What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): An Overview

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, also called as PCOS, is a common endocrine disorder that affects women with ovaries. This problem arises during reproductive years of women. PCOS can be identified by a range of symptoms, that depends on severity from person to person. This problem has significant impact on a persons health and well-being.

What are the key features of PCOS:

  • Irregular Menstrual Cycles: One of the common symptoms of PCOS is irregular or absent menstrual cycles. This problem occurs due to hormonal imbalances, particularly higher  levels of androgens (male hormones) in the body.
  • Ovulatory Dysfunction: PCOS can result to irregular or anovulatory (lack of ovulation) cycles, as a result it may be challenging conceive for an individual.
  • Polycystic Ovaries: On ultrasound scan, the ovaries of women with PCOS problem may appear enlarged and contain multiple small cysts. These cysts are actually immature follicles that have not ovulated.
  • Hyperandrogenism: Elevated levels of androgens can lead to symptoms like acne, hirsutism (excess facial and body hair), and male-pattern baldness in some individuals.
  • Insulin Resistance: Many people with PCOS also have insulin resistance, which can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance can also reslt to weight gain.

Although the exact cause of PCOS is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Diagnosis of PCOS typically involves a thorough medical history, physical examination, and blood tests to assess hormone levels. An ultrasound may be performed to examine the ovaries.

Management of PCOS often focuses on addressing specific symptoms and reducing long-term health risks. Treatment options may include lifestyle modifications such as weight management through diet and exercise, hormonal contraceptives to regulate menstrual cycles, and medications to address insulin resistance. For individuals trying to conceive, fertility treatments may be recommended.

It’s important to note that PCOS is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management and monitoring. It can have far-reaching effects on various aspects of health, including fertility, cardiovascular health, and emotional well-being. Therefore, individuals with PCOS are encouraged to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized treatment plan and support their overall health and quality of life.

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