Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Its Treatment

Ovaries

The principle function of ovaries is to produce eggs and sex hormones.

The ovaries are a pair of oval-shaped structures. They resemble grey almonds and are attached to both sides of the uterus and the pelvic wall. These organs are also quite small and don’t weigh very much.

Given their characteristics, you could say that the ovaries perform a similar function to that of testicles in the male. Here, we’ll discuss polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). We’ll also examine treatment methods for PCOS.

What Is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition that entails a disruption in the sex hormones. Amongst its detrimental effect, PCOS causes fertility problems, ovarian cysts and changes in menstruation. Additionally, there are other issues that can arise when PCOS is present. Also know as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome, it’s considered to be one of the most common illnesses among women of reproductive age. Although causes and symptoms are sometimes difficult to predict, genetic factors often play a major role.

Normal and polycystic ovaries

As mentioned above, PCOS causes changes in the production of certain hormones – chiefly, oestrogen and progesterone. Their function is to help the ovaries release eggs. What’s more, this syndrome affects androgen, a male hormone that is also found in women. Thus, presence of Stein-Leventhal Syndrome renders it extremely difficult for a woman’s ovaries to release developed or properly matured eggs. What this means is that the eggs don’t detach from the ovary and, in turn, small cysts then form in this part of the body.

In this case, a cyst is a type of bulge or bag that has its own tissue. Most of the time, these bulges or bags contain semisolid or fluid material – or even just air. It’s quite common for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome to appear in women between the ages of 20 to 30. Some adolescents, who are beginning to menstruate for the first time, also suffer from PCOS, but this is more rare. However, as mentioned earlier, women who have PCOS tend to be related to someone who has the condition or, at the very least, has suffered from the same or similar symptoms during their life.

Know the Symptoms

Two of the most common symptoms are oligomenorrhea and amenorrhoea. Amenorrhoea means that you miss periods. Oligomenorrhea leads to irregular menstrual cycles, and blood flow may be lighter or heavier than usual. Infertility problems can also result. These symptoms often occur due to a lack of ovulation or as a result of metabolic disorders, which cause obesity and changes in the production of insulin. Though seemingly insignificant, you should remember that PCOS can cause serious hormonal changes, most of which are due to androgen. These changes cause symptoms such as an increase in body or facial hair; a reduction in breast size; deepening of the voice; alopecia, hair loss or baldness; enlargement of the clitoris; excessive oil production that manifests itself as acne and an accumulation of fat in areas like the groin, neck, armpits and breasts.

How Can It Be Detected?

In order to determine the presence of PCOS, tests must be conducted along with an analysis of a patient’s medical history. These tests generally consist of a physical exam (especially of the pelvis) during which a doctor will try to detect inflammation in the ovaries or the clitoris. Your body mass index (BMI) will be calculated, as will the weight and size of your abdomen. Unsurprisingly, blood tests are also key in the detection of PCOS. Your oestrogen and testosterone levels will be checked, as well as your glucose, lipids, prolactin and thyroid levels, by blood test. Finally, your GP may suggest an ultrasound of the vagina or a laparoscopy of the pelvis. Don’t forget how vital it is to mention your personal medical history – particularly if you suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or high cholesterol.

Treatment

Polycystic ovaries

If the tests have detected Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, treatment should begin immediately. It is of paramount importance to reduce unnecessary bodyweight, primarily because excess weight can cause and exacerbate other diseases – diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, for example. Oral medication, such as contraceptive pills, are often prescribed to PCOS patients. The reason for this is because they regulate the production of androgen, meaning that menstrual cycles become more regular. The hormones in contraception pills also help to reduce the likelihood of physical changes, infertility and acne problems. Having said that, there are other solution to these problems. Your GP may prescribe diabetic medicine, hormones, clomiphene citrate, spironolactone or flutamide pills, or elfornithine cream. It all depends upon the specific outcomes of the tests you’ll have undergone.

Sometimes, surgery is required for the removal of cysts. These sorts of operations are usually only performed when the cysts have taken hold and it is impossible to remove them using medicine or another less invasive treatment. In reality, the cyst removal operation is simple and doesn’t normally cause serious side effects. Surgery is also a superb option for infertility.

Never underestimate the importance of nutrition. If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS, you should strive try to maintain a healthy diet – especially if you elect a surgical procedure to address your infertility. Bear in mind that it’s extremely dangerous to undergo a treatment like this if you’ve not had a proper diagnosis, as hormones tend to be very delicate and can only be administered and monitored by a qualified specialist.

To clarify: this illness is easy to treat if you seek the correct treatment. Many PCOS patients do fall pregnant, but they may risk having high blood pressure and diabetes during gestation. Furthermore, people who suffer from polycystic ovaries are at increased risk of suffering from endometrial or breast cancer. Their risk of sterility also rises. If you recognise any of the symptoms that we’ve mentioned, please consult your GP and press for a referral to a specialist who can determine whether or not you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Women of reproductive age are most susceptible and so should be more concerned about any signs.

As with most illnesses, PSOC can have a profound impact on the patient. Women can suffer from infertility or face obstacles when trying to get pregnant. As we all know, conception is very important for many couples all around the world. Therefore, it ‘s recommended to take note of any changes in your body so that – if warranted – you can start treatment quickly. If you suffer from this condition, try not to worry. Stay strong and dedicated to vibrant health. Great advances in current medicine mean that make PCOS doesn’t have to ruin your life.