So the first question on my mind was what is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome:
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), also known by the name Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is a hormonal problem that causes women to have a variety of symptoms.
What causes Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome:
No one is quite sure what causes PCOS. Although women with PCOS often have a mother or sister with the condition, there is not enough scientific evidence to prove that the condition may be inherited. The ovaries of women with PCOS frequently contain a number of small cysts, hence the name poly (many) cystic ovarian syndrome. A similar number of cysts may occur in women without PCOS. Therefore, the cysts themselves do not seem to be the cause of the problem. A malfunction of the body's blood sugar control system (insulin system) is frequent in women with PCOS, and researchers believe that these abnormalities may be related to the development of PCOS. It is known that the ovaries of women with PCOS produce excess amounts of male hormone known as androgen. This excessive production of male hormones may be a result of the abnormalities in insulin production.
What are the symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome:
The symptoms of PCOS include:
1. Irregular or no menstrual periods
3. Obesity, and
4. Excess hair growth
Other signs and symptoms of PCOS include:
* weight gain,
* oily skin,
* skin discolorations,
* high cholesterol levels,
* elevated blood pressure, and
* abnormal hair growth and distribution.
Any of the above symptoms and signs may be absent in PCOS, with the exception of irregular or no menstrual periods. All women with PCOS will have irregular or no menstrual periods. Women who have PCOS do not regularly ovulate; that is, they do not release an egg every month. This is why they do not have regular periods.
How can one be diagnosed of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome:
Well there are many ways to get diagnosed for PCOS but there is a way that you can check yourself through a simple question and answer test of which could help quantify your risk of having this dreaded ailment - simply click here for the test - Test for PCOS
One thing I found rather peculiar was how Insulin resistance and PCOS are related
INSULIN RESISTANCE IS A ROOT CAUSE OF PCOS
Are you one of the millions of women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome who, no matter what they've tried, has failed to better manage or reverse the symptoms of this condition? It may not be due to lack of willpower. Instead, you could be Insulin Resistant, a root cause of PCOS. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health, Stanford University and other research centers have clearly identified the existence and effects of Insulin Resistance, a biochemical condition that can cause excessive weight gain and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
If you are among the 65% of the overweight population with Insulin Resistance, your ability to better manage or reverse your PCOS and lose weight may not have been within your control - until now.This breakthrough in understanding the body's biochemistry remains relatively unknown, even though Insulin Resistance has reached epidemic proportions. Your doctor may not have explained the crucial link between Insulin Resistance, weight gain and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Although there's no cure for PCOS, there are several ways that the condition can be treated and managed.
If a girl is overweight or obese, a doctor will recommend that she lose weight. Weight loss can be very effective in lessening many of the health conditions associated with PCOS, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Sometimes weight loss alone can restore hormone levels to normal, causing many of the symptoms to disappear or become less severe. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can look at your food intake and your exercise and activity to tailor a weight-loss program for you. Exercise is a great way to help combat the weight gain that often accompanies PCOS as well as a way to reduce bloating, another symptom girls with PCOS sometimes experience.
Sometimes doctors prescribe medications to treat PCOS. A doctor might first have a girl try birth control pills or another hormone pill called progesterone to help reduce the androgen levels in her body and regulate her menstrual cycle. These medicines may help control acne and excessive hair growth in some girls, but they don't work for everyone.
Other medications used to treat PCOS include antiandrogens, which counter the effects of excess androgens on a girl's body. Antiandrogens can help clear up skin and hair growth problems in girls with PCOS. Another medication, metformin, which is used to treat diabetes, can lower insulin levels. In some girls with PCOS, it can help control ovulation and androgen levels. This can make a girl's menstrual cycles more regular. Some girls and women treated with metformin have also experienced weight loss and lowering of high blood pressure.
Coping With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:
Having PCOS can be hard on a girl's self-esteem because some of the symptoms, such as skin and hair problems and weight gain, are so noticeable. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce the physical symptoms — and take care of the emotional side of living with PCOS.
Although the medications used to treat PCOS will slow down or stop excessive hair growth for many girls, there are lots of different types of products available to help a girl get rid of hair where she doesn't want it. Depilatory creams can gently remove facial hair on the upper lip or chin. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully so you don't develop a rash or allergic reaction.
Tweezing and waxing are other things you can do at home to manage hair growth. A girl can also visit a dermatologist (a doctor who specializes in skin problems) or qualified hair removal specialist for electrolysis and laser surgery treatments. These procedures offer longer term removal of unwanted hair, but they are more expensive.
If you have severe acne as a symptom of PCOS, it may improve if part of your treatment includes birth control pills or antiandrogens. If it doesn't, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist for further acne treatment. A dermatologist may also be able to recommend medications to help reduce skin darkening or discoloration, and to prevent hair growth.
Some girls with PCOS may become depressed, in which case it may help to talk to a therapist or other mental health professional. Talking with other teens and women with PCOS is a great way to share information about treatment and get support. Your doctor may be able to recommend a local support group.
If you can't find a local group, the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association offers a "Big Cyster" program for teen girls as well as online message boards. If you join, you'll be hooked up with other women or teen girls with PCOS to whom you can turn for advice, support, or just a listening ear.
Here are some more references that could further help you out in understanding this rather amazingly common ailment:
Hope you found this article informative - If you think you have someone in the family with the symptoms mentioned above, have them try the self help questionnaire to verify the need for a check up. Also, please ensure that you always consult your physician for more information. Till the next time. xoxo