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Published

May 3, 2022

Updated

August 12, 2022

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age.

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a the most common hormonal imbalance for teens and women of childbearing age. Almost 1 in 10 women has PCOS, but more than half don't know they have it. Women with PCOS may not ovulate, have high levels of androgens, and may have many small cysts on the ovaries. Treatment for PCOS may depend on whether or not a woman plans to become pregnant. Most women with PCOS do not know they have it. The most common sign is irregular menstrual cycles .

How Does it Affect Your Body?

Even though the common issues that arise with PCOS are related to the female reproductive system, it has been shown that it can cause a variety of other health problems as well. Women with this condition are at a greater risk for developing certain conditions that can be life-threatening. Women with PCOS are more likely to develop certain health conditions including type 2 diabetes, uterine cancer, problems with fertility, high blood pressure, and problems with heart and blood vessels. PCOS can cause missed or irregular menstrual cycles, persistent acne, dark skin patches, weight gain and an excess of body hair. The hormonal imbalance associated with PCOS also makes women more prone to develop depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

What Causes Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

PCOS is the result of hormonal imbalances, but the root cause is not always known. . Normally the body produces and regulates the production of these hormones on its own, but in women with PCOS these levels get out of balance.Studies have shown that the ovaries of women with PCOS have an abnormally thick, multilayer lining (theca cells), and an increased amount of stroma (connective tissue) inside the follicles. These cells disrupt ovulation and other hormone actions in the body.

How is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Diagnosed?

There is no one specific test to definitively diagnose PCSO. Doctors typically diagnose Polycystic Ovary Syndrome with the following criteria: starting with a discussion of your medical history to understand if you have ovulation issues (excess follicles, irregular ovulation, or menopause-like symptoms), hirsutism (excess hair on the upper lip, chin, arms, legs, and face), irregular menstrual cycles, weight changes or any other of the signs or symptoms associated with PCOS. Then they will also do a physical exam where they can check for an excess of hair growth, insulin resistance, and acne. Your doctor may want to also perform a pelvic exam, blood tests, and or an ultrasound,

What Can You Do to Manage the Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

To treat the symptoms of PCOS, it is best to first understand the underlying causes of the condition. It is important to remember that PCOS is a complicated endocrine disorder. Your doctor may recommend that you do various lifestyle changes, one being maintaining a healthy weight. Weight loss can reduce androgen and insulin levels and may restore normal ovulation. Some find symptoms managed with the implementation of a diet that limits carbohydrates. Lastly, exercise. Making sure to remain active can treat or even prevent insulin resistance which can help weight management and decrease the risk of developing diabetes.

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