Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - The Basics

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common gynaecological problems women can suffer from. It’s thought that roughly 1 in 15 women worldwide suffer from PCOS, with more than half not showing any symptoms. Polycystic ovaries contain a large number of harmless follicles that are up to 8mm in size.

The follicles are underdeveloped sacs in which eggs develop. In PCOS, these sacs are often unable to release an egg, which means ovulation does not take place. Sufferers of PCOS can experience a lot of turmoil in their life living with this condition.

PCOS Facts

o PCOS can occur in girls as young as 11

o 50% of women who have the condition will not get diagnosed

o The U.S.A spends $4 billion annually to identify and manage Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

o Women with PCIS have a 2.7X increased risk of endometrial cancer

Symptoms of PCOS

Some of the symptoms experienced can be extremely distressing for sufferers

Some of these signs and symptoms can be:

o Irregular periods or no periods at all

o Difficulty getting pregnant

o Excessive hair growth – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks

o Weight gain

o Thinning hair or hair loss

o Oily skin or acne

PCOS is also associated with an increased risk of developing other health issues such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol levels.

PCOS Causes

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but often runs in families and is thought to be related to abnormal hormonal levels. Particularly, high levels of androgens (male hormones) produced by ovaries which can result in excessive body hair and acne, along with high levels of insulin. Insulin is produced in the pancreas that allows cells to use sugar – your body’s primary energy supply. If your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, then your blood sugar levels can rise and your body might produce more insulin, which in turn may increase androgen production, which can cause ovulation difficulties.

Treatment of PCOS

Much like many gynaecological conditions, PCOS can’t be cured but the symptoms can be managed.

Lifestyle changes can go a long way in helping the management of some of the symptoms caused, and can limit the risk of developing long-term health problems. Weight loss of just 5% can lead to a significant improvement in PCOS, a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help towards this.

Hormonal contraceptive treatments can help treat elements of PCOS and period problems. In regards to fertility, majority of women can be successfully treated with a short course of tablets taken at the beginning of each cycle for several cycles. If you are unsuccessful, you may be offered injections or IVF treatment.

Primarily, Clomifene, which encourages monthly ovulation, is recommended first for women with PCOS who are trying to get pregnant. If this doesn’t work, then Metformin tends to be used to treat type 2 diabetes, but it can also lower insulin and blood sugar levels which can also help with PCOS and fertility.

It’s important to seek support if you are struggling with this condition. At Inner Woman Wellness, our community are here for you, you do not have to suffer in silence so please reach out to us and we would love to help.

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