Non-Communicable Diseases

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

​​Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.

Normally, the pituitary gland in the brain produces follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) which control ovulation. The ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone, which prepare the uterus for the egg. The ovaries also secrete a male hormone called androgen.
In the case of PCOS, the pituitary gland secretes high amounts of the hormone (LH), and the ovary secretes high amounts of androgen. This may cause the menstrual cycle to be delayed or missed, and leads to a difficulty in conception. It also causes excess hair in the body and the appearance of acne.
Some factors that may be causing PCOS include:
  • Increased insulin resistance (elevated glucose levels in the blood);
  • Genetics.
  • Irregular periods: The period of menstruation may exceed 35 days, be less than 8 times a year, or be absent altogether.
  • Increased body hair growth.
  • Acne.
  • Obesity. 
  • Difficulty getting pregnant. 
  • Medical history: the absence of period, increased body hair growth, acne, weight gain. 
  • Ultrasound examination of the uterus and ovaries.
  • Blood tests: for androgen and LH hormones. 
PCOS treatment depends on the symptoms, regardless of whether the woman wants to become pregnant or not:
  • Lifestyle changes: follow a diet that’s low in sugars, high in grains, vegetables and fruits. Consume less meat. This helps reduce blood sugar, improves the body’s use of insulin, and balances its level in the body.
  • Contraceptive pills: women who are not planning on getting pregnant can use these pills for treatment. They work to regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce the level of the male hormone (androgen), and reduce skin changes and acne.
  • Sugar-lowering pills: (e.g. glucophage). These pills are used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. They regulate the production of insulin, which decreases the production of androgen, thus reducing the appearance of unwanted hair. They also help with the occurrence of ovulation happen, reduce weight, and adjust cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • Fertility medications: problems with ovulation are common as a result of PCOS. Medications that stimulate ovulation are used after excluding other causes of infertility in women and men.
  • Surgery: Ovarian drilling is a surgical procedure that women may resort to when their bodies aren’t responding to other fertility treatments. It involves laparoscopy and laser to cauterize the follicles, with the aim of stimulating ovulation by lowering androgen levels.
According to recent studies, if women with PCOS do not maintain a treatment plan, other health problems may occur:
  • Over 50% of these women develop type 2 diabetes before the age of 40.
  • They can be at a higher risk of heart diseases.
  • They can also be at a higher risk of high blood pressure.
  • May have high levels of bad cholesterol and low levels of good cholesterol in the blood.
  • At risk of sleep apnea. 
  • Fat accumulation in the liver (hepatic steatosis).
What to do to prevent complications?
  • Regularly take medicines and follow doctor’s orders.
  • Maintain healthy nutrition.
  • Exercise.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Undergo periodic cholesterol, blood pressure and sugar tests.


Last Update : 06 December 2020 09:05 AM
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