What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?

Polycystic Ovarian SyndromePolycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a health condition in women caused by a predominance of male hormones called androgens.
 
The exact cause of this condition is not known, it affects about 5 million women are affected by polycystic ovarian syndrome.
 
         PCOS affects many systems in the body. The symptoms vary between women.
 
Some common symptoms of PCOS include-
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Male pattern hair or balding
  • Obesity
  • Facial hair such as a beard or moustache
  • Infertility
Some women may have very subtle symptoms that are barely noticeable. Others may have more typical symptoms.
 
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects about 1 in 10 to 1 in 20 million women. There is no single test available to detect PCOS.
 
The relationship between polycystic ovarian syndrome and insulin
 
Research has shown that insulin resistance may play a role in the development of polycystic ovarian syndrome. In the revised edition of my upcoming book ‘Dr. Eno’s  A to Z guide to living powerfully with Diabetes’, I explain how insulin resistance as a precursor to the development of diabetes. When the body’s cells become resistant to insulin, more insulin is required to break down sugar in the body.
 
Too much insulin circulating in the body can cause a number of problems. In women with PCOS, insulin resistance causes an increase in the production of androgens. High levels of androgens cause acne; facial hair, irregular menses and weight gain in women with PCOS.
 
PCOS places a woman at risk of several serious health conditions:
 
  • More than 50% of women with PCOS develop type 2 diabetes.
  • Women with PCOS have a 4-7 times risk of developing a heart attack.
  • Women with PCOS have a higher risk of high blood pressure
  • There is an increased risk of a sleep disorder called sleep apnea
  • Higher risk of anxiety and depression
  • Women with PCOS have an increased risk of endometrial cancer

How is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) diagnosed?

There is no single blood or diagnostic test that can be used to diagnose PCOS. A woman who suspects that she has PCOS needs to pay close attention to her body, especially if the symptoms are initially subtle. It is also important to be persistent and realize that it may require more than one visit to the doctor to get a diagnosis.
 
In addition to a detailed history your doctor may also need to perform some tests, which may help such as:
  • A pelvic examination
  • Weight and BMI
  • A pelvic ultrasound
  • Hormone levels

How to treat PCOS 

Treatment of PCOS depends on the goals of the woman living with this condition.
 
For instance if the goal is to get pregnant, then using fertility medications will help. If the goal is to have more regular periods then starting on an oral contraceptive will help.
 
Metformin can help to reduce the chance of getting type 2 diabetes.
 
Ultimately, the mainstay of treatment of PCOS is making a consistent change in diet and exercise.
It does not matter how long you have been diagnosed with PCOS, what’s important is to begin to make the necessary adjustments in your lifestyle starting right now. That way you will reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

What do you think?

Do you or someone you know have PCOS? Are you ready to get into action and to take the steps necessary to reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure? I’d like to share how I may support you in one of my coaching programs. Click here to contact me.

 
To your Health and Wellbeing,
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