As per the research, 5 to 10% of the women of childbearing age suffer from PCOS. Women recognize this problem usually in their 20s or 3Os when they face difficulty in having children. Genetic predisposition and obesity contribute towards PCOD/PCOS.
What are the causes of PCOS?
The exact cause of PCOS is not known and remains a controversial topic among the scientists. However, genetic predisposition coupled with certain environmental factors may contribute towards PCOS.
- High production of Androgens. Androgens are also known as “male hormones. A small amount of androgens are produced by women. Androgens are responsible for certain male characteristics such as male-pattern baldness. Women suffering from PCOS produce high levels of androgen and it has been found that high level of androgens levels in women can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation) during each menstrual cycle, and can cause extra hair growth and acne.
- Insulin resistance and high insulin levels. Insulin regulates the food and converts energy. Insulin resistance is a condition when body’s cells do not respond normally to insulin. This results in increased levels of insulin. It has been found that many women have insulin resistance particularly who are overweight or obese, have unhealthy eating habits, do not get enough physical activity, and have a family history of diabetes. PCOD women particularly develop diabetes over the period of time.
Signs and Symptoms of PCOS
- Disturbed and irregularity in the menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS may have less periods or they often miss the monthly periods, their periods may come every 21 days or more often. Some women with PCOS stop having menstrual periods.
- Hairy body can be found on the face, chin, or in the sites where men usually have hair. This is known as “hirsutism.” Hirsutism affects 70% women with PCOS.
- Acne can be found on the face, chest, and upper back
- Thin hair such women have less hair on the scalp
- Obesity such women suffer from obesity or weight gain problems.
- Skin darkening in areas such as neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts
- Skin Flaps which are small excess mass of skin in the armpits or neck area.
How PCOS can affect pregnancy and what are the ways to prevent it?
PCOS can cause problems to both the mother and the child. Below are some of the challenges suffered by women affected with PCOS.
- Diabetes during pregnancy
- High blood pressure during pregnancy
- Cesarean section (C-section)
Your baby also has a higher risk of being heavy (macrosomia) and of spending more time in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
Steps to reduce such problems in pregnancy:
- Controlling weight is one the key method in preventing these above stated problems
- Try to control your blood sugar levels
- Take folic acid and consult the doctor how to take it.
How can PCOS be treated?
There is no cure for PCOS, however the symptoms can be managed. However, it is important to regulate and monitor conditions such as as diabetes and heart disease in such women. It is important to consult a doctor as soon as one is diagnosed with PCOD.