Home > Blogs > Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: What is It & PCOS Symptoms?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: What is It & PCOS Symptoms?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that may occur throughout a woman's reproductive years. It's possible that PCOS sufferers won't get their periods very regularly. The duration of your periods might also be rather lengthy. You may potentially have an excess of the hormone androgen.

Since it is a common health problem in most women worldwide, everyone must have fundamental knowledge. So, in this article, you will learn the PCOS symptoms, causes, risk factors, and treatment processes. Read below to learn about PCOS and avail doctor's advice immediately.

PCOS Symptoms

Most women with PCOS will have the following symptoms:

  • Irregular periods: Having irregular menstrual cycles or not menstruating at all is considered abnormal. It may also manifest as abnormally excessive menstrual bleeding.
  • Unusual hair growth: You may have excessive hair growth, especially in your face, arms, chest, and belly (hirsutism). Around two-thirds of PCOS sufferers experience this.
  • Acne: Acnes are common PCOS symptoms, particularly on the face, chest, and back. This acne may be difficult to cure and may persist far into adulthood.
  • Obesity: Obesity and the inability to maintain a healthy weight affects between 40 and 80 percent of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Skin darkening: The creases of your neck, armpits, groyne, and chest are particularly prone to developing dark spots. Acanthosis nigricans is the name for this condition.
  • Cysts: The ultrasound of many women with polycystic ovary syndrome shows enlarged ovaries with many follicles (egg sac cysts).
  • Skin tags: Skin tags are tiny flaps of excess skin. You could see them on your neck or under your arms.
  • Hair thinning: Balding or hair loss on the scalp are common PCOS symptoms.
  • Infertility: Regarding AFAB, PCOS is the most prevalent cause of infertility. Infertility may occur if ovulation does not often occur enough.
  • The excessive male hormone also leads to acne, especially along the jawlines.
  • Insulin resistance and a rise in insulin level in blood level are one of the primary symptoms in most PCOS women.
  • Having an abnormal blood lipid is also common in PCOS women.
  • Women suffering from PCOS are more predisposed to developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Although not scientifically established, PCOS women are at risk of developing coronary heart disease because of elevated levels of C-reactive protein, elevated cholesterol, and LDL level.

Causes of PCOS

The causes of PCOS are not exactly known yet. That's because female reproductive functions are often related to other underlying health conditions. Therefore, pinpointing a single cause is difficult. So, most doctors consider a broad list of factors that can lead to cyst formation in the ovary. These are:

  • Obesity: One of the prime reasons for developing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is obesity. When a woman gains weight more than the recommended limit as per the BMI ratio, she is at a higher risk of developing cystic ovaries.
  • Genetics: Several studies have also shown that polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) runs in the family. In other words, a person can acquire PCOS if any other woman in the family has it.
  • Insulin resistance: Although it is unclear how insulin is related to PCOS symptoms development, studies show that higher resistance to this hormone can lead to cyst formation.
  • Inflammation: If there is any internal inflammation in the body and white blood cells have increased in concentration, the chances of developing polycystic ovary syndrome are quite high.

Since the causes are determined based on assumptions and family history, doctors rely on diagnostic tests and report to identify the causes of PCOS and its symptoms.

What are the risks of PCOS?

The following are several risk factors associated with PCOS:

  • Permanent sterility
  • Menopause at an early age
  • Inflammation in the lower abdomen
  • Ovarian cancer

Having a mother or sister with PCOS may increase your risk of developing the condition. However, having insulin resistance or being overweight might also increase your risk.

PCOS Diagnoses

After a checkup and conversing with you about your PCOS symptoms, they might conduct blood tests or use ultrasound for diagnosis. Your doctor will:

  • Discuss your current condition and any relevant past medical history.
  • Inquire about the well-being of your biological relatives.
  • Determine your blood pressure and body mass index.
  • Check your body for signs of cancer, infection, and other health problems by doing a thorough physical examination.
  • Examine your pelvis for any underlying issues causing the irregular bleeding.
  • Request hormone and glucose screenings of the blood.
  • Do a pelvic ultrasound to examine your ovaries, measure the thickness of your uterine lining, and search for further reasons for irregular bleeding.

PCOS Treatment

The following are some PCOS treatments:

  • Hormonal birth control: Pills, injections, the vaginal ring, and intrauterine devices are all viable methods of contraception. Hormonal contraception controls your period and, in certain cases, your acne and hair development.
  • Insulin-sensitizing medicine: The diabetic medication metformin. The supplement helps the body use insulin more effectively. Menstrual periods may normalize in some women with PCOS if insulin levels are controlled.
  • Androgen-blocking Medications: It is possible to counteract androgens using some drugs. Inhibiting acne or excess hair growth, respectively. Have a discussion with your doctor about whether or not you qualify for such therapy.
  • Ovulation-stimulating medications: Ovulation marks the start of a fertile pregnancy. Several medications have been shown to stimulate ovulation in PCOS patients. Clomiphene and letrozole are oral drugs, whereas gonadotropins are injected.
  • Surgery: The production of eggs may be restored by removing androgen-producing tissue from the ovaries.
  • IVF: This may be tried when medicine for PCOS symptoms fails to induce ovulation. Your doctor will combine your partner's sperm with your egg in a laboratory and implant the resulting embryo in your uterus.
  • Changes in lifestyle: Keeping a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet may both have a beneficial influence on insulin levels.

