Polycystic ovary syndrome is a disorder commonly found among active menstruating/reproducing women. The symptoms range from hirsutism, irregular cycles to increased weight gain, oily skin and even signs of depression and mood swings. It is the most common cause of infertility in women. PCOS is a hormonal imbalance and can begin as young as 15 years of age. As there are no proper symptoms or awareness about this, more than 50% of women with PCOS go undiagnosed.
What happens in PCOS?
PCOS affects the reproducing organ (ovaries) that produces the hormone estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help regulate and balance the menstrual cycle.
As its name suggests, PCOS creates small fluid-filled cysts in a woman’s ovary containing premature eggs; these eggs do not mature, which leads to an irregular menstrual cycle.
Along with these cysts, during PCOS, the male hormone androgens are produced higher, resulting in male features such as deep voice, facial hair, etc. Due to the imbalanced hormones, women experience irregular menstruation.
Causes behind PCOS
Research is ongoing as to what might be the cause behind this syndrome. As of now, no conclusion has been reached. Here are a few reasons doctors believe could be factors:
• High levels of insulin
Insulin is a hormone that regulates sugar usage, the primary source of energy in our bodies. If our cells become insulin resistant, it leads to diabetes and increases insulin production, leading to increased production of androgens. It could be a factor behind hormonal imbalance.
Studies have shown that women with a history of family members with PCOS will have a higher chance of developing the syndrome themselves.
Complications because of PCOS
A balanced menstrual cycle means a healthy uterus and higher chances of fertility. An irregular menstrual cycle caused by PCOS could lead to infertility as ovaries might not release enough eggs to be fertilized.
65% or more women diagnosed with PCOS are overweight, which increases the risk for diabetes, heart-related problems and even stroke.
• Endometrial cancer
The uterine lining sheds every month during menstruation. Irregular menstruation can cause the buildup of the uterine lining and hence higher chances of endometrial cancer.
A leading cause of depression is hormonal imbalance. Apart from this, excess hair growth could develop negative feelings for one’s body.
Home Treatments for PCOS
Exercising can be highly beneficial. Losing weight regulates the menstrual cycle and lessens symptoms. Working out for 30-45 minutes four times a week has been proven apt for weight loss among women.
A balanced diet is full of vegetables and fruits.
• Birth control medication
This medicine full of progesterone helps regulate the menstrual cycle and ovulation.
Suppose you’ve been noticing any changed symptoms or irregularities in your cycle, then it’s best to get an early diagnosis by a doctor. A lifestyle change is the most important way to battle PCOS; most women see positive changes in their bodies by changing habits such as bad dietary habits, lack of exercise. If home remedies and solutions don’t work for you, you should go to a doctor and get proper medication.