Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in women in which hormone imbalance causes various complications and abnormal conditions in the female body. In this condition, a woman’s ovary enlarges and contains many fluid-filled sacs. These sacs are actually harmless follicles and they form around the eggs, preventing the release of eggs. The release of eggs by the ovary is what triggers ovulation in the female body, and in its absence, ovulation doesn’t take place. The lack of ovulation alters the production of hormones and a higher-than-usual level of androgen, the male hormone, is produced.
Symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome
Irregular or no periods
Women with the syndrome have irregular periods, sometimes fewer than eight times in a year, characterized by heavy bleeding in some. Some women have no periods at all.
Difficulty in getting pregnant
Since there is irregular or no ovulation, women with the syndrome have difficulty in getting pregnant.
Acne, extra hair and thinning hair
The hormone imbalance and the high levels of androgen trigger change in the female body. Simply put, they develop some
characteristics of the male body like acne, hair growth on the face and body, and male-pattern thinning of hair.
More than 80 percent of women with the syndrome gain weight and become obese, and it is difficult to lose this weight.
Patches of darker skin appear in areas of the body like in the armpit and groin, around the neck and similarly creased areas.
Many women also suffer from headaches triggered by the imbalanced hormones.
Causes of polycystic ovary syndrome
Experts are yet to understand the exact cause of the syndrome though they know that genes may be one factor. This is because the syndrome runs in families and a woman can get it from either the maternal or paternal line.
Up to 70 percent of women affected by this condition have insulin resistance, and this resistance is again a big factor that has to be considered. Insulin resistance, excess insulin in the body, production of male hormones in the female body and obesity are all interrelated.
Doctors also believe that inflammation in the body may have a part in causing the condition because higher androgen levels in the body are linked to excess inflammation, which is common in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
There is no cure till today for polycystic ovary syndrome. However, there are medical treatments used to treat women with the syndrome to help them live a normal life.
Birth control pills and Metformin have been used successfully to regulate menstruation, improve insulin level in the body and hormone balance. Birth control pills and Eflornithine also significantly relieve symptoms like facial hair. Other treatments include laser hair removals and using surgery top improve the chance of pregnancy. Clomiphene is also widely used to promote fertility in women suffering from the condition.
The first course of treatment advised by experts is a change of lifestyle. Changing dietary habits and exercising to lose weight significantly reduce the symptoms. A wise choice of diets coupled with regular exercise is the best and most beneficial course for many affected by the condition.
There are hundreds of clinical trials being conducted all over the world as we are writing this, and it is fairly optimistic that the exact causes of the polycystic ovary syndrome will be understood soon. This would be a breakthrough since everything else, including treatment and finding the cure, depends on it. Till then, don’t fret,
and live calm with a healthy diet and regular exercise, and keep your fingers crossed.