Women of reproductive age suffer different hormonal disorders due to the changes that occur in their bodies. Despite the word “polycystic”, ovarian cysts are not a necessary aspect of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Among women aged 15 to 44, between 2.2 and 26.7 percent suffer from this condition.
PCOS is a hormonal disorder in women that causes infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess androgen or irregular insulin and progesterone levels. The symptoms of the condition was first described in 1721 by Antonio Vallisneri, an Italian physician.
Androgen is a male hormone. Where excess androgen is produced, the ovaries may grow some follicles (containing immature eggs) that inhibit the release of eggs. It also inhibits pregnancy.
This is not to say that pregnancy is impossible for such women. With treatment, this can be handled. Treatment is available at PWH.
One in ten women experience this condition. It causes acne, irregular menstrual cycles, unwanted hair growth, higher risk of suffering diabetes and high blood pressure.
While it may be genetic, or caused by inflammation or obesity, other factors affecting insulin and androgen levels may also be responsible for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Doctors are not certain about all the causes.
The condition enjoys many symptoms. Most of the symptoms are so subtle that they may go unnoticed, thus it takes most women several years to realize that they are suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
Hair loss, dark patches of the skin, absent periods (without pregnancy), sleep apnea (difficulty sleeping or tiredness upon waking up), Oily Skin or acne, male-pattern baldness, depression, weight loss difficulty, blurry vision, anxiety, hair growth in unwanted areas (hirsutism), pregnancy difficulties, headaches, excessive thirst or hunger etc. are some obvious symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
Most times, doctors diagnose PCOS in women who suffer at least two of the symptoms – irregular menstrual periods, ovarian cysts and high androgen levels. However, doctors combine these with interviews to understand the patient’s health history as well as her family history. The doctors also ask questions that reveal the presence or absence of other symptoms.
Apart from these questions, some tests are conducted. They include:
- Blood Tests: These will reveal the levels of male hormones in the patient’s system, especially androgen levels. Blood tests are also important to check insulin, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in order to check a patient’s risk of suffering diabetes or a heart condition.
This is important because obese women and women suffering diabetes stand a greater risk of contracting Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
- Pelvic examination: This allows the doctor to look out for ovarian abnormalities and problems that may exist in other parts of the reproductive system. The doctor does this by inserting a gloved hand in the patient’s vagina to check for any growths in the uterus or ovaries.
- Ultrasound: This involves using sound waves to view images of the reproductive system. It allows doctors to check the system for abnormal follicles or any other problems in the uterus or ovaries.
Treatment exists in the form of Birth Control Pills, Metformin, Healthy Diet Plans, Clomiphene, surgery, etc. it is, however, best to consult an ob/gyn.
These services and more are offered at Progressive Women’s Health, PLLC. Pay us a visit, today.