Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a common hormonal disorder in women. It is characterized by excessive androgen production in the ovaries. Androgens are usually in minute quantities in women. The increased amount causes many health complications and additional risks in patients of PCOSCO.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is the formation of multiple tiny cysts in the ovaries. These cysts are filled with fluid. Some women with PCOSCO don’t have cysts.
Ovulation is characterized by the release of the egg from an ovary. This occurs so that a male sperm may fertilize it. The egg is expelled from the body during menstruation if it is not fertilized.
In rare situations, a woman may not produce enough hormones for ovulation. When ovulation does not occur, the ovaries might generate a large number of tiny cysts. These cysts produce androgens, which are male hormones. Women with PCOS frequently have elevated amounts of androgens. It results in irregular periods and other PSOCSO-related conditions.
Let’s explore PCOS in detail so you can understand it better.
What are the Causes of PCOS?
The etiology of PCOS is unknown. However, studies have shown multiple common characteristics in women with PCOSCO.
Many women with PCOS develop insulin resistance. It signifies that the body is unable to use insulin properly. Insulin levels rise in the body, perhaps leading to greater androgen levels. Obesity can also raise insulin levels, increasing PCOS symptoms.
Insulin is a hormone generated by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels. It aids in transporting glucose from the blood into cells. It is later converted into energy.
Insulin resistance is defined as the inability of body tissues to react to insulin. Hence, the body produces more insulin to compensate for the blood sugar levels.
High insulin levels cause the ovaries to create excessive testosterone, which interferes with the growth of the follicles (the sacs in the ovaries where eggs form) and hinders regular ovulation. Insulin resistance causes weight gain, which can exacerbate PCOS symptoms by causing the body to generate even more insulin.
Many women with PCOS are reported to have hormonal imbalances, including:
- Increased levels of testosterone. Testosterone is a male, found in small quantities in women.
- An increase in luteinizing hormone (LH) levels is also standard. This encourages ovulation but can have an adverse effect on the female reproductive health if in high quantity.
- Low sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels in the blood. It is a protein in the blood that binds to testosterone and decreases its impact.
- An increased prolactin levels. Prolactin encourages the breast glands to make milk during pregnancy.
The precise cause of these hormone levels is unknown. It has been proposed that the issue may begin in the ovary, other glands that generate these hormones, or the brain region regulating their synthesis. The alterations may also be induced by resistance to insulin.
PCOS can run in families. If you have any relatives with PCOS, such as your mother, sister, or aunt, your chances of having it are typically enhanced.
The symptoms of PCOS may include:
- Skin tags on neck and armpits
- Absence of periods, irregular periods, or extremely light periods
- Large or many cysts on the ovaries
- Excessive body hair, particularly on the breast, stomach, and back (hirsutism)
- Weight gain, particularly around the midsection (abdomen)
- Oily or acne-prone skin
- Male-pattern baldness or hair thinning
- Skin patches behind the breasts, on the back of the neck, and in the armpits
Health Risks Associated with PCOS
Not all PCOSCO women will acquire the health risks, although having PCOS raises your chances of developing specific health problems. As a result, it is critical to get your health checked regularly by a doctor with expertise in treating women with PCOS. You should arrange Regular doctor appointments bi-annually. Get yourself check every six months to ensure your health is good.
The following are the long-term health hazards connected with the disease:
Infertility or subfertility
PCOS is one of the most frequent yet treatable reasons for female infertility. The hormonal imbalance in PCOS women interferes with the development and release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). If you don’t ovulate, you can’t become pregnant.
In premenopausal women, PCOSCOS raises the risk of endometrial cancer by 6%. The primary mechanism for developing endometrial cancer is the trio of obesity, excess insulin in the blood (hyperinsulinemia), and diabetes, which are all typically present in PCOS. Furthermore, abnormal hormone levels are significant aspects of PCOS, such as excessive estrogen, testosterone, and low progesterone. This hormonal imbalance contributes to the development of several types of endometrial cancer.
Many PCOS women are insulin resistant, which means that insulin can accumulate in the body, making it harder to maintain normal blood glucose levels. Because this is a risk factor for diabetes, women with PCOS are more vulnerable to getting diabetes. Prediabetes affects 35% of PCOS women, and 10% acquire diabetes before age 40. Diabetes is also associated with higher androgen levels.
The origins of PCOS and type 2 diabetes are linked in ways that experts do not fully comprehend. But experts have concluded that women with PCOS are more prone to type 2 diabetes, which affects how the body controls blood sugar. This is significant because women with PCOS are frequently insulin-resistant, raising their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. More than half of PCOS women acquire type 2 diabetes by 40.
Obese women, regardless of PCOS diagnosis, are more likely to experience reproductive problems. Obese women are more prone than normal-weight women to experience menstrual irregularities and anovulatory infertility. The relative risk of anovulatory infertility in reproductive-age women increases with a BMI of 24 kg/m2 and continues to climb with a rising BMI. Weight loss can restore regular menstrual periods in these women, supporting obesity’s pathophysiologic function.
