Harmony in Hormones: An Approach to Understand and Manage PCOS Disease

Have you heard about hormonal imbalance? This article will unveil a prominent problem of women: hormonal disorder. Imbalanced hormones are the warehouse of a plethora of diseases. The most common among all the diseases is PCOS disease. What is PCO exactly?

PCO and PCOS Disease

PCO is a polycystic ovary, and the condition that is caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones is polycystic ovary syndrome. It affects 6% to 12% of women of reproductive age.

In PCOS disease, there is a noticeable difference between polycystic ovary/ PCOS ovaries and normal ovaries. In a polycystic ovary, the outer edge of the ovary generally develops small sacs of fluids. The small sacs are called Cysts. The cysts are filled with fluid and also contain immature eggs. These are called follicles. The follicles are underdeveloped sacs that are unable to release eggs regularly. In medical terms, it means no ovulation.

PCOS Disease

Genes are one of the common causes of carrying this disease to the next generation. PCO is a hormonal condition; however, the exact cause still needs to be discovered or is unknown. It has been discovered that PCOS disease is related to abnormal or imbalanced hormones in the body. It also includes a high level of insulin. Insulin release is higher in PCOS disease women and it results in high levels of testosterone. The level of androgen, a male hormone which women’s bodies also have also rises. This rise in androgen stops eggs from ovulating. However, the level of progesterone which regulates regular periods in the women’s body drops down or decreases.

Some of the symptoms are noticed in PCOS ovaries. Highlighting below some of them

  1. Disruptive Menstrual Cycle- PCOS ovaries show irregular menstrual cycles or absence of periods. It is caused because of the lack of ovulation. In polycystic ovaries, a plethora of underdeveloped eggs on the ovaries are visible. It can easily be seen in the ultrasound.
  2. Hirsutism- In PCOS disease, excessive growth of hair, especially on the chin and face, has been observed. The leading cause is the blood’s higher level of androgen(male hormone). 
  3. Besides Hirsutism, thinning of hair and sometimes loss of hair is also one of the symptoms of PCO.
  4. Acne issues are also common in polycystic ovaries. Due to high levels of androgen, acne on the face, upper chest, and back are common.
  5. Skin darkening—Darkening of the skin, especially in the groin, underneath the breasts, and along the creases of the neck. 
  6. Skin tags, small but excessive flaps of skin, are also noticed in PCO. They are seen in the neck area or armpits.
  7. Weight Management- The common problem the researchers quite see is weight gain. Losing weight in PCOS ovaries is challenging or like chipping off the mountain.
  8. Mood Swing- This is also a common phenomenon in polycystic ovary syndrome. 
  9. Pelvic pain is also noticed in some women.

In the PCO some of the common factors if not taken care of can turn into a higher risk for serious health problems. The reasons are high levels of insulins and androgen in the blood. Certain high-risk health issues are;

  1. Heart Disease
  2. High Blood Sugar
  3. High Cholesterol
  4. Diabetes- At the age of 40, type 2 diabetes develops in more than 50% of women. Genes are also responsible for the same. It is a metabolic syndrome.
  5. Gestational Diabetes- Polycystic ovaries result in high sugar levels during pregnancy. It even affects women who have no history of diabetes. There are 2 types of gestational diabetes; A1 and A2. The cause of this is metabolic syndrome.
  6. Stroke- It disrupts the flow of blood to the brain. It basically occurs in 2 forms and both are potentially life-threatening.
  7. Sleep Apnea- It is a sleep disorder. The root cause of this is the stop and start of breathing while sleeping/ slumbering. It sometimes results in serious diseases like snoring, heart problems or high blood pressure. It is also due to metabolic syndrome.
  8. Bleeding from Uterus is also one of the health issues of PCOS disease. The results are sometimes fatal like uterine cancer.
  9. Miscarriage and premature births are also noticeable health issues in PCO.
  10. In PCOS disease, inflammation of the liver is also one of the health problems.

There is no single test that can detect PCOS disease; multiple tests are available. The nature of the test depends on the symptoms women show. Generally, doctors look for common symptoms of PCO and medical history. Afterward, the Genealogist performs a physical examination of the pelvis. 

  The doctor might ask for a blood test. The blood test will help measure the hormone level, blood sugar, and cholesterol in the body. Additionally, doctors generally confirm PCOS by checking polycystic ovaries through ultrasound. Ultrasound is also a way to look for tumors and measure the lining of the uterus.

After examination and confirmation of PCOS disease, the doctor suggests two types of treatment;

  1. To keep the periods on track, clear up acne, reduce hair loss, and control excessive hair growth, doctors generally prescribe hormonal birth control pills. These medications are good if the woman is not planning for pregnancy. These birth control pills also help to lower the risk of endometrial cancer.
  2. If the woman plans for pregnancy, then doctors prescribe fertility medications. These medications help to release eggs for the ovaries.
  1. What is the main cause of PCOS?

 The exact cause of PCO is still unknown. However, in some cases, it passes through genes and also it is a lifestyle disease. 

  1. What happens to ovaries in PCOS?

 In PCOS ovaries develop cysts on the outer layer of the ovaries. The cysts are called follicles. The follicles contain undeveloped eggs. These eggs do not ovulate and result in few, unusual or very long periods. The male hormone androgen also increases in the body.

  1. Is conceiving a task with PCOS?

 It is not a task to conceive in PCO. A little medication, guidance on managing weight, and maintaining balanced blood sugar with a healthy lifestyle will help to conceive. In a few cases, fertility medication helps to conceive without any problem.

  1. What age does PCO start?

Women who are in their 20s and 30s generally get to know about it. Additionally when a woman tries to get pregnant also becomes aware of PCOS. To conclude, women can get this disease once they hit puberty.

PCO is quite a common condition and a lifestyle disease that affects the menstrual cycle. The disruptive menstrual cycle causes many other high-risk diseases. It is incurable. Hence, lifestyle changes and medical treatment are suggested to manage the symptoms. These changes help a woman conceive. Additionally, they lower the risk of other health conditions.

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