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But is PCOS really a disease? All your questions answered

December 17, 2020. 8 mins read

If you have landed on this page, chances are you are one of the 26% of women between age groups 15 to 44, having Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). If not, you certainly know one because this lifestyle disorder seems to be common these days. And yet, almost 70% of these cases remain undiagnosed. While PCOS is a common hormonal disorder, it's often confused with PCOD. However similar it may seem, let’s not get to the conclusions ourselves. After all, we are not the doctors here, right? So, let’s make it simpler for you. One of the most common myths around the disorder is when patients confuse their conditions and symptoms with what they encounter on the internet. You have PCOS if you have at least 2 out of these 3 symptoms:
  1. High androgen levels: Our ovaries are responsible for producing hormones that regulate our menstrual cycle – estrogen and progesterone. However, for some of us, our ovaries also produce a small number of male hormones called androgen. Now you know why some women have that unnecessary facial hair?
  2. Irregular or absent menstrual cycles: Women whose estrogen and progesterone levels are lower than usual, and androgen levels are higher, on the other hand, have disrupted menstrual cycles. It could mean having fewer periods than usual or having heavier than regular blood flow. Imagine having no control over your period cycle!
  3. Polycystic ovaries visible on an ultrasound: Now “polycystic” means having “multiple cysts.” Cysts are follicles containing an immature egg. Their lack of reaching the ovulation stage then alters estrogen, progesterone, Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH) in our body.
So, it’s simple. Having multiple cysts alone around the ovaries with no hormonal imbalances means that you have PCOS or PolyCystic Ovaries, and not PCOS.

What led to my PCOS?

Our environment and our lifestyle changes have a huge impact on our internal body functions. One of the most commonly known causes of PCOS is, of course, lifestyle habits. No wonder it is known as a lifestyle syndrome. Imagine our bodies producing male hormones because we had a sedentary lifestyle and a lack of nutritional diet as a child. Crazy right? It is often the lack of exercise, weight gain, and obesity in some cases that leads to metabolic imbalances, or insulin resistance, in our bodies, which leads us to the next cause of PCOS. Insulin, a hormone present in the pancreas, permits cells to utilize sugar, your body's essential energy supply. On the off chance that your cells become impervious to insulin activity, at that point, your glucose levels can rise, and your body may deliver more insulin. This rise in insulin then leads to more androgen generation, and the rest is history. However, research also shows that certain genes might be linked with the PCOS condition and run in the family.

Is there a symptom or symptoms for early diagnosis?

As women, we tend to avoid key health triggers in our bodies to keep sending out. We often neglect those irregular period cycles or sometimes an acne breakout, blaming the weather or calling it just a phase. If we ever sit back and analyse the symptoms we’ll know something isn’t right inside our body.
  • Irregular periods
The absence of ovulation keeps the uterine covering from falling each month. Some women with PCOS may end up with eight-period cycles or less in a year.
  • Unwanted hair growth
More than 70 percent of women develop hair all over their body —even in the parts of their back, stomach, and chest. Abundant hair development is also known as hirsutism.
  • Acne breakout
Those recurring breakouts around the face, chest, and upper back aren’t just anything darling! Male hormones can make the skin oilier than expected which leads to acne.
  • Male-pattern baldness
The hair on the scalp gets weaker and drops out.
  • Darkening of the skin
Dark patches of skin can form in body creases like those present on the neck, around the crotch, and even under the breasts.
  • Constant headaches
Hormonal changes can also lead to severe and constant headaches.

If I need medical attention, what tests should I look for?

A pelvic test can look at the situation with your ovaries or other parts of the reproductive region. During this test, your PCP embeds gloved fingers into your vagina and checks for any developments in your ovaries or uterus. Blood tests check for higher-than-ordinary levels of male hormones. Likewise, you may have blood tests to check your cholesterol, insulin, and fatty oil levels to assess your risks for related conditions like coronary illness and diabetes. An ultrasound is used to search for the development of follicles and other issues with your ovaries and uterus. The key to conquering PCOS is by following healthy lifestyle changes and breaking the pattern with first-degree medical attention. Since PCOS is not a disease, there is no medical cure for it. Getting on a fitness journey and including healthy eating habits can, however, regulate the symptoms to decrease the side effects and impact of this lifestyle disorder.

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