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What is PCOS?

PCOS is one of the most discussed health concerns among women trying to get pregnant. Many women do not even know they have PCOS, while some have complications that reveal they have PCOS. But what is PCOS, and how does it affect your health? Let’s learn about PCOS meaning and related health concerns.

The PCOS full form is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a hormonal condition during reproductive years. It causes irregular menstrual periods, abnormal body hair growth, infertility, and acne. It also sometimes causes health conditions like - diabetes and high blood pressure. 

A hormonal imbalance occurs when the ovaries create excess hormones called androgens or the male hormones, where you start growing hairs on the body. It also causes instability in reproductive hormones. Due to this, women often experience irregular periods, missed periods, and unpredictable ovulation. You might also experience small follicle cysts (sacs with immature eggs filled with fluid) in your ovaries due to a lack of ovulation. 

It is one of the most common causes of infertility among women. In addition, it also increases the chances of other health conditions. 

What are the Health Conditions in women suffering from PCOS?

The following are the health conditions in women suffering from PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) -

  • PCOS in women usually develops type 2 diabetes by age 40.
  • Women usually develop gestational diabetes, which puts the women and the baby at risk of type 2 diabetes later for the mother and the baby.
  • Women with PCOS have a higher risk of heart disease at an older age because of higher cholesterol levels.
  • Women also suffer from sleep apnea which causes breathing difficulty during sleep and raises the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • PCOS in women also increases the chances of stroke due to plaque in the blood vessels.

According to research, the PCOS problem is also related to depression and anxiety. However, the connection is not yet understood. 

Is PCOS common among Women?

PCOS in women is a very common hormonal imbalance. Women have issues with menstruation, ovulation, and small cysts that might occur in the ovaries. It might also cause weight gain, excessive hair growth, etc. However, the size of the cyst in the ovaries might vary from person to person. This means women with PCOS might or might not have cysts in their ovaries. Approximately 15% of women suffer from PCOS during their reproductive age. 

When does PCOS start?

PCOS usually starts at the age of 20 to 30. Also, it might sometimes develop at the age of 12 or 13, i,e., during the early menstrual age. However, women with obesity are usually at risk of developing PCOS. Though it is not curable, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to live with PCOS. 

You can always consult a dermatologist about your abnormal hair growth in the body and acne. Also, you can exercise and maintain a diet that will help you maintain weight, regulating your menstrual cycle. 

Can PCOS cause a Miscarriage?

Though women with PCOS are seen to carry on pregnancy easily, it can often increase the chance of complications in conceiving, pregnancy, and childbirth. PCOS problem reduces the chances of getting pregnant due to increased androgen levels as it deters the maturation and release of eggs. Also, it can negatively impact your baby. 

However, with all the adverse effects, hope is not lost yet. You can have a baby with all the modern medical advancements available. For this, you need to have a full body check-up which will help you understand your body condition. Many women do not have symptoms, so before planning to conceive or if anyone in your family has a history of PCOS, consult the doctor to rule out any chances of PCOS. The doctors will prescribe you medicines and further treatments depending on your condition. However, women with a healthy lifestyle are seen conceiving and having healthy babies. 

PCOS Treatment

PCOS is not completely treatable and does not go away. It is very important to keep a close eye on the symptoms and complications so that the baby is born healthy and you do not have any problems during childbirth. To treat PCOS, the doctors will require to perform some physical examinations such as – 

  • Pelvic exam to check cases of bleeding.
  • Checking the PCOS symptoms and medical history.
  • Check your body weight and blood pressure.
  • Perform an ultrasound to check for any thickness in the uterine lining. 
  • Blood tests to check glucose and male hormone level.

Once the tests are done, the PCOS treatments will be based on the symptoms. For starters, the doctor might recommend a change in lifestyle, like - quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet to maintain weight, etc. A change in lifestyle affects the insulin level, which keeps PCOS in check. The concerned doctor might also prescribe some medications to block androgen and birth control pills to regulate your period.

However, it is important to note that there is no complete cure for PCOS. The effects of PCOS might change for some time, but they will never go away. Also, sometimes the hormonal changes during menopause might resolve the symptoms of PCOS.

Get in touch with the experienced fertility specialist at Indira IVF to discuss and receive the right course of treatment for PCOS.

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