PCOS: Causes, Symptoms, Infertility, Treatment
Almost around 4-21 percent of women in their reproductive age suffer from PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Though it can happen to any woman after puberty, PCOS is common in women who are in their 20’s or 30’s.
Apart from irregular menstrual cycles, PCOS can also lead to hormonal imbalances, problems in metabolism, and many cases, even infertility.
What Is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is an endocrine dysfunction or disorder in women between the age of 15 to 45 years. It is a result of hormonal imbalances in the body having a direct impact on the ovaries. Ovaries are responsible for releasing mature eggs for fertilization every month. With PCOS, the eggs may not develop fully or may not be released at all during ovulation. When you have PCOS, your ovaries are larger than normal. They have multiple follicles which will not grow into a mature egg and arrest is seen around 8-12 mm.
Types Of PCOS
Based on the underlying cause, PCOS may be of four types:
- Non-ovulatory (Mild)
Abdominal obesity, increased androgens, representing almost 60% of PCOS.
- Non-ovulatory (Moderate)
Very similar to classic PCOS (Type 1) but they are less common (only 8.4%)
Has most characteristics of PCOS but in a milder form.
- Non-hyper Androgenic PCOS
Mildest degree of endocrine and metabolic dysfunction. These women have normal BMI and normal waist circumference.
Women with regular cycles alternating with irregular cycles were highest in this category.
What Are The Symptoms Of PCOS?
The significant symptoms of PCOS include:
- Absent or irregular periods
- Acne breakouts
- Excessive hair growth all over the body
- Male-like baldness on the scalp or thinness of hair
- Skin darkening
- Difficulty in getting pregnant
- Excessive weight gain and difficulty in losing weight
- Insulin resistance in the body, leading to diabetes
What Causes Of PCOS?
PCOS is a result of hormonal imbalances in the body. It primarily stems from:
- Excessive Production of Androgens: Androgens are the male hormones in a body. In females, androgens typically convert to become estrogen. However, for women with PCOS, the concentration of androgens is more than normal, disallowing the ovaries from properly developing the eggs and in some cases, prohibiting them from releasing the mature eggs.
- Insulin Resistance: Insulin in your body is responsible for converting the food you eat into energy. Insulin resistance is a disorder where the body stops responding normally to insulin. All the unused insulin leads to their increased concentration in the blood. Because of this, some women develop PCOS and are at an increased risk of getting diabetes in the future.
Women with a family history of PCOS are at a higher chance of getting it themselves.
Diagnosis Of PCOS
If you observe most of the evident symptoms of PCOS, your doctor will conduct a set of confirmatory tests before commencing with the line of treatment.
1. Pelvic Examination
Examining your pelvic area allows the doctor to check for any abnormal growth or swelling of your clitoris.
2. Physical Examination
The doctor will check your weight, height, body mass index, acne, skin color, hair, etc. to see if any of these factors resemble the symptoms of PCOS.
3. Ultrasound Of Pelvic Region
An ultrasound or sonogram of your uterus, ovaries, and tubes can help identify the presence of polycystic ovaries.
4. Blood Test
The blood reports like LH and FSH ratio, testosterone, thyroid, and sugar levels will give your fertility specialist more information. diabetes, FSH levels, LH levels, etc.
Complications With PCOS
There are several health risks and complications associated with PCOS:
- Eating disorders
- Type II diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal bleeding in the uterus
- High cholesterol levels
PCOS And Infertility
Ovulation is the most vital function of the ovaries in the reproduction process. Ovulation is the process in which the ovaries release mature eggs for fertilization.
PCOS hampers ovulation. It prohibits proper development of the eggs inside the follicle and may not allow the ovaries from releasing the eggs at all. If there are no mature eggs released, the sperm cannot fertilize them.
Therefore, women with PCOS usually find it difficult to conceive.
What Are The Treatment Options For PCOS?
Having PCOS is very common among women of reproductive age. However, women with PCOS still have high chances of getting pregnant. Some of the recommended treatment options include:
1. Weight Loss
Losing weight can help regulate the insulin levels in your body and boost your metabolism. Regular physical activity and a good nutrition plan can help regulate your menstrual cycles and improve your fertility.
Oral medication or injections for follicle development and ovulation. Medication can help regulate the abnormalities in hormone production that were otherwise hampering ovulation and reproduction.
3. In Vitro Fertilization
One of the more promising methods for women with PCOS to get pregnant, In Vitro Fertilization or IVF, involves fertilization of the sperm and the egg inside a laboratory. The fertility specialist retrieves a mature egg directly from your ovaries and after fertilization in the lab, places the embryo inside your uterus for implantation.
4. Lifestyle Modifications
It is important to maintain a healthy well-balanced diet. Women with PCOS are known to benefit from a high protein and low carbohydrate diet.
5. Laparoscopic Ovarian Surgery
Laparoscopic Ovarian drilling also sometimes helps in PCOS patients, some women have known to ovulate naturally after the surgery.
PCOS can be a challenging disorder among women, given the range of complications it can bring along with it. Therefore, it is important to identify it earlier on and seek appropriate treatment for it at a good fertility center.
Archish IVF offers treatment for fertility treatments like PCOS and other related causes. The team of doctors and fertility specialists will treat you with utmost care and comfort and hold your hand through your journey towards parenthood.