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What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is one among the most common endocrine disorders that are occurring among females of reproductive ages. This particular disorder has a wide variety of causes which are not completely understood. However, there are strong evidences that this is largely a genetic disorder. This article will help you in understanding about this disorder.

PCOS can also be referred to as ‘hyperandrogenic anovulation’ or ‘Stein-Leventhal syndrome’. Most typically, females with polycystic ovary syndrome would have enlarged ovaries that are containing small collection of fluid. PCOS are found to be producing symptoms in 5 to 10% of females who are in reproductive ages. This syndrome is believed to be one among the major causes of female sub-fertility.

Causes of PCOS:

As mentioned earlier, this is a heterogeneous disorder and the cause is unknown. And, there are evidences that this is a genetic disorder. Such evidences include the following:

  • Familial clustering of cases

  • Concordance in monozygotic than di-zygotic twins

  • Heritability of endocrine as well as metabolic features of this syndrome

As such, the genetic component of this disorder seemed to be inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion. However, the exact gene that is being affected has not yet identified.

Signs and Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:

The most common symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome are as follows:

  • Anovulation

  • Excess androgenic hormones

  • Insulin resistance

  • Irregular menstruation

  • Amenorrhea

  • Ovulation-related infertility

  • Acne

  • Hirsutism

  • Oligomenorrhea

  • Hypermenorrhea

  • Androgenic alopecia

  • Hyperandrogenemia

How PCOS can be diagnosed?

PCOS can be diagnosed by performing the following standard diagnostic assessments:

  • Patient History: The patient history for the following entities will be analyzed:

- Menstrual pattern

- Obesity

- Hirsutism

- Absence of breast development

  • Gynecologic Ultrasonography: This would specifically look for smaller ovarian follicles.

  • Laparoscopic Examination: This might reveal the thickened, pearl-white surface of the patient’s ovary.

  • Levels of Male Hormones: This would check whether the serum levels of male hormones like androstenedione and testosterone are elevated.

How to Manage Your PCOS?

The management of this particular disorder may be considered under the following four categories:

  • Decreasing the levels of insulin resistance

  • Restoring the fertility

  • Treatment for your acne and hirsutism

  • Restoring the regular menstrual periods

  • Preventing the medical conditions like endometrial hyperplasia and endometrial cancer

What Diet should you follow?

When your PCOS is associated with the conditions of overweight/obesity, weight loss will be the most effective method for restoring the normal ovulation and/or menstruation. Hence, a weight loss diet will be more useful. In addition, a low GI diet would result in greater menstrual regularity in PCOS affected women. Also, the diet should be concentrating to treat any deficiencies (if present) like Vitamin D deficiency.

When to Meet a Doctor?

I would suggest you to consult your doctor if you are having concerns over your menstrual periods. You can also consult your doctor, if you are experiencing infertility or if you are having any sign of excess male hormones. By consulting the doctor and diagnosing the condition at the initial stages, you can cure this disorder without any difficulty.