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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS, PCOD) Symptoms and Causes

Pathkind Team 1543 Views
Updated: 13 Oct 2023
Published: 16 Sep 2019
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS, PCOD) Symptoms and Causes

Overview

PCOS is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels. It affects the woman during her childbearing years, that is from age 15 to 44. Many women are not aware that they have PCOS and they may have never been diagnosed with the condition as well.

This condition affects a woman’s ovaries. Ovaries are the reproductive organ that produces estrogen and progesterone (menstrual cycle regulating hormone). It also produces a minute amount of male hormone known as androgen.

In PCOS, there is a formation of cysts, which are small fluid-filled sacs that grow inside the ovaries. These sacs are actually the follicles that contain an immature egg. The failure to release the egg at the time of ovulation may turn them into the content of fluid-filled sacs. An appropriate PCOS test is carried out to determine the formation of these fluids.

Causes of PCOS

The exact causes of PCOS are unknown. Doctors believe that when the level of male hormone androgen is high it prevents the ovary from producing the hormones and producing normal eggs. The factors that have been linked to produce a higher level of androgen are genes, insulin resistance, and inflammation.

  • Genes-It is shown in the studies that PCOS runs in the family. Not just one but many genes are likely to contribute to the condition.
     
  • Resistance to Insulin- Most of the women diagnosed with PCOS have resistance to insulin. This means that the cells in their bodies are not able to use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. It helps the body to utilize the sugar from the food to convert it to energy. The demand for insulin increases in the body when cells cannot use it properly. This formation of extra insulin triggers the ovaries to produce an excess of male hormones. Obesity and insulin resistance contribute to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
     
  • Inflammation- It is found in a study that women who are overweight can contribute to inflammation. Similarly, women with an increased level of inflammation in their bodies often have PCOS. Excess inflammation and higher androgen levels are linked together.

Common Symptoms of PCOS

Some women around the time of their first period discover PCOS symptoms. Other women discover PCOS when they have obesity or are trying to get pregnant. Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Irregular periods
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Hair growth
  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Darkening of skin
  • Headaches
  • Male pattern baldness

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of PCOS is done in women who have these symptoms:

  • High androgen level
  • Irregular periods
  • Cysts in the ovaries

A doctor may perform some of these diagnoses to determine PCOS

  • Pelvic examination to determine any problem in the ovaries or the reproductive tract
  • A Blood test is carried out to check for a higher level of the male hormone androgen. It may also check your insulin, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels
  • An ultrasound to look for any formation of the abnormal follicles and for other problems with your ovaries and uterus

Conclusion

Early detection can be done by taking health packages that do various tests to determine different conditions in our body. A pelvic exam, blood test, or ultrasound can confirm the diagnosis.

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