What is PCOS?
PCOS is short for polycystic ovary syndrome and it usually affects women in their fertile years who are between 15 to 44. A particular study published stated that about 70% of people with PCOS were unaware of their condition.
Ovaries are the reproductive organs that produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone in biological females. But, the ovaries also produce male androgens (like testosterone) in small quantities and are responsible for the release of the egg (ovulation).
PCOS is a condition that affects the process of ovulation necessary for getting pregnant. It’s characterized by irregular periods, high levels of androgens in your body and multiple cysts in the ovary, though not everyone with PCOS has cysts.
How are hormones related to PCOS?
With PCOS, the normal hormonal balance of your body is thrown out of whack. Consequently, the normal functioning of your body is disrupted in certain key areas. The hormones affected by PCOS are:
- Progesterone - This hormone plays an important role in inducing your period and, in PCOS, your body doesn’t make enough of it. As a result, you may suffer from irregular periods or amenorrhoea.
- Androgens - Higher levels of male hormones can disrupt the normal functioning of a female body. With PCOS, your body produces more of these hormones like testosterone, which can give rise to many symptoms.
- Insulin - This hormone is required to help the body metabolise sugar from the food you eat so that it can be converted to energy. If your cells can’t use insulin the way they should, your body produces an excess of the hormone. Extra insulin forces your body to produce more androgens in turn.
What are the causes of PCOS?
The exact causes of PCOS have not been pinpointed by doctors, but they have a general agreement that high androgen levels can mess with the egg-producing hormones. The main factors linked to PCOS are:
- Excess production of androgens - If your body produces male hormones in abnormally high quantities, it can prevent ovulation and affect your menstrual cycle. It can also lead to two other major signs of PCOS - acne and excess facial hair.
- Inflammation levels in the body - When your androgen levels become high, your inflammation levels increase. The risk of higher inflammation increases with your body weight and women with PCOS have been detected with higher inflammation levels in their bodies.
- Your body developing and insulin resistance - In a study, it was found that about 70% of women who suffer from PCOS have problems with their cells using insulin the correct way - AKA insulin resistance. Apart from PCOS, insulin resistance in your body and obesity can both make you more prone to type 2 diabetes.
- It’s genetic - There have been some studies conducted that revealed that PCOS can be an inherited condition. If your family history reveals PCOS as a part, you will have a risk of developing the condition.
How does PCOS affect your body?
PCOS can make your body undergo significant changes and affect several areas of your system:
- Your menstrual cycle - You may suffer from irregular periods or the complete absence of them for a long stretch at a time. When ovulation does not occur, the uterine lining doesn’t shed as it should, making your periods very light or missed. Alternatively, if your uterine lining builds up for a longer duration, your period can get heavy when it comes.
- Your weight - PCOS causes your weight to increase, with up to 80% of people with PCOS being overweight. Weight gain doesn’t directly cause PCOS, but you may find it difficult to manage the symptoms unless you maintain your weight at a healthy level according to your BMI.
- Your acne situation - You may have heard of “hormonal acne” sometime and wondered how it differs from normal acne. When you have PCOS, you may suffer from persistent hormonal acne resulting from an increase in androgens. This causes your skin to become oilier leading to clogged pores which develop into acne.
- Your hair - Women with PCOS can suffer from excess hair growth on their face, arms, chest and back, among other areas. They may also undergo excess hair fall leading to hair thinning.
- Your skin - Apart from acne, you may suffer from dark patches appearing on your skin in areas like under your breasts, groin and neck areas. You may also develop skin tags on your neck or underarms, which can also be indicative of insulin resistance.
- Your risk of diabetes - When your body develops insulin resistance, it becomes prone to developing type 2 diabetes and women with PCOS are often seen to become prediabetic or diabetic before they even turn 40.
- Your heart health - With PCOS, your chances of developing high blood pressure, strokes or heart attacks increase. You may also risk developing clogged or rigid arteries, causing other heart issues.
- Your sleep - You may develop issues like obstructive sleep apnea, where your body suffers from repeated brief pauses in breathing. It can result in snoring, fatigue and memory loss, leading to degraded health.
- Your mental health - Due to a hormonal imbalance and self-esteem issues resulting from the symptoms, people with PCOS tend to develop mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and eating disorders.
- Your reproductive health - Due to an absence of ovulation, people with PCOS often suffer from fertility issues that interfere with conception.
When should you see a doctor?
Consult your doctor if you notice any of the above symptoms or want to get evaluated before planning a pregnancy.
If you’re suffering from irregular menstrual cycles as a result of PCOS, you can try the Carmesi Cyclo+ 100% Ayurvedic Tablets which is made with completely natural and potent herbs. These ingredients can help you balance your hormones, control your weight, reduce unwanted hair growth and manage your menstrual flow.