Women with PCOS do not ovulate regularly, which complicates conception – making it next to impossible to do so without medical intervention
‘Irregular periods’ is a term casually looked at. Perhaps, we need to zoom in a little. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (also known as Polycystic Ovarian Disease/ PCOD) at young age could also be of concern in later life.
What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance in women that occurs during their childbearing years of 15 to 44. Women with PCOS produce more male hormones than necessary and this throws their system off balance, delaying periods and making it difficult for them to conceive. PCOS can also lead to diabetes and weight gain.
A Close look at Hormonal Activity in Women
The two main female hormones are Progesterone and Oestrogen which are produced in the ovaries, along with a small amount of the male hormone Androgen. During ovulation, the ovaries release a mature egg into the fallopian tube. Should this egg go unfertilized, then the thick inner lining of the uterus is shed in the form of menstrual periods. However, in the case of a woman with PCOS, the hormonal imbalance results in the arrest of egg growth and thereby prevents ovulation. These result in follicles with immature eggs, seen as many small, fluid-filled sacs inside the ovaries (often referred as polycystic). Excess male hormones in PCOS prevents ovulation and thereby disrupt the menstrual cycle leading to delay/ lack of periods
Symptoms of PCOS
Causes for PCOS
Health Hazards caused by PCOS
PCOS: Tests & Treatment
A Pelvic Ultrasound will reveal the presence of cyst like structures in the ovaries, which will point to PCOS. A blood test will give the doctor a concrete idea on your hormonal levels – specifically Androgen levels.
Treatment options include taking birth control pills to regularise your periods and ensure that your uterine lining is shed regularly. However, if you are trying to conceive, your doctor might prescribe a pill to trigger your ovaries into producing a fertilisable egg, helping you keep track of your ovulation days.
Anti-androgen pills will reduce hair growth on the face and body and reduce balding.
Another pill that might be prescribed is Metformin which is ideally used to treat Type 2 Diabetes. Given that insulin levels are higher for women with PCOS, Metformin serves to lower it, which in turn lowers androgen levels.
Losing weight is also a good way to lower blood glucose levels, improve the way the body uses insulin, and helps hormones reach normal levels.
Of course, all these medications should be taken only under medical supervision as prescribed by a qualified Doctor.
Though there is no permanent solution currently for PCOS, please consult your gynaecologist to find out how best you could manage the condition. Dr. KMH’s centre for reproductive medicine comprises the best gynaecologists and fertility specialists who will help you through PCOS and assist you in planning your conception.
Every problem has a solution, and here we are to offer you one!