Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

  • Homepage
  • Our Specilities
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Introduction

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels.

Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones. This hormone imbalance causes them to skip menstrual periods and makes it harder for them to get pregnant.

PCOS also causes hair growth on the face and body, and baldness. And it can contribute to long-term health problems like diabetes and heart disease.

Birth control pills and diabetes drugs can help fix the hormone imbalance and improve symptoms.

Read on for a look at the causes of PCOS and its effects on a woman’s body.

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a problem with hormones that affects women during their childbearing years (ages 15 to 44). Between 2.2 and 26.7 percent of women in this age group have PCOS.

Many women have PCOS but don’t know it. In one study, up to 70 percent of women with PCOS hadn’t been diagnosed.

PCOS affects a woman’s ovaries, the reproductive organs that produce estrogen and progesterone — hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. The ovaries also produce a small amount of male hormones called androgens.

The ovaries release eggs to be fertilized by a man’s sperm. The release of an egg each month is called ovulation.

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) control ovulation. FSH stimulates the ovary to produce a follicle — a sac that contains an egg — and then LH triggers the ovary to release a mature egg.

PCOS is a “syndrome,” or group of symptoms that affects the ovaries and ovulation. Its three main features are:

  • cysts in the ovaries
  • high levels of male hormones
  • irregular or skipped periods

In PCOS, many small, fluid-filled sacs grow inside the ovaries. The word “polycystic” means “many cysts.”

These sacs are actually follicles, each one containing an immature egg. The eggs never mature enough to trigger ovulation.

These sacs are actually follicles, each one containing an immature egg. The eggs never mature enough to trigger ovulation.

The lack of ovulation alters levels of estrogen, progesterone, FSH, and LH. Estrogen and progesterone levels are lower than usual, while androgen levels are higher than usual.

Extra male hormones disrupt the menstrual cycle, so women with PCOS get fewer periods than usual.

PCOS isn’t a new condition. Italian physician Antonio Vallisneri first described its symptoms in 1721.

Summary

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects up to almost 27 percent of women during their childbearing years. It involves cysts in the ovaries, high levels of male hormones, and irregular periods.

What causes it?

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes PCOS. They believe that high levels of male hormones prevent the ovaries from producing hormones and making eggs normally.

Genes, insulin resistance, and inflammation have all been linked to excess androgen production.

Genes
  • Studies show that PCOS runs in families.
  • It’s likely that many genes — not just one — contribute to the condition.
Insulin resistance
  • Up to 70 percent of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, meaning that their cells can’t use insulin properly.
  • Insulin is a hormone the pancreas produces to help the body use sugar from foods for energy.
  • When cells can’t use insulin properly, the body’s demand for insulin increases. The pancreas makes more insulin to compensate. Extra insulin triggers the ovaries to produce more male hormones.
  • Obesity is a major cause of insulin resistance. Both obesity and insulin resistance can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Inflammation

Women with PCOS often have increased levels of inflammation in their body. Being overweight can also contribute to inflammation. Studies have linked excess inflammation to higher androgen levels.

Summary

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes PCOS. They believe it stems from factors such as genes, insulin resistance, and higher levels of inflammation in the body.

Common symptoms of PCOS

The most common PCOS symptoms are:
  • Irregular periods. A lack of ovulation prevents the uterine lining from shedding every month. Some women with PCOS get fewer than eight periods a year.
  • Heavy bleeding. The uterine lining builds up for a longer period of time, so the periods you do get can be heavier than normal.
  • Hair growth. More than 70 percent of women with this condition grow hair on their face and body — including on their back, belly, and chest . Excess hair growth is called hirsutism.
  • Acne. Male hormones can make the skin oilier than usual and cause breakouts on areas like the face, chest, and upper back.
  • Weight gain. Up to 80 percent of women with PCOS are overweight or obese.
  • Male-pattern baldness. Hair on the scalp gets thinner and fall out.
  • Darkening of the skin. Dark patches of skin can form in body creases like those on the neck, in the groin, and under the breasts.
  • Headaches. Hormone changes can trigger headaches in some women.

Summary

PCOS can disrupt the menstrual cycle, leading to fewer periods. Acne, hair growth, weight gain, and dark skin patches are other symptoms of the condition.
How PCOS affects your body

Having higher-than-normal androgen levels can affect your fertility and other aspects of your health.

Infertility

To get pregnant, you have to ovulate. Women who don’t ovulate regularly don’t release as many eggs to be fertilized. PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women.

Metabolic syndrome

Up to 80 percent of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. Both obesity and PCOS increase your risk for high blood sugar, high blood pressure, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

Together, these factors are called metabolic syndrome, and they increase the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Sleep apnea

This condition causes repeated pauses in breathing during the night, which interrupt sleep.

Sleep apnea is more common in women who are overweight — especially if they also have PCOS. The risk for sleep apnea is 5 to 10 times higher in obese women with PCOS than in those without PCOS.

Endometrial cancer

During ovulation, the uterine lining sheds. If you don’t ovulate every month, the lining can build up.

A thickened uterine lining can increase your risk for endometrial cancer.

Depression

Both hormonal changes and symptoms like unwanted hair growth can negatively affect your emotions. Many with PCOS end up experiencing depression and anxiety.

Summary

Hormone imbalances can affect a woman’s health in many ways. PCOS can increase the risk for infertility, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, endometrial cancer, and depression.

