistance. Although present in adequately enough amounts, the body becomes unable to utilize insulin. Gradually, insulin levels build up within the body, which puts a strain on the pancreas, further aggravating the condition and might lead to Type 2 diabetes if left unattended.
What are the Symptoms of PCOS?
The hormonal imbalance in PCOS deranges the entire metabolism of the woman's body. Though signs of PCOS vary from person to person, the following are the most common symptoms that depict PCOS are:
1. Irregular periods
2. Difficulty conceiving
4. Weight gain
5. Acne breakouts
6. Darkening of the skin
7. Frequent mood swings
Diagnosis of PCOS
Currently, there are three viable methods used by the doctors to diagnose the PCOS condition, i.e., History taking, Ultrasonography and Blood hormonal levels. Blood tests can diagnose PCOS by estimating the male testosterone and androgen hormones in the blood.
History usually indicates three or more of the above-mentioned symptoms indicating PCOS.
The ultrasonography shows abnormally enlarged ovaries and multiple fluid-filled cysts.
PCOS and its associated Complications
PCOS imposes a direct negative impact on the pregnancy. It is difficult to conceive with PCOS, but maintaining the pregnancy is also not easy.
Since the woman is not ovulating every month, it is difficult to predict her fertile days due to anovulatory cycles. Similarly, when she finally conceives, the chances of complicated pregnancy are higher in women with PCOS.
This is because a constantly increasing progesterone hormone level is required for the maintenance of pregnancy. Any disturbance in the hormones might, unfortunately, lead to a miscarriage.
This is the reason pregnancy tests are no less than an ordeal for PCOS patients.
What is the Treatment for PCOS?
Now that you know what PCOS means, it is time to look at its treatment and management. You can treat or stabilize this ailment. There, unfortunately, is no cut-off treatment for PCOS, but there are ways you can effectively manage it. You are usually handed over the hormonal therapy pill; contraceptives cover up the symptoms, but their long-term use can be harmful and lead to an increased risk for breast cancer.
Women have defeated the symptoms and cured PCOS with the proper lifestyle and dietary modification.
Cut off refined and sugary products from your diet. Eat as much natural and raw as you can.
You can choose brown sugar and bran bread to satisfy your PCOS cravings.
Say no to soft drinks and look forward to lemonades and other natural fruit and vegetables.
Exercise regularly. Even a 30 minutes walk is beneficial for PCOS patients.
PCOS patients who are overweight or obese are considered more prone to PCOS. Therefore, if you are obese, keep a check on your weight and dietary habits to avoid getting trapped in this vicious cycle.
Although a permanent one-time treatment of PCOS has not been discovered yet, there are many ways you can cope with it. Once you learn to manage it properly, you will be able to adjust and live with it with minimal effects on your life.