Health A-Z

What is PCOS?


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PCOS is a worldwide reproductive condition that covers many associated health disorders and affects various metabolic processes. It is a disorder that affects 6 to 12% of the female population and according to some doctors, more women in the UAE might be affected because of its connection to diabetes and obesity. Most women in the UAE consider PCOS a taboo subject that is why there is little awareness. However, early detection and treatment go a long way to helping you fight the condition.

So What Exactly is PCOS?

PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal condition that affects women in their childbearing years. It occurs when your ovaries produce a higher amount of androgens (male sex hormones) that are usually low in women.

The polycystic ovarian syndrome gets its name from numerous tiny cysts that develop in the ovaries. However, not all women with PCOS have cysts while some women without the condition have cysts.

In some cases, you might not have enough hormones to ovulate. Small cysts can grow in the ovaries when ovulation does not occur. These cysts produce androgens that is why women with this condition have an abundance of this hormone. This can cause problems for your menstrual cycle and can cause many PCOS symptoms.

What You Need to Know About PCOS


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PCOS causes an imbalance in your hormones but treatment can help you to deal with the disorder. Here are important details you need to know about polycystic ovarian syndrome;

Causes

Doctors don’t know all the reasons why you might develop PCOS, however, the condition has been linked to insulin resistance. It means that your body cannot use insulin effectively. Insulin levels increase and can cause higher androgen levels. PCOS is also associated with obesity because it increases insulin levels. You can get PCOS if your mother or sister has the condition.

Symptoms

You can look out for various symptoms that might indicate that you have PCOS. These include;

·       Irregular Periods

Estrogen and progesterone are the hormones that regulate your periods and they are produced in the ovaries. These hormones prepare the uterus for a possible pregnancy and when fertilization does not occur, you experience your menstrual cycle. Irregular periods are the most common symptoms of the polycystic ovarian syndrome. You might experience fewer than 8 menstrual cycles in a year, prolonged menstrual intervals (more than 35 days), prolonged periods that are heavy or scanty, or a lack of periods for 4 months or longer.

If you have any of these symptoms, you should consult the best endocrinologist Dubai center to determine if your hormones have a problem. It is important to know that some women with polycystic ovarian syndrome have regular periods but the high level of androgens and excess insulin can disrupt the normal menstrual cycle and ovulation. Symptoms manifest in different ways in different women, for instance, you might experience regular periods every 28 days, have no periods or have periods every 30 to 40 days.

·       Acne

Most people experience acne in their teens because of hormonal changes. However, this condition can continue into adulthood which is a common PCOS sign. PCOS is caused by the presence of excess androgen that causes progressive acne. High blood sugar also contributes to acne in women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Acne develops on the lower half of your face, for instance, jawline, chin, cheeks, and upper neck. Acne caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome can also appear on the upper chest and back. PCOS acne differs from ordinary acne because of the distribution and frequency of acne appear on the lower part of your face and there are higher chances of developing cystic acne. Regular acne can occur anywhere. You might experience breakouts with pus, blocked pores that cause pimples, oilier skin, redness around the problematic area, and pain.

·       Excess Body Hair

Excess body hair or hirsutism is a sign of PCOS that disturbs patients. You might notice thick, dark, masculine, hair growth all over your body. The hair might grow on your chin, around the mouth, along the jawline, torso, legs, and arms. However, you don’t have to worry if you have a few hairs out of place. The only concern is when you’re growing significant hair where it shouldn’t.

·       Hair Loss

PCOS hair loss is also known as female pattern hair loss or androgenic alopecia. Humans lose 50 to 100 strands of hair daily but if you lose more hair, it might be caused by PCOS or other underlying health conditions. Signs of hair loss due to polycystic ovarian syndrome include;

·       Receding hairline

·       Increased shedding

·       Hair falling in clumps

·       Breakage

·       Dry and itchy scalp

·       Hair thinning on the crown

·       Your hair gets finer and the scalp is more visible.

PCOS causes hair loss because of increased androgens particularly DHT. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) attaches to receptors that shrink and block your hair follicles. Progesterone (female hormone) helps to prevent hair loss. Since PCOS causes irregular periods and no ovulation, you will not reap the benefits of progesterone.

·       Weight Gain

If you have the polycystic ovarian syndrome, you might notice weight gain, especially in the upper body like the shoulders, arms, and neck. Weight gain might be caused by insulin resistance. Although you might have normal insulin and blood glucose levels you can also be insulin resistant.

High insulin transforms into a fat-storage hormone that leads to weight gain. Weight gain in PCOS is also caused by inflammation. This inflammation begins in your gut and causes more insulin resistance which leads to more androgen production and belly fat. Estrogen dominance also causes PCOS because it is converted into progesterone which can cause weight gain.

·       Inability to Get Pregnant

Ovulation plays a significant role in pregnancy. If you have PCOS, you might not ovulate or you might do it irregularly a condition known as anovulation which makes it difficult to get pregnant. The good news is that PCOS infertility can be treated.

 

PCOS affects women of childbearing age and it can be uncomfortable and lead to health issues like infertility. It is crucial to visit a health professional if you have PCOS symptoms to determine if you have the condition.

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