How PCOS is diagnosed

Doctors typically diagnose PCOS in women who have at least two of these three symptoms:

  • high androgen levels
  • irregular menstrual cycles
  • cysts in the ovaries

Your doctor should also ask whether you’ve had symptoms like acne, face and body hair growth, and weight gain.

A pelvic exam can look for any problems with your ovaries or other parts of your reproductive tract. During this test, your doctor inserts gloved fingers into your vagina and checks for any growths in your ovaries or uterus.

Blood testscheck for higher-than-normal levels of male hormones. You might also have blood tests to check your cholesterol, insulin, and triglyceride levels to evaluate your risk for related conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

An ultrasound uses sound waves to look for abnormal follicles and other problems with your ovaries and uterus.

Summary

PCOS can make it harder to get pregnant, and it can increase your risk for pregnancy complications and miscarriage. Weight loss and other treatments can improve your odds of having a healthy pregnancy.

Diet and lifestyle tips to treat PCOS

Treatment for PCOS usually starts with lifestyle changes like weight loss, diet, and exercise.

Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can help regulate your menstrual cycle and improve PCOS symptoms. Weight loss can also improve cholesterol levels, lower insulin, and reduce heart disease and diabetes risks.

Treatment for PCOS usually starts with lifestyle changes like weight loss, diet, and exercise.

tudies comparing diets for PCOS have found that low-carbohydrate diets are effective for both weight loss and lowering insulin levels. A low glycemic index (low-GI) diet that gets most carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps regulate the menstrual cycle better than a regular weight loss diet.

A few studies have found that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least three days a week can help women with PCOS lose weight. Losing weight with exercise also improves ovulation and insulin levels.

Exercise is even more beneficial when combined with a healthy diet. Diet plus exercise helps you lose more weight than either intervention alone, and it lowers your risks for diabetes and heart disease.

There is some evidence that acupuncture can help with improving PCOS, but more research is needed.

Summary

PCOS treatment starts with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight if you’re overweight can help improve your symptoms.

Common medical treatments

Treatment

PCOD is associated with stri beeja and rajah formation, along with medhodhantu to some extent. These should be attended to while the condition is being treated. The Ayurvedic treatment of PCOD aims at providing ideal care by correction of the ama dosha. By this, you achieve koshta shuddi, which in turn regularizes your tridoshas. The way or approach towards Ayurvedic treatment for PCOD includes the following:

  • Treatment of agnimandya at both dhatwagni and jataragni levels.
  • The alleviation of sroto avarodha is an essential part of PCOD treatment using Ayurveda. You should undertake purificatory therapies which are based on the grade of your doshic vitialation, and the exact area of affliction. These should be followed by rasayana drugs, which are free radical scavenging agents.
  • The regularization of the apana Vata is essential as well. You must firmly avoid vihara and kaphkara ahara.
  • Yoga and meditation are very important for the Ayurvedic treatment of PCOD. You should perform yoga asanas regularly. Some of the ideal postures for PCOD management include sarvangasana, matyasana, and shavasana.
  • It is also very important for you to work out regularly, undertake different physical exercises. This will make your overall life much healthier.
  • You must follow a healthy, balanced diet regularly, which should consist of fresh vegetables and fruits.
Ayurvedic herbs for the treatment of PCOD
  • The varuna crataeva nurvala is an effective herb which helps in the clearance of channels, which reduces your cyst’s size.
  • You can try hareetaki because of its amazing laxative effects, which reduce the morbidity of your body.
  • Bilva or aegle marmelos heps in reducing the size of your growth, via its digestive effect.
  • Strotasshuddhi is required and herbs likes Punarnava, kaphhar medicines are advised.
  • Phytooestrogen sources and female tonic Shatavari is very much advised.
  • Agnimantha, similar to lions. Lake er dhareyjata
  • Guduchi is another effective remedy for PCOD and has a rejuvenating effect.
  • Kanchnar is the drug of choice for Thyroid as per AYURVEDA, Strotasshuddhi is done by using Trikatu, Punarnava and other medicines. Rasayan like Shatavari are advised for enhancing female hormones.
When to see a doctor

See your doctor if:

  • You’ve missed periods and you’re not pregnant.
  • You have symptoms of PCOS, such as hair growth on your face and body.
  • You’ve been trying to get pregnant for more than 12 months but haven’t been successful.
  • You have symptoms of diabetes, such as excess thirst or hunger, blurred vision, or unexplained weight loss.

If you have PCOS, plan regular visits with your primary care doctor. You’ll need regular tests to check for diabetes, high blood pressure, and other possible complications.

Summary

See your doctor if you’ve skipped periods or you have other PCOS symptoms like hair growth on your face or body. Also see a doctor if you’ve been trying to get pregnant for 12 months or more without success.
The bottom line

PCOS can disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycles and make it harder to get pregnant. High levels of male hormones also lead to unwanted symptoms like hair growth on the face and body.

Lifestyle interventions are the first treatments doctors recommend for PCOS, and they often work well. Weight loss can treat PCOS symptoms and improve the odds of getting pregnant. Diet and aerobic exercise are two effective ways to lose weight.

Medicines are an option if lifestyle changes don’t work. Birth control pills and metformin can both restore more normal menstrual cycles and relieve PCOS symptoms.

Need Ayurvedic treatment ?

Contact Us