What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine system disorder among women of reproductive age. It is a condition where the female sex hormones estrogen and proestrogen are out of balance.

Symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome usually become apparent in your late teens or early twenties. Although it is so common, it still goes undiagnosed. A large population of women are unaware of the condition, if they have it and the risks associated with it (if it is not treated).

 

Not all women with PCOS will have all of the symptoms, and each symptom can vary from mild to severe. Many women only experience menstrual problems and/or are unable to conceive. There is no cure for PCOS, you can only manage the symptoms.

 

Symptoms of PCOS include:

  • irregular periods or no periods at all
  • difficulty getting pregnant (because of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate)
  • excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks
  • weight gain and/or trouble losing weight
  • thinning hair and hair loss from the head
  • oily skin or acne
  • Dark patches of skin on the back of your neck and other areas, called acanthosis nigricans (a-can-tho-sis ni-gri-cans)

Risk Factors

Having polycystic ovary syndrome may make the following conditions more likely:

  • Infertility
  • Sleep apnea
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Cancer of the uterine lining (endometrial cancer), caused by exposure to continuous high levels of estrogen
  • Gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cholesterol and lipid abnormalities, such as elevated triglycerides or low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol
  • Metabolic syndrome — a cluster of signs and symptoms that indicate a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis — a severe liver inflammation

 

Tips to Help

 

Follow a healthy lifestyle

  1. Make healthy eating choices to ensure good nutrition. It is important to be mindful about what you are eating. Think about how certain food affects your body.
  2. Exercise regularly. Exercise not only help with weight loss, however it can also help with other PCOS symptoms such as stress and anxiety.
  3. Stress Management. Managing your stress is so crucial. High cortisol effects any progress you make with regards to balancing your hormones.

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