Whoever suffers from polycystic ovaries suffers from a very clear syndrome.. It is a series of symptomatic features that define a condition suffered by millions of women around the world.
Polycystic ovaries occur in women of reproductive age, and this article mainly discusses its causes, symptoms and treatment. If diagnosed in time, it is possible to lead a completely normal life.
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What are polycystic ovaries?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder. It occurs mostly in women between 18 and 44 years of age. However, it can be detected at an earlier age, even before the first menstrual period.
During the first half of the cycle the ovary develops several follicles. These grow and mature producing estrogen, and days before ovulation one of these follicles becomes the dominant egg. It is the one that grows the most waiting to be fertilized.
The rest of the follicles begin to stop growing and are gradually reabsorbed along with the egg if it has not been fertilized.
However, the woman has polycystic ovary syndrome is that none of these follicles manages to become an egg and also fail to be reabsorbed until they disappear.
In the absence of a dominant follicle that becomes an egg, the cycle becomes irregular, as well as the production of estrogen and progesterone. This irregularity is largely responsible for polycystic ovary syndrome.
It is convenient to detect and treat it in time before it causes greater alterations in the endocrine system. Since it is a syndrome, to detect it, it is convenient to observe if its symptoms are present.
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The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is not known. However, there are several factors that predispose a woman’s body to suffer from it. They cannot be considered direct causes, but there is scientific evidence of their impact.
1. Hereditary factor
It has been proven that there is a hereditary factor that can be a determining factor.. The appearance of polycystic ovary syndrome is linked to certain hereditary genetic factors, and it coincides with the fact that those who suffer from it have relatives in direct line who also have it.
Regularly all the women of a family (mother, grandmother, sister) present the syndrome, although sometimes the symptoms can be less intense. There are people who never have major discomfort and do not need treatment.
2. Insulin excess
Insulin is directly related to the development of this disorder.. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and allows the cells to use the sugar that provides energy to the body. But if these cells become resistant to insulin, blood sugar rises.
When blood sugar rises above normal standards, androgen production increases, which is directly related to alterations in the ovulation process.
3. Excess androgen
Producing androgen in excess appears to be one of the common causes. There are women who during the menstrual cycle produce androgen in higher quantities than other women, and this abnormal production has consequences in the body.
If the ovaries produce androgen in the ovaries, this leads to acne and hirsutism. Skin problems and hair growth in androgen-dependent areas such as beard, sideburns, mammary aureoles or back are something that bothers many women.
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There are a series of symptoms that indicate that a woman suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome.. Two or more symptoms require medical supervision and further studies to determine that it is indeed this disorder.
It is common to confuse the symptoms with some other condition, and that is why it is important to see a doctor. The gynecologist or endocrinologist are the appropriate specialists for this.
Irregular menstrual periods
Irregular menstrual periods are the most frequent symptom.. Although it must be accompanied by other symptoms to be considered a possibility, it may be the clearest symptom that there is a problem.
If menstrual periods are widely spaced, intensely painful or very prolonged, they are considered irregular. Look at the causes and consequences of this. Even if they are not 28-day cycles, if they occur with a regular frequency, they are regular.
Hirsutism could be a clear sign of the presence of this disorder.. Hirsutism is the appearance and excessive growth of hair where it does not usually grow in women, for example the face, chest or back.
In this case the hair growth is habitual and repeated, in addition to being constant and in many places. When one or only a few hairs appear, it is not considered hirsutism.
3. Excess weight
Being overweight can also be a symptom of polycystic ovaries.. However, the relationship is like a vicious circle, entering into feedback.
It is necessary to carefully observe whether eating habits and physical activity are adequate. If there is still body fat gain, this could be due to the development of the disorder in question.
4. Acne or oily skin
Acne after puberty could be an indication of having the syndrome.. Although the appearance of acne and oily skin is common during adolescence due to hormonal imbalances, it sometimes occurs with great incidence in women over 25 years of age.
Persistent or aggressive acne after puberty and oily skin are possible indicators. It could be because they are the result of hormonal imbalance caused by polycystic ovary syndrome.
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The treatment for this disorder depends on the context of each woman.. Once the doctor has determined that it is polycystic ovary syndrome, the treatment depends on the type of discomfort or which ones cause the most discomfort.
1. Losing weight
Losing weight has a great benefit in combating this disorder.. It is one of the first steps that the doctor indicates. In addition to helping the body with the probable insulin resistance, the prescribed medications will have a greater effect.
With a balanced diet and adequate physical activation is enough to achieve the goal. At least a 5% decrease in body weight is required to begin to see results and improvements in the discomforts caused by polycystic ovary syndrome.
There are a wide range of medications that can help prevent polycystic ovaries.. Depending on the discomfort to be addressed, the doctor may recommend different types of birth control pills, progesterone therapy or anti-estrogen medications.
As an ovulation aid, the doctor may prescribe metformin or hormonal medications. To eliminate hair growth, birth control pills or medications that block the effects of androgens on the skin.
3. Other considerations
Sometimes this disorder causes complications in achieving pregnancy.In severe cases where it has never been treated, it can cause infertility. Depending on the level of the situation, a specific infertility protocol may be started.
Keep in mind that there is no single, universal treatment for polycystic ovaries. Only the physician can determine which protocol to follow and perform the appropriate follow-up.
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Azziz, R., Woods, K.S., Reyna, R., Key, T. J., Knochenhauer, E.S. and Yildiz, B.O. (2004). The Prevalence and Features of the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in an Unselected Population. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 89 (6): 2745-2749.
Legro, R.S. and Strauss, J.F. (2002). Molecular progress in infertility: polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertility and Sterility, 78 (3), 569-576.
McCartney, C.R. and Marshall, J.C.. (2016). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, N Engl J Med, 375 (1), 54-64.