What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is described as a type of common hormone imbalance which affects 1 in every 10 women. Women suffering from PCOS typically generate higher-than-normal levels of male hormones. Such a hormone imbalance leads to an irregular menstrual cycle ; thus making it harder for them to get pregnant. Patients of PCOS can also experience hair growth on face and body, or baldness. It can lead to long term health complications like heart diseases and diabetes.
Risks of PCOS
There are a number of serious health risks that are attributed to PCOS. Some of the long term health risks related to PCOS includes the following:
- Infertility or Subfertility
- Endometrial Cancer (Endometrial Carcinoma)
- Lipid Abnormalities
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Cardiovascular Risks
Let’s take a closer look at these health risks.
Infertility: PCOS is among the leading factors responsible for infertility in women. The condition leads to irregularities of ovulation in women, which means that they do not produce a sufficient number of eggs for fertilization.
Lipid Abnormalities: It has been found that more than 80% of women having PCOS are obese or overweight. PCOS and obesity together increase the risks for low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high LDL cholesterol. Such lipid abnormalities increase the chances of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Endometrial cancer: The lining of the uterus sheds during ovulation. For women who do not ovulate regularly, this lining can easily build up. Thickened uterine lining naturally increases the risks of endometrial cancer.
Obstructive sleep apnea: This condition leads to repeated pauses in breathing during night, which inevitably interrupts sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is common among women who are obese or overweight. The chances of developing sleep apnea increase for those who have PCOS.
Depression: The hormonal imbalance, which causes frequent mood changes in women, as well as changes in physical appearance like the growth of unwanted hair, can have a negative impact on emotions. Many women having PCOS eventually experience serious bouts of depression and anxiety.
Diagnosis of PCOS
The diagnosis for PCOS is typically made in young girls ranging from 10 to 13 years old who get worried as they have irregular periods, start developing skin acne or put on weight. In most cases, the condition is diagnosed with a number of expensive blood tests for checking cholesterol, triglyceride and insulin levels. In some cases, an ultrasound or a pelvic examination can also be carried out to detect the condition.
Treatment of PCOS
It is to be remembered that PCOS is a very common health condition which can easily be treated by doctors. Therefore, there is no need for patients to panic or lose sleep over it.
Patients are required to make some lifestyle changes, like losing weight and sticking to a healthy diet which can helps improve the hormonal imbalance. The healthy diet should also be combined with some moderate intensity exercises, to have the best effect.