What is PCOS? | Causes, Effects & Symptoms of PCOS

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Every day is a struggle for a woman who suffers from PCOS.

 

PCOS – Introduction

“A woman is the most beautiful creation of God, not only on physical aspects but certainly on every aspect“

Woman, a gift given to us by god. She is termed as a synonym of sacrifice. They are the creatures blessed with a kind heart, a sea of love, and a bundle of affection. God made her by keeping words like love, strength, affection in his mind. A world without her is unimaginable. 

Being a woman is a very difficult job. Moreover, there are certain problems that only we women have to go through. My topic isn’t about how awesome the women’s race is, but is about a problem that is troubling several women today. POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS). I know this is a disease that can’t be cured with home remedies. But today I would like to talk about some self-care habits that you can opt for. Along with your allopathic and homoeopathic treatment which will help in spreading up the recovery process. 

WHAT IS PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in short PCOS is a common health problem that is caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones. The imbalance created in the hormones further creates a problem in the ovaries. According to a healthy cycle, an egg is released by the ovaries which are further fertilized by the male hormones. But when you are suffering from PCOS the egg may not develop or if developed may not release during ovulation as it should be. Because of this imbalance created in the hormones and the ovaries and the effect that they put on the release of the eggs, women might suffer from missed or irregular menstrual periods. Irregular periods can lead to:

*Infertility (inability to get pregnant). PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility in women.

*Development of cysts (small fluid-filled sacs) in the ovaries.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PCOS?

Now that we know what PCOS is it’s time to know about its symptoms. Before moving forward I would like to state that all the information that I am providing here is either gathered from the people who are suffering from it and the suggestions given by the doctors to them, by the trusted sites, and from some family doctors.

 1.Irregular menstrual cycle.

This is the symptom that is most common amongst the people suffering from this disease. Due to PCOS women (as I mentioned above) might suffer from missed or irregular menstrual periods. Their periods may come every 21 days or more often. Some women with PCOS stop having menstrual periods.

2. Heavy bleeding 

As we all know that a uterus prepares itself by building a uterine lining for receiving the egg from the ovaries. But during PCOS due to irregular periods, the lining keeps on building and when the time comes the flow you will get might be more than the usual. 

3. Hair growth 

Women suffering from PCOS may experience excessive hair growth on their chin, face, or other parts of the body. Excessive hair growth in places where men usually have hair. This process is called “hirsutism.” Hirsutism affects up to 70% of women with PCOS.

4. Acne

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PCOS has many side-effects on skin

Women will experience acne on their face, chest, and upper back. The increased production of male hormones can make the skin oilier than usual and can cause breakouts on different body parts and hence results in acne. 

5. Weight fluctuations

 Although it is observed that the women who are suffering from PCOS will suffer from excessive weight. But in some cases, the situations might be different. Hence it will depend on your body type. Weight management is the key to control PCOS

6. Skin darkening 

Particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts

7. Skin tags 

which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area. 

8. Headache

Due to the changes occurring in the hormones some women may experience headaches very often. 

WHAT CAUSES PCOS?

Now that we know the symptoms, let’s move forward to the third step which includes the cause of PCOS. Although there is no exact or sure shot reason for this disease, according to experts several factors, including genetics, play a role. Hence here are two expected reasons that might cause PCOS. 

1.High level of Androgens. 

Androgens, are also known as ‘male hormones,’. All the women release a small number of Androgens which control the development of male traits, such as male patterns. When a woman is suffering from PCOS then there is an increment in the number of Androgens released. As a result 

higher than normal androgen levels in women can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation) during each menstrual cycle, and can cause extra hair growth and acne, two signs of PCOS.

2.High level of insulin

Insulin is a chemical that breaks food products into energy. Insulin resistance is when the body’s cells do not respond normally to insulin. As a result, your insulin blood levels become higher than normal. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, especially those who are overweight or obese, have unhealthy eating habits, do not get enough physical activity, and have a family history of diabetes (usually type 2 diabetes). Over time, insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes.

HOW IS PCOS DIAGNOSED?

