Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone-related condition which affects around one in ten women.
Even though PCOS is such a common concern, there is often much confusion surrounding the condition, the warning signs you should look out for, and how the symptoms can be managed.
To raise awareness about the condition, Dr Àlex García-Faura, fertility expert at the fertility clinic Institut Marques, provides some clarity on the topic:
1. PCOS is related to hormones
PCOS is caused by many immature follicles which grow on the ovaries and subsequently cause an imbalance of hormones. This hormone imbalance can cause irregular periods, and can also cause problems for a woman when she tries to conceive. If PCOS is not treated effectively, it can also open the door to some more serious health concerns, for example heart disease and diabetes.
2. The cause of PCOS is unclear
Despite the growing number of women who are being diagnosed with PCOS, there is still a lot of confusion within the medical world as to what causes the condition. Many people believe that the condition is hereditary however, this is yet to be scientifically proven.
What we do know is that many women suffering from PCOS have a hormone imbalance which is a key contributing factor. More specifically, women with PCOS are known to have raised levels of testosterone; protein, Prolactin; ovulation hormone, LH; and can also be deficient in SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin)– which increases the effect of testosterone.
3. PCOS symptoms can vary
The most common symptoms experienced by women suffering from PCOS include:
- Difficulty getting pregnant
- Weight gain
- Irregular periods
- Hair loss from the head
- Excessive hair growth all over the body
In addition to these symptoms, women suffering from PCOS can also be susceptible to some more serious health problems later in life such as high cholesterol, depression, and sleep apnoea.
The symptoms associated with PCOS will vary between individuals, with some people suffering more severe symptoms than others.
4. You might not even know you have PCOS
As the symptoms associated with PCOS are so varied, and can be associated with a lot of other medical conditions, unfortunately many women do not receive the correct diagnosis for PCOS, or are left undiagnosed.
If you are suffering from any of the symptoms associated with PCOS then I would advise that you visit your GP and ask them to carry out the necessary checks to rule out other conditions. Following a diagnosis, you may be referred to a PCOS specialist who will be able to help advise you on the best way to manage the symptoms you are experiencing.
5. There’s no cure but symptoms can be managed
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for PCOS however, there are a number of ways which patients can manage their symptoms effectively.
For example, women who suffer from missed or irregular periods are often advised to go on the contraceptive pill which can help to regulate a more frequent cycle.
For those who have a high BMI, a weight loss programme may be advised – as recent studies have shown that, in overweight women, a decrease of 5% of their body mass can have a positive impact on PCOS.
If you suffer from PCOS and are trying to get pregnant then it is recommended that you visit a fertility specialist. They will be able to give you a fertility MOT and advise whether it is necessary for medication to be taken.
Culled from http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/