Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder related to a woman’s hormones. The syndrome commonly causes the ovaries to become enlarged and to develop cysts on the outer edges. Although these cysts do not occur in all instances, this disorder occurs in women of almost any reproductive age. PCOS is a fairly common disorder that affects a great number of young women.
There are many symptoms of PCOS. In cases occurring in young adulthood and beyond, the symptoms may also include difficulty getting pregnant and unexplained weight gain. Symptoms include:
- Infrequent, prolonged menstrual cycles
- Excessive hair growth
A warning sign of PCOS is menstrual cycles which are absent, infrequent, or prolonged. The menstrual cycle is considered infrequent when there are less than eight cycles a year. Absent is when there are absolutely no menstrual cycles, and prolonged is when the periods are heavy and longer than usual. Abnormalities of menstruation can be sourced to many illnesses, so be sure to talk to a Denver reproductive endocrinologist about the irregularity.
Excessive hair growth is another sign of polycystic ovary syndrome. This is caused by excessive androgen, which is a male hormone responsible for the characteristic trait of growing facial hair, as well as on the chest and belly. This hair growth may not always be present in all cases. PCOS may also cause male pattern baldness in some women. This hormone is responsible for the acne that women suffer from as a result of this condition.
Polycystic ovaries are what gave this illness its name. This is when many small cysts form on the wall of the ovaries. Multiple cysts are not always a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome, however. You must have all the symptoms to be confirmed with this diagnosis. Some women with this disease may appear to have normal ovaries. So, it is not a clear indicator of the syndrome.
Depression has also been linked as a symptom in PCOS. The changes in the body’s hormones may trigger this mental condition and hinder a woman in many ways. This alone isn’t a diagnosis of the syndrome, but is just one of the several symptoms that make up PCOS.
Causes of PCOS
There is no one known cause of polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. Early treatment, along with all conditions, is always best to prevent further consequences, such as the development of diabetes and heart problems. While there is no known cause, there are likely factors that contribute to PCOS. These include:
- Excess insulin – This is one of the factors in PCOS. Insulin is one of the hormones that assist glucose utilization in the body. With insulin resistance, your body can’t use the insulin as well as it should. This may boost androgen levels in the body.
- Inflammation – Another factor that may lead to PCOS is inflammation. Research at the Mayo Clinic found that eating certain foods causes inflammation in some women. Cardiovascular disease develops when white blood cells produce substances that cause insulin resistance and the accumulation of cholesterol. Research has shown that people with PCOS have low grade inflammation.
- Genetics – If your mother or other family member has PCOS, there is a high chance that you or someone else in your family may have it as well. There is a chance that mutated genes may be responsible in these cases.
- Gene expression – In the fetal stages of development, if the baby is exposed to too many male androgens, it may impair its ability to produce normal hormones, also known as gene expression. This may be the major factor in all the symptoms above.
If you or a loved one is suffering from pelvic pain or fertility issues, Dr. Deborah Smith at Rocky Mountain Fertility is highly skilled in the diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Smith has received the Patients Choice Award numerous times as a Top Fertility Doctor, along with being recently name the Best fertility doctor in Colorado by Health Tap Magazine.
The office is currently offering complimentary 15 minute phone consultations to help women understand how to reach their fertility goals. Call (303) 999-3877 for more information and scheduling with the leading Denver fertility clinic.