Though there is no single test that can diagnose PCOS, hence there multiple tests that are conducted to diagnose it. Below is the list of tests that can be conducted by the doctors.

a) Physical Examination

During this test, the doctor will measure your blood pressure, body mass index, and waist size. As I mentioned above, PCOS patients will suffer from acne, excessive hair growth, discolouration of the skin. So the doctors will further look for these symptoms. Your doctor may look for any hair loss or signs of other health conditions (such as an enlarged thyroid gland).

b) Pelvic Exam

This test will help the doctor to examine the extra male hormones released. To check, the doctor will look for changes like an enlarged clitoris if your ovaries are enlarged or swollen.

c) Pelvic ultrasound

According to this test, with the help of sound waves, the doctors will look for cysts that might have developed in ovaries. They will also check the endometrium (the inner lining of the womb) for the cysts. 

d) Blood tests

During your blood test, the doctors will check your androgen release and will also check your cholesterol and diabetes level.

EFFECTS OF PCOS ON THE MENTAL HEALTH OF WOMEN 

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PCOS affects mental health

It is believed that women who have PCOS are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. 

#Most of the women who are dealing with disease are insulin resistant. Which means their cells do not take glucose the way they are supposed to. Hence it can lead to elevated blood sugar levels. It is believed that insulin resistance can lead to depression because this resistance can cause changes in hormones. 

#Stress is something that is highly found in patients dealing with PCOS. This is because of the changes occurring in their physical condition. Now the changes that occur are all due to excessive release of Androgens. Changes like excessive facial hair and body hair. 

#PCOS is related to inflammation which is further related to cortisol levels, which further increases stress and depression. 

On the whole, I wanna say that PCOS and depression go hand in hand. We are not supposed to kneel down in front of it. Instead, with the help of therapy, we can treat both. Hence don’t lose faith. 

 

MEDICATION that doctors may prescribe according to symptoms ( always consult your gynaecologist)

To regulate your menstrual cycle your doctor might suggest you the following medicines. Before beginning the list I would like to say that I have met people suffering from this disease and discussed with them about their medicines. So the list mentioned below is created with the help of a few friends who suffer from PCOS and of course my family doctor. 

  • Combination birth control pills

Pills that contain progestin and estrogen are recommended to regulate estrogen. Its main purpose is to regulate hormones which will further lower the risks of endometrial cancer and correct abdominal bleeding. It will also regulate hair growth. 

  • Progestin therapy

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    Birth control pills

This pill should be taken for 10-14 days, every one or two months. This pill will help you regulate your periods and also reduce the risks of endometrial cancer. 

For the ovulation process, your doctor might recommend you the following….

  • Clomiphene

This medicine is taken during the first part of your menstrual cycle.

  • Letrozole

This is a breast control treatment but it can also help in stimulating the ovaries. 

  • Metformin

This medication is for type 2 diabetes but it will help you in regulating your insulin resistance and will also lower your insulin levels. 

  • Gonadotropins

This medication is given through injections and it again works for regulating hormones. 

Now to control the excessive hair growth the doctors might recommend

  • Birth control pills.

This is so because these pills will reduce the production of Androgens. 

  • Aldactone 

This medication blocks the effects of androgen on the skin.

  • Eflornithine (Vaniqa).

It is a cream that can slow the growth of facial hair

  • Electrolysis.

According to this process, a tiny needle is inserted into every hair follicle. This needle emits an electric current which damages the follicle. 

PS-So before completing this section I would like to say that every medicine can be harmful if taken carelessly and without any consultation. 

 ⚫SELF CARE- A CRUCIAL INGREDIENT TO CURE ‘PCOS’

Self-care, as you know, is a way through which we ourselves work for the betterment of our body. This is an act that will foster greater health both mentally and physically. As we know self-care is a necessity for every person out there. However, for people who are suffering from some kind of disease or illness, for them, it should be something present on the top of their to do list. Here are some self-care tips that one should follow if they want a better lifestyle. 

As I always say the information that I provide is not always a whole. I leave gaps for you people to fill and explore and look for yourself. Certain tips are for a healthy lifestyle are

  •  A good amount of sleep. That is 8 hours of sleep at least. 
  •  Eating 3 healthy meals a day.
  •  Continuing to learn more about health and nutrition.
  •  Doing SOME form of exercise each day, even if it’s only a quick walk.
  •  Practicing yoga. (Yoga for PCOS)
  •  Daily mindfulness meditation, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
  •  Keeping yourself engaged in some of the other activities. Rather than wasting your time on phones and television. 
  •  Go out, have fun with your friends. Talk your heart out and don’t stress much. 

 I would like to say that PCOS is not a disease that can’t be cured. You just need to follow the right routine and have faith ‘that everything will be fine’. Moreover, we would really like to hear from you people about the self-care routine that you follow along with the allopathic and homeopathic treatments that the doctors recommend you. 

 

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