What is Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is condition characterized by typical symptoms of
- Irregular periods
- Excess hair growth (on the face, chest, abdomen, or upper thighs) which affects about 70% of women with PCOS,
- Obesity which is present in about 80% of women with PCOS
- Severe acne
What causes PCOS?
Because PCOS is associated with irregular ovulation or lack of ovulation resulting in irregular or absent periods, PCOS is also associated with infertility and is one of the most common causes for infertility.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. It is generally accepted that there are several factors that contribute to the symptoms of PCOS like insulin resistance, increased levels of hormones called androgens, and an irregular menstrual cycle.
PCOS affects all areas of the body, not just the reproductive system
It also increases a woman’s risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and abnormal changes of the lining of the uterus. Weight loss can be very helpful in women with PCOS who are overweight. Weight loss alone may regulate the menstrual cycle, and even a small loss of weight may be helpful. Weight loss also has been found to improve cholesterol and insulin levels and relieve symptoms like excess hair growth and acne.
There are treatments available for the symptoms of PCOS and treatment is tailored to each woman according to symptoms, other health problems, and whether she wants to get pregnant.