Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormone imbalance that can lead to fertility problems in females. It is in the list of treatable causes of female infertility and can be the result of wrong lifestyle choices.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition, when females have elevated male hormones (androgens). Hormone imbalance can cause a change in appearance as well as in overall health. Problems can reach and involve ovaries, which as we already know, are responsible for releasing eggs during the ovulation. If eggs are not released and a healthy menstrual cycle is affected, then we may be facing fertility problems.
PCOS can develop at anytime during the childbearing age (18-44 years) and affects up to 10 % of females. Common symptoms include :
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Hair growth in unwanted areas *
- Hair loss on the scalp*
* Thicker and excessive body and facial hair , as well as thinning hair on the scalp are results of extra male hormones.
- Weight gain, metabolism problems that result in the difficulty to lose extra kilos.
As we have already said, PCOS is caused by high levels of androgens. Another contributor is genetics. If mother or sister have experienced the polycystic ovary syndrome, then it is inherited. Males might be carriers of PCOS as well. Environmental factors are also found to be contributors to the disease.
Apart from genetics and environment, there are several risk factors that can be controlled in order to prevent PCOS :
- Obesity , not enough physical exercise and activities are on top of the list of risk factors.
- Smoking females have higher androgen levels that may contribute to PCOS symptoms.
- Females with unhealthy eating habits may develop insulin resistance which is also the cause of PCOS.*
* Insulin resistance means body’s inability to respond to this hormone appropriately. Insulin is responsible for “supervising” the transformation of food into energy. When body becomes resistant, the number of this hormone becomes excessive. It is a common symptom of not only PCOS but leads to type 2 diabetes as well.
However, being diagnosed with PCOS doesn’t mean that a female won’t be able to get pregnant. First of all, we have already mentioned that it is one of the treatable causes of infertility. Doctors will need pelvic exam, blood tests and most likely pelvic ultrasound in order to confirm the disease.
How is polycystic ovary syndrome treated?
Unfortunately, there is no cure to PCOS, however, after observing the case and causes doctor will work on the treatment plan. With the help of this plan, patients will avoid further complications (such as diabetes,heart diseases, high blood pressure). Additionally they will feel a great relief, break their syndromes in smaller parts and find the remedy to each of them accordingly. Patients should know following :
- Birth control pills reduce the symptoms.
- Metformin helps to regulate menstrual cycles.
- Fertility medicines will be prescribed if female has trouble getting pregnant.
- Exercising and losing weight help to relieve symptoms. Additionally, accomplishing these tasks are usually followed by self-satisfaction and confidence that help females to fight depression, which is commonly the part of PCOS.
- Quit smoking to not increase the number of male hormones,androgens, artificially.
Acne and extra hair might need some time to diminish but gradually, females will see them disappearing as well. Patients must not forget to check up regularly and treat their symptoms as soon as possible.
With timely appointments, correct attitude and lifestyle, PCOS will no longer be a reason of depression, unsatisfactory health, appearance and what’s most important -infertility.