Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Diet
Updated: Feb 10
PCOS, also known as polycystic ovary syndrome, is a medical condition in which the ovaries in the female body produce an abnormal amount of androgens. Androgen is a male sex hormone that can develop and maintain masculine characteristics in reproductive tissues, though it is typically present in minimal quantities in a female body. A woman with PCOS is more likely to have many cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs in her ovaries.
While some women without the condition may develop cysts, in some cases, women with this condition do not.
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How did PCOS develop?
When a mature egg is released from the ovary, ovulation usually follows. After the egg is released, it travels down the fallopian tube and remains there for 12 to 24 hours, where it can be fertilised. When the egg is not fertilised, it is sent out of a female's body during menstruation. In some cases, women might not make enough hormones needed for ovulation.
Women with PCOS have high levels of androgen hormones, which can cause many other disruptions and irregularities in a woman's menstrual cycle. Even though PCOS can frequently be treated with medication and appropriate lifestyle changes, there is currently no known permanent cure for this condition.
What causes PCOS?
Although the precise cause of PCOS is still not fully understood, some factors may contribute to the onset of this condition.
1. Insulin resistance:
In most PCOS patients, if not all, then at least in some cases, insulin resistance is thought to be one of the fundamental physiological imbalances. This happens when your pancreas responds to high blood sugar levels by producing increasingly more insulin. By storing the glucose in your cells, insulin lowers your blood sugar levels. More signals must be sent to the cells to lower blood sugar because they become resistant to regular insulin.
When this resistance persists, blood sugar and insulin levels are elevated. Since the ovaries will produce more testosterone due to the high insulin levels, there will be an increase in androgen levels, which is why many women with PCOS experience symptoms like dark hair on their faces and bellies. Dark, velvety patches of skin in the armpits, groin, or under the breasts are additional common indicators of insulin resistance. Other symptoms could include a greater appetite and weight gain.
2. Low-grade inflammation:
According to research, polycystic ovaries produce more androgens due to chronic low-grade inflammation, which causes heart and blood vessel issues. Such persistent inflammation can be brought on by an unhealthy lifestyle that includes smoking, a bad diet, drinking, being sedentary, stress, and weight gain. Low-grade inflammation has also been associated with critical contributing factors for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
According to research, there is a chance you will get PCOS if your family has a history of the condition. Therefore, your risk of developing PCOS is frequently increased if your family members, such as your mother, sister, or aunt, have a history of this condition.
4. Excess androgen:
If your body produces a lot of androgens, your ovaries have a high chance of developing PCOS. High levels of these hormones consequently affect ovulation, which interferes with your regular menstrual cycle. Acne and hirsutism are other symptoms of excess androgen.