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PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)

About PCOS :

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common health problem caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones creating problems in the ovaries. The ovaries make the egg that is released each month as part of a healthy menstrual cycle. With PCOS, the egg may not develop as it should or it may not be released during ovulation as it should be.

PCOS can cause missed or irregular menstrual periods. Irregular periods can lead to:

  • Infertility (inability to get pregnant). In fact, PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility.

  • Development of cysts (small fluid-filled sacs) in the ovaries.

Causes :

The exact cause of PCOS is not known. Several factors, including genetics, play a role:

  • High levels of androgens / "male hormones". Higher than normal androgen levels in women can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation) during each menstrual cycle, and can cause extra hair growth and acne, two signs of PCOS.

  • High levels of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls how the food you eat is changed into energy. Insulin resistance is when the body's cells do not respond normally to insulin. As a result, your insulin blood levels become higher than normal. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, especially those who are overweight or obese, have unhealthy eating habits, do not get enough physical activity, and have a family history of diabetes (usually type 2 diabetes). 

Presentation :

  • Irregular Periods: 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. 

  • Hirsutism: Too much hair on the face, chin, or parts of the body where men usually have hair. 

  • Acne on the face, chest, and upper back

  • Male Pattern Baldness: Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp.

  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight

  • Darkening of skin, particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts

  • Skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area


Can I still get pregnant if I have PCOS?

Yes. Having PCOS does not mean you can't get pregnant. PCOS is one of the most common, but treatable, causes of infertility in women.

PCOS: Tips for Managing

You can reduce your PCOS symptoms by following these tips :

  • Loose weight. Losing weight may help to lower your blood glucose levels, improve the way your body uses insulin, and help your hormones reach normal levels. Even a 10% loss in body weight can help make your menstrual cycle more regular and improve your chances of getting pregnant.

  • Remove excess hair. 

  • Slow your hair growth. A prescription skin treatment can help slow down the growth rate of new hair in unwanted places.

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