Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovarian (PCOS) disease is one of the major causes of infertility.
A female reproductive system is a complex system involving many organs both internal and external. Each organ plays a specific role in reproduction. Of these organs, the ovaries play an important role. A woman’s reproductive system consists of two ovaries that stem from the uterus. The main function of the ovaries is hormone secretion, producing an ovum, and releasing the egg every month for further fertilization. Any abnormality of the ovaries can cause infertility. One such condition of the ovaries leading to infertility is polycystic ovary syndrome.
Polycystic ovaries refer to a condition where the ovaries produce abnormal levels of androgens (male sex hormones). Androgens are usually present in very minimal numbers in females.
During the process of ovulation, usually, if the egg does not get fertilized, it ruptures and is removed from the body with the menstrual cycle. In some cases where does not occur, ovaries tend to develop many tiny fluid-filled sacs called cysts. These cysts are responsible for the production of androgens. This affects the menstrual cycle of a female thereby affecting the fertility rate.
Causes of PCOS
The exact cause of PCOS remains unclear; however, it has been observed due to many conditions such as insulin resistance, obesity, family history, etc.
Symptoms of PCOS
The most common symptoms of PCOS include :
• Irregular menstrual cycle – If you are suffering from PCOS, it is very likely that you could have prolonged, irregular, or infrequent menstrual cycles.
• Hirsutism – Excess body hair on the face, chest, back, and stomach. As a result of an increased amount of androgen, excessive hair growth is noted in body parts where hair is unlikely to grow.
• Abnormal weight gain – If you have unintentional weight gain, it could be a sign of PCOS.
• Male-pattern baldness – Women suffering from PCOS could also have baldness similar to that of a male.
• Infertility – If you have failed at prolonged efforts to conceive naturally, it could be an indicator of PCOS.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you would need to consult a specialist who can carry out a further diagnostic procedure to conclude a confirmatory diagnosis. The specialist could begin with a general physical exam and then certain diagnostics to examine your pelvic organs.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the doctor might also suggest an ultrasound to look at the tissues, blood vessels, and internal organs. This also helps to know the size of the ovaries and the thickness of the endometrium.
A blood test could also be recommended to check for androgen levels, blood glucose levels as well as triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Treatment For Pcos
Various treatments for PCOS are available these days depending on the cause: Some of these treatment regimens include:
• Medications – To help regulate the hormone levels, your doctor could prescribe a combination of birth control pills. These help to lower the production of androgen and regulate estrogen. You might also be suggested certain medications to help with ovulation. In addition to this, your doctor might also recommend certain medications for hirsutism that reduce hair growth.
• Natural therapies and lifestyle modifications – Certain natural therapies and lifestyle modifications have been helpful in managing PCOS. Some of these include:
• Regular exercise.
• Healthy diet.
• Yoga or medication to manage stress
Apart from all these, some minor procedures might also be suggested depending on the underlying issue.
However, if you are troubled by irregular menstrual cycles or have any of the above symptoms, it is wise to consult a specialist who will be able to evaluate and identify the issue and subsequently guide you through the treatment process. Especially, if you are planning on conceiving and PCCOS is causing infertility, it is better to consult a fertility specialist at the earliest. Let PCOS not stop you from the joy of having your baby.