Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder in which the ovaries are enlarged and contain many small cysts (fluid-filled sacs). Women with PCOS may have irregular or no menstrual periods.PCOS is a condition that can last many years and can have a major impact on women’s health. This pamphlet discusses PCOS and explains how it can be treated.
The Menstrual Cycle
An average menstrual cycle is about 28 days, including 5-7 days of bleeding -counting the first day of bleeding as day 1. Normal cycles can vary from 23 to 35 days. During the menstrual cycle, the ovaries produce hormones that prepare the lining of the uterus- the endometrium- for a possible pregnancy.
Hormones trigger the menstrual cycle. From about day 5 to 14, the hormone estrogen signals the endometrium to thicken. On about 14, an egg is released from one of the ovaries. This process is called After ovulation, the hormone ovulation-progesterone causes blood vessels in the endometrium to swell and other changes to occur in preparation for a possible pregnancy.
After the egg is released from the ovary, it moves into one of the fallopian tubes connected to the uterus. If an egg joins with a sperm in the fallopian tube, it is fertilized. After the egg is fertilized, it travels through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. It then attaches to the endometrium and begins to grow.
If the egg is not fertilized, the hormone levels decrease,and the endometrium is shed with some bleeding (menstrual period) on about day 28. The first day of the menstrual period marks the strart of the new cycle(day 1).
Pcos occurs as a result of increase in the production of androgens (male hormones by the ovaries and adrinal glands
What Is PCOS?
Everyone has both male and female hormones.PCOS occurs as a result of an increase in the production of androgens (male hormones) by the ovaries and the adrenal glands. In PCOS, the ovaries often become enlarged and contain many small cysts. The increase in androgen causes irregular menstrual periods and may stop ovulation. Because of this, women continue to make estrogen, but they do not produce progesterone.
In some women, the presence of estrogen without progesterone increases the risk that the endometrium will grow too much. This is a condition known as endometrial hyperplasia that may turn into cancer. PCOS is linked to other diseases that occur later in life, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure.
The symptoms of PCOS usually include:
Irregular menstrual periods or no periods
Excess hair on the face and body(known as Hirsutism)
Diagnosis and Treatment
To diagnose PCOS, your doctor will ask you questions about your health and your menstrual cycle. He or she will also perform a complete exam that may include blood tests. The type of treatment you receive depends on your symptoms and whether you want to become pregnant.
To treat irregular menstrual periods, your doctor may prescribe either the hormone progesterone or birth control pills. Women who wish to become pregnant may be given fertility drugs instead of birth control pills.
Your doctor may also prescribe birth control pills and other medications to slow the growth of new excess body hair. It may take several months, however, for you to notice any results. To remove unwanted hair sooner.you may want to try electrolysis or other hair removal methods.
If you are overweight, losing weight can help relieve the symptoms of PCOS. Weight loss can also help lower the risk of other long-term conditions.
If you have any symptoms of PCOS, see your doctor. If PCOS is confirmed, follow your doctor’s directions carefully. with proper treatment, the condition can be managed and your symptoms can be relieved.