Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal and genetic disorder in women. Its cause is however unknown.
It affects the female reproductive organ by causing the ovaries to be enlarged and creating small cysts on the exterior part of the ovaries.
This causes the hormone levels to produce more male hormones than normal and some of the symptoms of PCOS are a direct result of this.
Identified as one of the main causes of infertility and conception issues in women, PCOS significantly affects the endocrine system of the body which is responsible for the production of hormones, thereby inhibiting ovulation.
The overproduction of androgen has been associated with insulin resistance and inflammation. Androgen is a male hormone that should not be of excess in the female body because of the irregularities it causes in the reproductive system.
PCOS affects 1 in 10 women however girls who show signs of puberty early such as developing underarm or pubic hair before age 10 may be at greater risk for PCOS later on. It’s common for women to find out they have PCOS when they have trouble getting pregnant, but it often begins soon after the first menstrual period, as young as age 11 or 12. It can also develop in the 20s or 30s.
A study shows that over 70 percent of women with PCOS have not been diagnosed. In order to correctly diagnose PCOS, you need to go for medical tests and get a proper diagnosis.
There is currently no cure for it but it can be managed with proper treatment and coping measures.
In Nigeria alone, there are over 100 thousand cases of PCOS recorded a year so we can safely say that it is a prevalent issue for women.
September is PCOS Awareness Month.
Symptoms of PCOS include:
- Menstrual Irregularity
- Frequent Acne Breakouts
- Rapid weight gain
- Male Pattern Baldness
- Heavy Periods caused by the build-up in the uterine lining
- Excess Hair Growth (on the chin or chest especially)
- Cystic Acne
- Skin darkening under the breasts, in the groin region and the neck
- Frequent Migraines
- Pelvic Pain
Some of the effects of PCOS include:
- Birth complications
- Sleep Apnea (when breathing stops for some time during sleep)
- Premature child delivery and miscarriages
Some ways to personally manage PCOS include:
- Exercise moderately
- Use skin sensitive products
- Take time to rest and reduce stress
- Eat foods that contain healthy fats and protein
- Avoid junk and sugary foods
- Take fertility supplements but consult your doctor first
- Get enough sleep each night
With proper treatment measures and an early diagnosis, women with PCOS can manage the syndrome in a way that won’t inhibit their lives and their ability to have children. Remember that an early diagnosis helps in managing PCOS.