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PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is associated with the formation of several small cysts in the ovaries caused primarily due to hormonal imbalance. Here are the common symptoms,signs and causes of PCOS or PCOD in a women.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is formation of small cysts in the ovaries that leads to hormonal imbalance in the body. Hormones are chemical messengers in the body and trigger the various functions of the body. They are inter-related and the surge or deficiency in the levels of one hormone impacts the other, and results in imbalance. When female sex hormones like progesterone and estrogen get imbalanced, the ovaries starts releasing some amount of male sex hormones known as androgens which causes small ovarian cysts. This may affect the sexual health, ovulation, menstrual cycles, fertility, physical appearance and the cardiac health of an woman.
Causes of PCOS
- Medical science has not been able to identify the actual cause of PCOS.
- It is widely being associated with genetic factors.
- It often runs in families and is being inherited from another women, either from the paternal or maternal side.
- Where there is a family history of high blood sugar or diabetes, irregular periods, or any other hormonal disorder like thyroidism, the chances of having PCOS are more.
Symptoms and Signs of PCOS
The signs and symptoms of polycystic ovaries may be subtle initially and are often confused or co-related with other health conditions. Moreover, they start showing as early as when menstruation starts, due to which the patient sometimes fail to identify as to what is usual and what is not.
The signs and symptoms may vary and two women may not have the same symptoms. Here are the most common symptoms of PCOS.
1. Irregular Menses
- Irregular or uneven menstrual cycle is the most common symptom of polycystic ovaries.
- It begins with a surge in the production of tertosterone, the primary male hormone by the ovaries.
- The excessive testosterone form small cysts in the ovaries, preventing them from ovulating. This leads to irregular menstruation.
- Although, irregular menses are common during puberty and through teenage, it can also be an early symptom of PCOS.
2. Excessive or Unwanted Hair on the Body
- Excessive hair growth on the face of body or hirsutism is another strong sign of PCOS. This is caused again due to the high levels of testosterones in the body.
- Managing unwanted hair takes a lot of time and energy. Moreover, the removal options are often costly and repetitive.
- This type of disorder interferes with the normal process of ovulation. An egg or ova may not be released every month, or may not mature fully and even if it does, it may have difficulty in getting it fertilized by a sperm.
- Polycystic ovaries is one single reason for infertility in many women.
4. Hair Loss and Hair Thinning
- The presence of too much progesterone in a person with PCOS causes rapid hair fall and hair thinning, better knows as hirsutism.
- When these testosterones come in contact with the enzymes pressnt in our hair follicles, they form something cslled derivative dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This interferes with the growth and health of hair, causing hair loss, thinning and even breakage.
5. Difficulty in Managing Weight
- Inability to manage weight is very common with a PCOS patient. This is because of slower or poor metabolism did the medical condition, where physical activities and proper diet often fail to help reduce weight.
- Women having polycystic ovaries are not necessarily obese. However, they are not thin either and must of them have difficulty in losing belly fat.
- We all know that acne and pimples are teenage skin problems. If they persist through the 20's especially beyond 25, PCOS might be the underlying cause.
- With whitish or yellowish heads, they are harder and more painful than regular acne and most of the times, sprout out around the time the periods are due.
- The causes of acne are similar to hair loss in a womsn with PCOS as high levels of testosterone trigger the sebacous glands to produce more oil.
Some other symptoms of PCOS are stress, depression and presence of various masculine characteristics in a woman.
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