About Polycystic ovary syndrome
It is a common complex hormonal disorder, affecting up to ten percent of women (reproductive age) worldwide. While there is no cure for PCOS, the symptoms are treatable with varying degrees of success. The three treatable features of polycystic ovarian disease include the clinical symptoms, hormonal abnormalities and metabolic problems. But, if PCOS is left untreated it can lead to various life-threatening conditions including hypertension, kidney problems, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and heart disease. Endometrial cancer can occur due to an ovulatory menstrual cycles.Polycystic ovary syndrome is a leading cause of infertility in women. Although not all women with PCOS have all these features,
Common signs and symptoms include
• Irregular menstrual cycles
• Excess hair growth on the face and body
• Infertility (due primarily to lack of ovulation)
• Excess weight (especially at the waist)
• Sleep Apnoea
Polycystic ovary syndrome is not a well understood condition but the theory behind the cause is that it is an imbalance of hormones that produces cysts on the ovary’s. The cysts are fluid filled sacs that disrupt the production of hormones even further.
Normally, a woman’s ovaries and adrenals produce small amounts of male hormones (androgens), but women with polycystic ovary syndrome have increased androgen levels. Higher levels of androgens lead to an imbalance in the hormones that regulate ovulation and normal egg development. Obesity, which is common in women with PCOS, contributes to infertility. Thus, weight loss, if needed, and treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome with medications can restore ovulation. It is believed that polycystic ovary syndrome is hereditary. Daughters and sisters of those with Polycystic ovary syndrome have 50% more chance of developing the condition.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is diagnosed by an ultrasound of the ovaries, blood tests for hormones, menstrual difficulties and the symptoms mentioned above. As you can see from this ultrasound, there are multiple cysts.
Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome may complain of abnormal bleeding, extreme weight gain, depression, tiredness, hair loss, thyroid problems, headaches, sleeping disorders, high cholesterol, poor memory, panic attacks, constant thirst, dizzy spells, insulin resistance, extreme cravings, cystic ovaries, cystic acne, an ovulatory menstrual cycles (cycles without ovulation), irregular periods, mood swings, high levels of testosterone, infertility, extreme hair growth on face and body.
Ovarian causes of infertility can be divided in to primary and secondary. Primary conditions are often diagnosed in the early adolescent years when patients fail to menstruate. This may be due to nonfunctional ovaries as in Turners syndrome, or the absence of internal reproductive structures altogether (gonadal dysgenisis). These cases are rare, but need to be evaluated with chromosome analysis. Secondary causes can be due to hormonal abnormalities such as thyroid dysfunction, advanced maternal age i.e. over 35 and disease of the ovaries such as ovarian cancer and polycystic ovarian disease. In such cases a full endocrine work up needs to be done, to check hormone levels within the blood. If ovarian disease is suspected a pelvic ultrasound will be needed in addition to more specific and more invasive procedures to establish a specific ovarian cause.