Polycystic ovary syndrome:
Symptoms of PCOS:
PCOS is one of the commonest hormone disorder among women. Its thought to affect one in ﬁve women worldwide, the cause of PCOS is not fully understood, however It is believed to run in families (genetic).
PCOS symptoms differ from one patient to another, some may have more severe forms of the disease than others. Patients with PCOS often have their symptoms soon after they start their periods. However, some women may not experience any symptoms until they are in their mid-twenties! Symptoms of PCOS may worsen as the women gets older, especially so if the patient suffered from excessive weight gain.
Women with PCOS often present with the following symptoms:
- Infertility or subfertility. Irregular periods, or absent periods.
- Excessive hair growth, hirsutism, or signs of increased testosterone activity such as acne or male pattern boldness.
- Overweight, and difficulty losing weight.
- Skin discoloration, for example at the back of the neck.
- Sleep apnea.
Long term health problems related to PCOS:
Increased risk of type two diabetes. One (1) or two (2) out of 10 women with PCOS may suffer from type 2 diabetes at some point.
Risk of insulin resistance; most people suffering from insulin resistance are unaware of the condition until later in life when they are eventually diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the cells of the body become resistant to the action of the hormone insulin. Insulin resistance has been associated with higher risk of developing heart disease. Insulin resistance precedes the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Increased risk of hypertension. Women with high cholesterol levels, diabetes and over-weight are more prone to suffer from hypertension.
Increased risk of hyperlipidemia or abnormal lipid proﬁle. Patients with PCOS have higher levels of bad cholesterol LDL and triglecerides, and lower levels of the good cholesterol HDL.
Increased risk of heart disease. Women with PCOS are 7 times more likely to suffer from heart problems.
Increased risk of uterine cancer, especially if the period is absent for more than three months.
It’s important to note that there is no “one” single and quick test to diagnose PCOS. The accurate diagnosis depends on the expertise of the physician, in addition to acquiring a detailed medical history and running some blood tests.
Making the diagnosis of PCOS is not always easy for the following reasons;
- The presence of cystic lesion on the ovaries on ultrasound does not necessarily mean that you have PCOS.
- Not two cases of PCOS are ever the same.
- Sometimes symptoms of PCOS can appear for a while and then disappear.
The diagnosis of PCOS is made when two (2) out of the following three sign are present:
- The presence of cysts on the ovaries on ultrasound
- The presence of hirsutism clinically or high androgen (testosterone) levels as reported by laboratory. 3. Evidence of an ovulation (infertility), amenorrhea (absence of a period for more than 35 days). S
Management and treatment of PCOS:
Like many chronic diseases, for example diabetes and hypertension, unfortunately there is still No Cure for PCOS. Women with PCOS are strongly advised to adopt a healthy life style. Women with PCOS are advised to have regular checkups until the age of menopause. This helps them avoid the long term health problems associated with PCOS. Treatment is individualized and tailored according to the symptoms the woman presents with. Some treatment might involve taking hormones. However nowadays there are other non-hormonal options available with satisfactory results.
It is important to note that stopping the treatment will result in symptoms coming back