What is PCOS?
PCOS means polycystic ovary syndrome. It is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels.
Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones. This hormone imbalance causes them to skip menstrual periods and makes it harder for them to get pregnant.
PCOS also causes hair growth on the face and body and baldness. And it can contribute to long-term health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
- High levels of androgens circulating in your body, causing ‘hyperandrogenism’. Androgens are also called ‘male’ hormones. High levels of androgens can prevent ovulation and affect the menstrual cycle.
- Insulin resistance
- Irregular periods
- Excessive hair growth on the face, back, chest & belly
- Mood swings
- Sleep apnea
- Hair loss
- Fertility disorder
- Weight gain
Some of the causes of PCOS are:
- Family history/Genes
- Insulin Resistance
- Daily lifestyle habits
How does PCOS affect your body and pregnancy?
- Infertility: In order to get pregnant, a woman needs to ovulate and for doing that a woman needs to produce that many eggs to be fertilized. Due to the irregular periods, one is not able to ovulate which then leads to infertility. PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women.
- Metabolic syndrome: Up to 80 percent of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. Both obesity and PCOS increase your risk for high blood sugar, high blood pressure, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
Is PCOS life-threatening?
While PCOS itself is not life-threatening, those who have it are at higher risk for other more serious complications such as Type II diabetes, cardiovascular problems, endometrial cancer, liver inflammation, and a few others. PCOS has an impact on a woman’s health. Although, one in every 10 women has polycystic ovary syndrome but yet half of the population is unaware.
Most of the women who have PCOS are most likely on the heavier side or obese, while some are also subject to the unwanted increase in their weight. In order to keep a check on that weight, or to lose weight, one must attempt to follow a diet program, exercise and make some changes in their daily lifestyle habits.
PCOS and Pregnancy
Women with PCOS have lower chances of delivering a healthy baby or getting pregnant in comparison to women without PCOS. About 70-80% of the women with PCOS have fertility problems which lead to irregular periods and disrupt the menstrual cycle.
This condition can also increase the risk of pregnancy complications. Women with this condition also have the risk of a miscarriage, premature baby, high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.
However, women with PCOS can get pregnant using fertility treatments that improve ovulation. Losing weight and lowering blood sugar levels can improve your odds of having a healthy pregnancy.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Treatments?
There is no such cure yet to completely eliminate PCOS but one can decrease PCOS symptoms and feel better. A doctor may offer different medicines that can treat symptoms such as irregular periods, acne, excess hair, and elevated blood sugar. Fertility treatments are available to help women get pregnant. Losing as little as 5% excess weight can help women ovulate more regularly and lessen other PCOS symptoms. The ideal way to do this is through nutrition and exercise.
There may come a time where you will be discouraged and tired of putting in efforts to lose weight but one must not lose hope and keep oneself motivated. In doing so, it reduces the risk of developing some life-threatening complications that can impact women with PCOS sooner than women without PCOS. One can also take birth control pills, metformin and other medicines in order to regulate the menstrual cycles and treat PCOS symptoms like hair growth, high blood pressure, and acne.
In conclusion, PCOS is not a life-threatening condition but one that can lead to life-threatening complications. In order to avoid those, one must take the necessary precautions and live a better, happy and healthy life.