Women with PCOS are more likely to be overweight or obese, particularly in the belly, since excess insulin can induce weight gain. Visceral fat, or belly fat, can cause increased triglycerides, decreased HDL levels, or “good” cholesterol.
Despite the greater prevalence of reproductive problems in obese women, the majority of obese women do not develop hyperandrogenemia or PCOS. Increased androgen production has been linked to obesity, particularly in women with upper-body obesity.
Elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, and glucose intolerance are all frequent in women with PCOS, all of which raise the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. As a result, physicians and researchers believe PCOS women are more prone to have cardiac issues.
PCOSCO risk factors, including being overweight or having insulin-resistant diabetes or increased blood pressure, are related to cardiovascular disease. Studies reveal that women with PCOS have twice as likely a chance of a future cardiovascular event, like a heart attack or stroke.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common and dangerous sleep disease in which you stop breathing while sleeping. Your airway becomes frequently obstructed during sleep if you have OSA. This reduces the amount of air that reaches your lungs.
According to one study, the risk of OSA in women with PCOS is at least 5-to-10-fold greater than in women without PCOS. The phrase “electronic commerce” refers to selling goods and services online. According to research, women with PCOS are more likely to have poor sleep quality or persistent daytime drowsiness. These might be signs of OSA.
Treatment and Management of PCOS
Certain lifestyle adjustments, such as diet and exercise, are considered first-line therapy for teenage girls and women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOSCO). Medicines are used to treat anovulation, hirsutism, and irregular menstrual cycles. But they are not the long-term solution.
A nutritious diet and increased physical exercise can assist the patient of PCOSCO in losing weight and reducing the symptoms. They can also improve the body’s efficiency using insulin, reduce blood glucose levels, and help ovulate regularly.
Insulin levels in PCOS patients are frequently reported to be higher than usual. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. It aids the body’s cells in converting sugar, also known as glucose, to energy.
If you don’t create enough insulin, your blood sugar levels might rise. It also happens in insulin resistance, meaning you cannot properly utilize your insulin.
If you have insulin resistance, your body may try to pump out high insulin levels to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Too-high insulin levels might lead your ovaries to create more androgens, including testosterone.
A more excellent body mass index may also contribute to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can make it difficult to lose weight, which is why patients with PCOS frequently have this problem.
A diet substantial in refined carbohydrates, such as starchy and sugary meals, can exacerbate insulin resistance and, as a result, make weight reduction more challenging to achieve.
Food to consume
Below is the list of food you should eat to manage PCOSCO symptoms.
Leafy Greens Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are a fantastic choice regardless of your diet. They are nutrient-dense and low in calories, making them great for nutrition and weight loss. However, for people with PCOS, green leafy vegetables such as kale or spinach have significant quantities of Vitamin B. Incredibly, more than 80% of women who suffer from PCOS have been discovered to be low in vitamin B.
Diet with a low glycemic index (GI)
Meals with a low GI are digested more slowly by the body, which means they do not cause insulin levels to increase as much or as rapidly as other foods, such as certain carbs. A low GI diet includes whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, starchy vegetables, and other unprocessed, low-carbohydrate foods.
The Good Fats
Obesity is not always the cause of PCOSCO. And fats are not always your enemies. There are numerous good fats in your diet that you may enjoy, from avocados to fatty salmon, and they are crucial for eating with PCOS. Healthy fats contain necessary fatty acids, which are essential components in the maintenance of cell walls. Not only that, but they are essential for optimal hormone balance and weight control.
Fertility and conception are two significant concerns for women suffering from PCOS, and fatty acids play an essential role in both. Omega 3, a fatty acid in foods such as fish and flax seeds, aids in hormone regulation.
Exercise for PCOS
Moderate activity, such as brisk walking, running, cycling, or swimming, can all assist with PCOS. It is necessary for women with PCOSCO to exercise daily.
PCOS is often associated with low mood as well. Exercise can boost serotonin production hence improving mood and strengthing your body. Doing 30 minutes or more daily can help with weight management, depression and anxiety symptoms, and increasing menstrual cycle and ovulation frequency.
These exercises are beneficial for decreasing insulin resistance, raising metabolic rate, and improving body composition. They lead to more muscle and less fat tissue.
Bodyweight activities such as push-ups, squats, and tricep dips enhance insulin function and raise metabolism by increasing muscle mass. More muscle means burning more calories when exercising and throughout the day, even when not exercising. Combining strength exercises with aerobic exercise is the most effective strategy to grow a lean physique, maintain a healthy BMI, and lower your risk of chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes.
Intervals require changing between brief bouts of high-intensity effort and lower-intensity rest. It’s a quick approach to improve your cardiovascular fitness, with added advantages for PCOS. Going hard on the spin bike burns more calories and decreases belly fat more effectively than a brisk stroll. This can help you lose 5 to 10% of your body weight, which has been shown in studies to reduce PCOS symptoms by lowering excess testosterone and improving insulin resistance.