Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone imbalance that leads to development of ovarian cysts. PCOS affects 1 in 15 women who suffer from menstrual cycle abnormalities, cardiac functions, fertility and physical appearance. The exact causes are unknown for PCOS although it is believed that genetics and hormonal imbalance contribute in the symptoms. Women who are suffering from PCOS usually produce androgen hormone in higher levels than normal. It hinders the normal process of development and release of ovum during ovulation. Excess insulin in the body is also associated with the increased levels of androgen hormone in body.
Symptoms of PCOS
Normally the symptoms of PCOS can be seen soon after the natural process of menstruation starts however, the type and intensity of symptoms can be different from person to person. The most common hallmark of PCOS is irregular menstrual cycle. As PCOS is characterized as reduction in female sex hormones, there can be many pertinent symptoms as well as development of male characteristics like:
Other symptoms that also occur in PCOS patients are:
Apart from these specific PCOS symptoms, there can be occurrence of some other diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension. All these problems are interlinked with weight gain in women that worsens the situation. In case of complications there can be conditions like heart attack, diabetes, sleep apnea
How is PCOS diagnosed?
There is no direct definitive test for PCOS diagnosis, the doctor needs to review the symptoms and medical history of patients for diagnosis. Some tests are also performed to rule out other similar medical conditions. In most cases, a pelvic and physical examination is performed to find PCOS signs like swollen ovaries.
Some blood tests are also performed to measure the levels of hormones. Thyroid function tests are performed to find out the normal production levels of thyroid. Blood sugar level is tests with fasting glucose test and also the cholesterol level inside the body is measured with the help of lipid level test. The gynecologist can assess the real-time images reproductive organs of patients with the help of ultrasound. When PCOS is confirmed, a pelvic laparoscopy can be perfumed t check for the growth of ovaries. If there is unusual growth, a small tissue biopsy might be taken for further assessment as in case of complications there are chances of endometrial cancer.
How is PCOS treated?
PCOS cannot be directly cured however, the associated symptoms can be controlled and further complications can be avoided. The treatment is based on the severity of PCOS condition and it is possible to completely recover from all the symptoms. Some important areas that can considered for controlling the symptoms are:
Healthy diet and exercise: It is very important to have a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet and regular workout routine. These healthy habits help in countering the obesity issues, control blood glucose levels and ultimately help in regulating the menstrual cycle.
Medication: control pills (only prescribed by doctors) as it can help in regulating the menstrual cycle, decease the male hormone levels and can also aid in combating acne. There are other anti-androgen drugs that can stop growth of unwanted hair and also reduce acne. In some cases, diabetes medicines are also prescribed to reduce blood glucose levels and testosterone production.
Surgery: In some cases, PCOS is handled with surgery called Ovarian drilling in which ovary is punctured with small needles carrying an electric current. It destroys that part of ovary and provides a short-term solution. It promotes ovulation and reduces levels of male hormones.
Important: Women with PCOS, if become pregnant, have a higher risk of miscarriage, premature delivery and gestational diabetes. Hence, extra monitoring is required for such pregnancies.
Natural Remedy for PCOS: Flaxseed is a superfood due to the presence of lignans in its composition which are beneficial in managing the hormonal imbalances in PCOS patients. Lignans are also phytoestrogens and reduce high testosterone levels. Hence, using one tablespoon of flaxseeds daily in any form can be useful in treating infertility and hirsutism.