Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), most commonly known as PCOD (Polycystic ovarian disease) is a health problem which arises due to hormonal imbalance and improper metabolism. It is found in 2% to 20% women, who are in the age groups of 18 to 44.  It affects the overall health and appearance of a woman and is one of the most common causes of infertility.

Symptoms of PCOS

Women with PCOS face many menstrual issues, which include irregular menstrual periods, extended menstrual periods, fewer menstrual periods or even missed menstrual periods. Oligomenorrhea is the condition in which women have less than nine menstrual periods in a year,while amenorrhea is a condition in which women miss their periods for three or more consecutive months. On the other hand, hypermenorrhea is a condition, in which the women have extended menstrual periods.

Women suffering from PCOS get too much unwanted hair on their face, chin and other body parts, just like men.  This condition is known as Hirsutism, which affects almost 70% of the women suffering from PCOS. They also get acne breakouts on their face, chest and upper part of their back and experience loss and thinning of hair on their scalp. Certain areas of their skin become excessively dark, like neck, groin and the region beneath the breast. Sometimes small flaps of excess skin, also called skin tags, appear in the neck or armpit area.

It leads to metabolic disorders like weight gain in women and their body becomes resistant to insulin.Women also experience lack of ovulation, which is also known as an ovulation. This leads to trouble having a baby.

Causes of PCOS

Though the exact cause is not fully known, yet according to most of the experts it can be due to both,heredity and ecological factors.

Presence of high androgen levels in women lead to unwanted hair growth and acne, as well as prevent ovulation (release of egg from ovaries) during the menstrual cycle.

Obese women having unhealthy eating habits, insufficient physical activity and with a family history of diabetes, tend to become resistant to insulin. This hinders proper metabolism of sugar and gradually leads to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Diagnosis of PCOS

The main aim of the diagnosis is to find out at least any two of three main symptoms, which include irregular periods, higher level of androgen and cysts in the ovaries. Blood test is used to find the level of androgen, while ultrasound and pelvic exam is used to find out the abnormality in ovaries and uterus. During pelvic exam doctor inserts gloved fingers into the vagina to check for any abnormal growth in uterus.

Treatment of PCOS

PCOS has no cure but can be managed by following a few changes in the lifestyle. Exercise daily and work on weight loss. This helps to lower the blood glucose levels.Weight loss also helps to regularize the menstrual cycle and increases the chances of pregnancy. Hair remover creams, and laser treatments can be used to get rid of the unwanted hair on the body and slow down the hair growth.

Hormonal birth control pills, shot, patch, hormonal intrauterine device (IUD), or vaginal ring may be prescribed by your doctor to reduce acne and unwanted hair. There are medicines to control the effects of higher androgen levels and reduce insulin levels in the blood.

For women who want children, doctors may prescribe medicines like clomiphene to help them ovulate.Women with PCOS have ovaries with thicker wall, which prevent spontaneous ovulation. A surgery called ovarian drilling may be performed during which a fine needle heated with electricity or lasers is used to make a few holes in the ovary surface. This helps to restore ovulation, but this treatment is effective only for six to eight months.

There is another technique called In vitro fertilization (IVF). Compared to medicines, IVF has higher pregnancy rates. During IVF, the egg is fertilized in laboratory with partner’s sperm and then implanted into the woman’s uterus to develop and grow.