PCOS signs and symptoms
Some signs and symptoms characteristic for PCOS early alert the women, even though they may not be a result of this particular disease. Women suffering from PCOS often complain about irregular periods or no periods at all. PCOS is also closely connected with hyperandrogenism, which is, simply speaking, an excess of male hormones in female organisms. It may lead to the presence of excessive body hair, i.e. on the face, breasts and arms, seborrhea or alopecia. Hormonal disorders may also be connected with mood swings. Moreover, women with PCOS often suffer from overweight or even obesity and insulin resistance. Ultrasound scan of the pelvic region oftentimes reveals a distinctive look of the ovaries, composed of a great number of small follicles.
PCOS is diagnosed in accordance with the Rotterdam criteria. Two out of three of the following conditions must be present. Firstly, rare or absent ovulation cycle. Secondly, an excess of androgens or male hormones confirmed in biochemical or clinical tests. Thirdly, polycystic ovaries with 12 or more follicles per 1 ovary or total volume of the ovaries greater than 10 cm3. When PCOS is suspected, the patients are advised to undergo hormonal blood tests, ultrasound of the pelvic region and, if needed, glucose tolerance test. The results of the abovementioned tests and scans are enough to determine whether a woman is suffering from PCOS.
PCOS and fertility
PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility in women, however, it does not always lead to problems with natural conceiving. Ovulation disorders, a result of impaired hormonal balance, are the main reason why the pregnancy is hard to achieve in such women. The course of the management, medical treatment of the disease and their expected effects are determined by the severity and type of the abovementioned disorders.
Unfortunately, PCOS cannot be completely cured. Once the patient is diagnosed, she needs to receive constant treatment through her reproductive years, usually by taking hormonal contraception. The duration of the treatment and the treatment itself is tailored according to the patient’s individual needs, her age and the severity of the disease. Management of PCOS is also based on the patient’s desire to have a baby, the need of ovulation-inducing treatment and symptoms connected with hyperandrogenism Women trying for a baby have a plethora of available methods helping them achieve pregnancy. In vitro fertilization is the final solution, suggested to the couples in which other fertility treatment methods were proven to be ineffective. Lack of a proper treatment and persistent improper functioning of the hormones and reproductive system may lead to further discomforts related with PCOS, infertility and endometrial cancers.
Women suffering from PCOS often suffer from obesity and diabetes, therefore they are advised to keep balanced diets, rich in fruits, vegetables, low sugar meals and products which will not promote weight gain. Refraining from drugs is also beneficial and may help especially women trying to conceive.
All patients suffering from PCOS should know that a well designed treatment often leads to great results, including pregnancy.