For the past few years, people have become more familiar with PCOS. Thanks to Social Media, people became more aware of what PCOS really is.
Women are posting their personal experiences as awareness to other women. While others are sharing posts and photos that give information on what to avoid and what to do if you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS.
And since September is dedicated to raising worldwide awareness of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), we’ve made an article that will give help, improve lives, and prevention to girls and women in the world.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a serious genetic, hormone, metabolic and reproductive disorder that affects women and girls only. It is the major cause of female infertility and origin for other serious conditions including cardiovascular disease, obesity, endometrial cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
PCOS has three main features that affect the ovaries and ovulation:
- cysts in the ovaries
- irregular or skipped periods
- high levels of male hormones
Causes of PCOS
Unfortunately, doctors haven’t detected the exact cause of PCOS. They believe that high levels of male hormones prevent the ovaries from producing hormones and making eggs normally.
Genes, insulin resistance, and inflammation have all been linked to excess androgen production.
Studies show that PCOS runs in families. Many genes presented altered expression suggesting thus that the genetic abnormality in PCOS affects insulin action and secretion, energy homeostasis, chronic inflammation, and others.
- Insulin resistance
Up to 70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, meaning that their cells can’t use insulin properly.
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. The lack of insulin causes a form of diabetes.
When cells can’t use insulin properly, the body’s demand for insulin increases. The pancreas makes more insulin to compensate. Extra insulin triggers the ovaries to produce more male hormones.
Also, obesity is considered a major cause of insulin resistance. Both obesity and insulin resistance can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Women with PCOS often have increased levels of inflammation in their bodies. Being overweight can also contribute to inflammation. Studies have linked excess inflammation to higher androgen levels.
Common Symptoms of PCOS
Most of the common symptoms of PCOS include:
- Acne on the face, chest, and upper back.
- Skin tags or small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area.
- Darkening of skin, particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts.
- Too much hair on the face, chin, or parts of the body where men usually have hair.
- Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp; male-pattern baldness
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Irregular menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS may miss periods or have fewer periods. Sometimes their periods may come every 21 days or more often while some women stop having menstrual periods.
How to prevent or decrease the effects of PCOS?
- Be active
Being active and exercising helps lower blood sugar levels. Increasing your daily activity may treat or even prevent insulin resistance and help you keep your weight under control. Also, it’s a good way to avoid developing diabetes.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Just like being active, weight loss is important in decreasing the effect of PCOS. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce insulin and androgen levels and may restore ovulation.
- Limit carbohydrates. Low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets might increase insulin levels. Ask your doctor about a low-carbohydrate diet if you have PCOS. Choose complex carbohydrates, which raise your blood sugar levels more slowly.
Seeing women helping other women to fight this battle is so powerful. It shows how strong women are and how great our impact can be.
PCOS may be hard to fight but together, we can do it.