You might have heard other people talking about this certain condition, or you might even know someone personally who had suffered with it – Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This article aims to explain what this condition is about and cover the basic questions for those who have no idea what it is.
What It Is
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. When there’s a hormonal imbalance, it can cause problems with your periods and it can make it difficult for you to get pregnant. PCOS can also cause unwanted changes in your physical appearance. There is a wide variation in women who have PCOS and scientists are in the process of categorizing risks, and treatment of women who fall into these different categories.
Some women with PCOS have small cysts on their ovaries, hence the name. The cysts are not harmful but they lead to hormonal imbalances. If a woman is diagnosed and treated early, the symptoms can be controlled and long-term problems can be prevented.
How Hormonal Imbalance Works
Hormones are chemical messengers that are responsible for triggering different processes in our bodies including energy production and growth. Hormones are also responsible for signalling the release of other hormones.
In PCOS, hormones get out of balance when one hormone change triggers another which also changes another. For instance, sex hormones get out of balance. Normally, a woman’s ovaries make a tiny amount of male sex hormones or androgens. When a woman has PCOS, the ovaries make more androgens slightly, causing a woman to stop ovulating, get acne as well as grow extra facial and body hair.
What are Its Causes
The cause of PCOS is still not fully understood but genetics can be a factor. PCOS seems to run in families so if other women in your family have it, then your chances of having it are high. If other women in your family have diabetes or irregular periods, it may also be a factor in being at risk for having PCOS. It can be passed down from either of the mother’s or father’s side.
What are Its Symptoms
The most common symptoms are:
*weight gain or difficulty losing weight
*extra facial and body hair, most especially on the back, chest and belly
*thinning hair on the scalp
How It is Treated
The key treatments for PCOS include:
Treatment can definitely reduce unpleasant symptoms and it can help prevent long-term health problems. If you have any questions about PCOS, setup an appointment with Dr. Fay Weisberg.