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PCOS is a disorder characterized by enlarged ovaries and the formation of tiny cysts on the outer sides of the ovaries. Polycystic Ovary is a hormonal condition that causes thesurplus surplus production of androgen in women. Androgen causes development of weight gain and hair in women as well when they are present in high amount. They trigger acne and excessive growth of body hair in women accompanied by irregular or lack of ovulation (release of afemale female egg, ovum) which is reflected in the form of absent or erratic menstrual cycle. Owing to troubles in ovulation one may experience difficulty in becoming pregnant.
Many women suffering from PCOS have a resistance to theaction action of insulin hormone. Normally Insulin drives sugar into the body cell to provide energy for it’s work. Many women with PCOS may appear unaffected by this change, but at cellular level, this resistance means it requires a larger amount of insulin production to sustain a normal blood sugar level. High levels of insulin as a result of insulin resistance, in turn drastically boosts androgen production.
Symptoms of PCOS include:
- Irregular Menstrual Cycle. Women with PCOS may miss periods or have fewer periods (fewer than eight in a year). Or, their periods may come every 21 days or more often. Some women with PCOS stop having menstrual periods.
- Excessive hair. Excessive hair on the face, chin, or parts of the body where men usually have hair. This is called "Hirsutism"." Hirsutism affects up to 70% of women with PCOS.
- Acne. Acne occurs on the face, chest, and upper back
- Hair Loss. Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp; male-pattern baldness and underneath breasts
- Skin tags. Skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
Treatment for PCOS:
There is apparently no procedure to cure PCOS. The aim of treatment varies as per age and the requirement of the patient.
- If the patient is having Infertility: A lack of ovulation hinders the secretion of progesterone (a hormone preparing the uterus for pregnancy), thus hampering conception. In this case, the treatment is directed at maintaining a regular ovulation, by use of ovulation-stimulating medication.
- In patients with irregular cycles NOT wanting pregnancy: The irregularity of menstrual cycle can be fixed by consuming birth control pills. These pills comprise of both progestin and estrogen which aid to bring down androgen production.
- For patients with PCOS and weight gain, obesity: Insulin resistance seen in PCOS warrants the use of certain medications such as metformin which are prescribed to enhance sensitivity of the cells to insulin. Metformin enhances cell function and maintaining sugar levels by its increased consumption by the cells. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.