What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem associated with hormonal imbalances and metabolism problems in women. It may affect the overall health and appearance and also affects every 1 in 10 women of childbearing age i.e. between the age of 15-44, and mostly it’s in their 20’s and 30’s when women face problems in conceiving. It is a treatable health issue with the use of medications and treatments.
Usually, the ovaries make eggs that are released every month as a part of a healthy menstrual cycle. If a woman has PCOS, the egg may not be developed or not released during ovulation as it should. It may cause missed periods or irregular menstrual cycles. This may further lead to infertility; and the development of cysts (which is a small fluid-filled sac) in ovaries.
Some of the symptoms of PCOS can be noted below:
1. Irregular menstrual cycle:
Women having PCOS may have missed periods or have fewer periods per year i.e. less than 8 in a year. Some women may also stop having periods.
2. Hair growth:
This is known as “hirsutism” which is a condition when women have too much hair on their face, Chun, or other parts of their body. This affects mostly 70% of women with PCOS.
These are more than usual on the face, chest, and upper back.
4. Hair thinning:
There is too much hair loss than usual which leads to male-headed baldness.
5. Gain in weight:
Women with PCOS usually are overweight, and if they try to reduce, it takes a lot and is not easily lost.
5. Skin darkening:
The skin gets dark along the neck, groin, and breasts. Also, there might be patchy skin along the armpits or neck area.
What causes PCOS?
It can be caused due to multiple reasons, but the main ones can be noted below:
1. High levels of androgens: Androgens are also called male hormones which every woman produces in small amounts. They control the development of traits like baldness. So, the higher the level of androgens, the more the women prevent ovaries from releasing eggs during the menstrual cycle and cause extra hair growth and acne.
2. High levels of insulin: Insulin is the hormone that regulates the conversion of food intake into energy. When the levels of insulin are high, body cells do not respond to insulin normally. Many women with PCOS have high insulin levels, especially those who are overweight and have unhealthy eating habits, or have a family history of diabetes.
Can a woman having PCOS get pregnant?
Yes. Any woman having PCOS can get pregnant, but it is a little trickier and needs some extra help. If a woman with PCOS is pregnant, it increases the risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension, pre-eclampsia, and preterm birth. So, the women are to be screened 20 weeks prior to any medication for gestational diabetes. There are some steps that women need to take to conceive:
1. Loose weight:
If your body is not in BMI, and if you are overweight, losing weight might be the first step towards its cure. Make sure all your eating habits are healthy and exercise regularly which helps to relieve PCOS symptoms. Losing weight helps in lowering blood glucose levels, improves the way the body uses insulin, and helps hormones reach their optimal levels. Even shedding a small amount of weight may help you get your menstruation regular and improves your chances of getting pregnant.
2. Removing hair:
Opt for hair removal creams, laser treatment, or electrolysis, to remove excess hair.
3. Slowing down hair growth:
A prescribed skin treatment for the reduction of hair growth may help in the unwanted growth of hair in unwanted places.
After the detection of PCOS, you might be medicated by your gynecologist, which helps to ovulate. Once this process improves your menstrual cycle, you are supposed to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle in order to keep the cycle regular. The medicines prescribed may be hormonal birth control, anti-androgen medicines, or metformin based on prominent symptoms.
Thus, no matter what a woman has PCOS, they are able to be convinced in the right direction by a doctor. Getting proper treatment and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet, may help overcome PCOS. Further, the complications associated with PCOS can be cured by Assisted Reproductive Technology like in vitro fertilization (IVF). On a concluding note, “Women with PCOS can get pregnant.”