PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a very common health condition among women. An imbalance in reproductive hormones leads to PCOS and affects the ovaries. Ovaries produce eggs that get released each month as part of the menstrual cycle. In the case of those affected with PCOS, this process may be affected.
About 5 to 10 percent of women between the age of 15 and 44 years get PCOS. However, the condition is mostly detected by women in their 20s and 30s, as this is the time most women may be trying to get pregnant. Although women belonging to any race and ethnicity are at risk of PCOS, the risk may be higher if they are obese or have a family member with PCOS.
Symptoms of PCOS
Some of the common symptoms of PCOS are –
- When affected with PCOS women may miss periods or have less than eight periods in a year. Contrarily, their menstrual cycle may be of 21 days or less. Some of them might even stop having their periods.
- Excessive hair on the face, chin, or other body parts is also a common symptom of PCOS and affects nearly 70 percent of women who have PCOS.
- Thinning of hair on the scalp, or male-pattern baldness
- Weight gain
- Darkened skin along neck creases, in the groin, under the breasts
- Skin tags, or small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
How does PCOS affect the health of women? Symptoms of PCOS
PCOS affects several body systems in women and might lead to a host of conditions. Following are the health issues associated with PCOS –
Missed or irregular periods
PCOS is one of the main reasons behind missed or irregular periods. On the other hand, missed periods can lead to:
- Difficulty in getting pregnant, notably, PCOS is one of the most common factors of infertility
- Cysts or fluid-filled small sacs in ovaries
PCOS is caused by hormonal imbalance and it affects the production, development, and release of eggs from the ovaries. If a woman cannot ovulate, it is natural that she would get pregnant. However, PCOS is common and treatable. In case a woman thinks she has the symptoms of PCOS, she should consider talking to her doctor. She can book an appointment with one of the highly experienced gynecologists on DocGenie to know about ways to ovulate and get pregnant
According to available data, a major section of women with PCOS get diabetes or pre-diabetes, also called glucose intolerance, before the age of 40.
High blood pressure
Women are at a higher risk of having high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease and stroke if they have PCOS. According to research findings, women of the same age without PCOS are less at risk of having high blood pressure.
Research findings also suggest that most women with PCOS are found to have higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Higher the level of bad cholesterol more is the risk of getting heart disease and stroke.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which one experiences momentary and repeated stops in breathing which in turn interrupts sleep. In many cases, women with PCOS are also obese. This leads to sleep apnea which raises the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Depression and anxiety
Depression and anxiety are also found to be very common among women with PCOS.
The endometrium is the lining of the uterus or womb. Common factors in women with PCOS like difficulty with ovulation, being overweight, insulin resistance, and diabetes increase the risk of developing cancer of the endometrium.
PCOS and menopause
Women with PCOS may find their menstrual cycles getting more regular as they approach menopause. However, the PCOS-related hormonal imbalance does not alter with age, hence the symptoms of PCOS may continue.
It is always better to consult a doctor at an early stage. Online consultation is very safe, easy, and stress-free. Docgenie ensures a seamless experience regarding online gynecologist consultation from the comfort of home.