Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a common disease in reproductive aged women. It is a significant hormonal imbalance that affects an estimated six 10 percent women. Many of these women are not even aware they have it. Hormones direct many functions throughout the body. Some hormones control reproductive function. In PCOS the ovaries don't make all the hormones it needs for eggs to fully mature. Fluid accumulates and cysts form. Since no egg matures and is released, ovulation does not occur. 

 

Causes

 

The cause of PCOS is unknown but it tends to run in families. Insulin resistance appears to be an important factor. Insulin is a hormone that enables glucose or sugar to move into cells to be stored or used for energy. When there is insulin resistance, the cells do not respond to the insulin.

 

Symptoms can include:

  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Excess facial and /or body hair
  • Weight gain that is centered around the mid section
  • Acne
  • Thinning of scalp hair (alopecia)
  • High blood pressure
  • Infertility
  • Elevated insulin levels or insulin resistance
  • Skin tags
  • Dark or discolored patches of skin on neck, groin, under arms or in skin folds

Women with PCOS have an increased risk for miscarriages, heart disease and diabetes. Although there is no cure for PCOS, however it can be managed with changes in diet, exercise and medication.

 

More information on this subject can be found online at www.pcosupport.org.