Complications of PCOS

When a woman is diagnosed with PCOS, she naturally wonders what is happening within her body. If your androgen levels are abnormally high, your health may suffer. The following are medically significant consequences of PCOS:

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Depression (many women suffer from anxiety and depression due to abnormal hair growth and other signs)
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Hypertension or infertility
  • Metabolic syndrome (risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high blood sugar, and stroke)
  • Miscarriage
  • NASH (Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis)
  • Preterm labour and premature birth
  • Sleep apnea (sleep interruptions due to difficulty breathing, which is more prevalent in overweight women)
  • Type 2 diabetes

When to see a doctor

Get medical attention if you think you may have the following PCOS symptoms:

  • The menstrual cycle is not regular. Menstrual cycles are longer than 40 days between periods.
  • Acne, excessive hair growth, and other symptoms like these may all be caused by an abundance of androgen hormones.
  • Having trouble becoming pregnant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. At what age does PCOS begin?

Ans. PCOS may arise at any point after puberty in both women and persons AFAB. Most individuals learn they have the condition while they are in their twenties or thirties and seeking to have a baby. Obesity and a family history of PCOS both seem to increase one's likelihood of developing.

Q2. Is PCOS common?

Ans. One in ten women of reproductive age suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a medical condition that may cause a broad range of uncomfortable and sometimes unpleasant PCOS symptoms. The majority of women with PCOS were misdiagnosed.

Q3. Is it possible to have PCOS without having any symptoms?

Ans. The answer is yes; you may have PCOS and not know it. Many individuals don't suspect they have the illness until they experience infertility or unexplained weight gain. Mild PCOS occurs when the condition's symptoms aren't noticeable to the patient.

Q4. Does PCOS cause miscarriages?

Ans. Miscarriage rates in the first trimester are three times higher for women with PCOS than those without the condition. Additional pregnancy-related PCOS concerns include an increased risk of:

Q5. High blood pressure, excessive cholesterol, and gestational diabetes.

Ans. Obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure increase the risk of having a baby born prematurely or requiring a cesarean surgery.

Q6. Treatments for women who do not plan to become pregnant include

Ans. Hormonal birth control: Several kinds of hormonal birth control can reduce acne and unwanted hair development and regulate your menstrual cycle.
Insulin-sensitizing medicine: Metformin is a diabetic medication. It helps the body use insulin; that's how it works.
Androgen-blocking drugs: The hormone androgen may be counteracted by some drugs.

Q7. Treatment for PCOS can help you become pregnant now or in the future

Ans. Ovulation-inducing drugs: Several medications have been shown to stimulate ovulation in PCOS patients.

  • Surgery: The production of eggs may be restored by removing androgen-producing tissue from the ovaries.
  • IVF: This may be tried when PCOS medicine fails to stimulate ovulation.

Q8. Is PCOS ever cured?

Ans. There is currently no treatment for PCOS; however, your doctor should be able to help you control your symptoms. PCOS symptoms may fade over time, making the illness less noticeable. Unfortunately, no medication will permanently treat it.

Q9. Is it possible to have PCOS and be in menopause?

Ans. The hormonal shifts following menopause are typically successful in alleviating PCOS symptoms. Regardless of age, you should see a doctor if your symptoms affect your quality of life.

Q10. Can I get pregnant if I have PCOS?

Ans. Even with PCOS, pregnancy is possible. While PCOS raises the risk of infertility and pregnancy problems, many women with PCOS may conceive without treatment. Your healthcare professional will collaborate with you to create a personalized treatment plan to induce ovulation. Your treatment approach might involve medicine or assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF.

Q11. Can I prevent PCOS or its effects?

Ans. There is currently no known treatment to prevent PCOS; however, there are things that may be done to alleviate some of the PCOS symptoms. For instance, avoiding the consequences of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may be facilitated by maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity, and consuming nutrient-dense meals.

Q12. Does PCOS put me at risk for other health conditions?

Ans. Many health problems, such as: have been linked to polycystic ovary syndrome.

  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Diabetes.
  • Endometrial cancer 
  • Endometrial hyperplasia.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

Discuss with your primary care physician to better understand your likelihood of having these disorders.

Q13. How do I cope with PCOS?

Ans. Weight maintenance, a good diet, and regular exercise are all helpful in managing PCOS. Your menstrual cycle may be regulated, and your PCOS symptoms alleviated due to these adaptations to your lifestyle, which may impact your hormone levels. Consulting a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist might assist if you suffer from low self-esteem due to excessive hair growth or acne.

Q14. Is PCOS genetic? 

Ans. Researchers better understand the factors that might lead to PCOS. Yet, there is some evidence that PCOS has a hereditary component. This suggests a link between PCOS and having a parent with the condition.

Q15. What hormones are responsible for PCOS?

Ans. In women with PCOS, an imbalance of hormones prevents regular menstruation, ovulation, and, perhaps, pregnancy. The delicate balance of these hormones is crucial to the proper functioning of your reproductive system. The following hormones influence PCOS:

  • Androgens such as testosterone and androstenedione
  • Estrogen
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • Insulin
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH)
  • Progesterone

Q16. Difference between PCOS and endometriosis?

Ans. Ovarian cysts and infertility are PCOS symptoms, while endometriosis is a separate illness. The uterus lining (endometrium) develops in other sites, such as the ovaries, vagina, and fallopian tubes, in a disorder known as endometriosis. Pelvic discomfort or severe menstruation cramps are common symptoms. Excessive male hormones contribute to the symptoms of PCOS, including menstrual irregularity, unexpected ovulation, etc.

Also, Read About: PCOD vs PCOS