PCOS: Causes, Symptoms, Fertility Impact

Let’s get ready to fight with PCOS

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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is one of the most common hormonal endocrine disorders in women which involves the irregular function of the ovaries. It accounts for around 85% of ovulatory disorder cases. While the exact cause of PCOS remains unclear, one of the most alarming effects of PCOS is its impact on fertility. The month of September is dedicated to raising the awareness of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) worldwide.

Causes of PCOS

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, although several factors are associated with the condition. It is not just closely linked to high levels of hormones such as insulin and testosterone, women suffering from PCOS tend to secrete higher than normal levels of androgens. Androgens, though normally present in both sexes, are generally considered as “male hormones”. Elevated levels of androgen in women can harm the development of eggs and may interfere with ovulation. This is the reason why women with PCOS fail to ovulate with regularity. Women with PCOS normally have low levels of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and high levels of androgens (male hormones), which can impact ovulation,making it difficult to conceive. This eventually leads to higher rates of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, etc. Additionally, PCOS also runs in some families, which indicates that there may be a genetic link in the development of the condition.

Symptoms of PCOS

Women with PCOS generally have around three characteristic symptoms. A woman is considered having PCOS when she shows any two of these three symptoms:

  1. Irregular periods
  2. Excess of androgens – either measured in the blood or seen through symptoms like acne, excessive hair growth, etc.
  3. Polycystic ovaries – (ultrasound)

Though the symptoms of PCOS can vary from woman to woman, some of these are:-

  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Weight fluctuations
  • acne
  • hirsutism (excessive body hair)
  • skin tags
  • loss of hair at the scalp (Androgenic alopecia)
  • dark skin patches
  • Pelvic pain
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high cholesterol and high triglycerides
  • High blood pressure
  • depression/anxiety
  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • Ovarian cysts
  • infertility.

Can PCOS be cured?

Early diagnosis of PCOS is necessary since it is often linked with an increased risk of various medical risks, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, heart disease, etc. Since symptoms vary from woman to woman, it is quite difficult to diagnose PCOS in one test. While there is no permanent cure for PCOS, proper education, early diagnosis and medication can help the women suffering from PCOS, lower the risk factors and manage the symptoms associated with it. Diet and exercise play an important role not only in the management of PCOS but also in weight loss, maintenance and the regulation of insulin levels. The good news is, even if conception does not occur on her own, it can be achieved through various fertility treatments.

One of the best multispeciality hospitals in Chennai, Promed focuses on delivering trustworthy and ethical medical care. We pride ourselves in providing well trained and experienced physicians in combination with courteous staff and state of the art infrastructure. We focus on health, not just disease! Our general medicine physicians, pediatricians and OB/GYN physicians work with our specialists in providing complete healthcare solutions to our patients. Our medical awareness programs, personalized preventive health check-ups, cardiac rehabilitation programs, exercise and fitness training programs etc helps in attaining a holistic approach to health and fitness.