PCOD & PCOS formerly known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a common health problem faced by young girls these days. This condition has recently come into the spotlight, according to recent research 10 -15% of teens are found to be suffering from this condition. The most common symptoms of PCOS/OD are irregular periods, weight gain, acne, and abnormal hair growth. The seriousness of the level of the symptoms defer from girl to girl.
There is an underlying issue of self-esteem which is faced by teens because of this condition, often the growing weight, skin problems, and endless hair fall.
What Is PCOS?
PCOS is the short form of PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome. The name “Poly”, meaning “many”, and “Cystic”, meaning “cysts”, refers to the condition that PCOS may have enlarged ovaries that contain many very small cysts. These small cysts also called follicles to develop in the ovary but the eggs are only rarely released. The outer wall of the ovaries thickens giving the ovary a polycystic appearance. These cysts are not cancerous and do not need to be surgically removed. It is not uncommon for girls with PCOS to have normal-appearing ovaries but still have an imbalance in their hormone levels.
The signs of PCOS generally start at the age of a teenager with the start of menstruation.
Early Signs Of PCOS
Common symptoms of PCOS-
- Irregular Periods
- Sudden Weight Gain
- Abnormal Hair Gain In different body parts.
Less Common Symptoms Of PCOS
- Hair Thinning [ on the top of the head]
- Patches around under the armpits & below the neck
- High Blood Pressure
- Pre-Diabetes or Diabetes
Causes of PCOS
PCOS is caused by an imbalance of hormones, especially testosterone and estrogen. Many girls are often found to have high levels of insulin from the pancreas. The real cause of PCOS is the imbalance in the levels of insulin which then triggers the release of extra testosterone leading to all the complications.
For a Detailed Explanation of the cause of PCOS let’s look into the female reproductive system anatomy-
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- The pituitary gland located in the brain produces the hormone LH & follicle-stimulating hormone FSH.
- After getting indications from the produced LH & FSH hormones the ovaries in the female reproductive system produce estrogen & progesterone.
- Ovaries then make a little number of testosterones a male sex hormone to balance the working of the system. Higher levels of insulins cause more production of testosterone, the root cause of this whole condition.
Diagnosis Of PCOS
Generally, PCOS is very difficult to diagnose all by yourself. You need to keep a very close observation on the menstrual cycle and gaps between them if arising. It is always good if PCOS is diagnosed at the earliest, there is no particular age to get this diagnosed, it differs from girl to girl and also 15- 20% of teenage girls are found to have PCOS.
PCOS is diagnosed by a gynecologist or an endocrinologist.
The gynae will ask you questions about your medical history, questions about your symptoms, problems, your other health conditions if any, your family’s health, your medications if you are taking any, your allergies, and many more.
The gynecologist will also do a physical examination of a few parameters relating to PCOS like your weight, hair growth, skin quality, acne, etc. He/She might also do a test called gynecological examination if necessary to rule out the possibility of our symptoms.
Sometimes they write blood tests to diagnose PCOS and or to see if the symptoms are caused by other conditions, such as thyroid or other ovarian or gland problems.
Gynae might also suggest a pelvic ultrasound (a safe, painless test that uses sound waves to make images of the pelvis) to check your ovaries for cysts or other problems. Because cysts aren’t always visible until this test is done.
Treatment Of PCOS
There is no such pre-decided treatment of PCOS, the major way to treat this problem is lifestyle changes as it is more of a lifestyle problem than a health problem.
Exercise & Dieting- Control That Extra Inches
If you are overweight or obese, your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes. Weight reduction, especially from the lower belly area can be very effective in reducing many of the health conditions associated with PCOS, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Doctors generally recommend birth control pills to girls to control their high levels of testosterone. But this is not a permanent solution and this solution takes almost 6 months to regulate the levels of male hormones, which rise again as soon as the pill intake stops.
So there is no such proper medicine for treating PCOS except for a few lifestyle changes.
PCOS Cycle & Normal Menstrual Cycle
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The normal menstrual cycle lasts for 4-7 days and repeats within an interval of 28- 30 days, whereas the PCOS Cycle has no fixed duration of occurrence. Usually, women with PCOS have less than six to eight menstrual cycles in a year.
Normal menstrual flow varies from heavy to low at the start to the end of the cycle, whereas PCOS menstrual flow because of the hormone imbalance causes the endometrium to become thicker which leads to abnormal uterine bleeding, including longer and heavier periods.
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