What the first sign of PCOS, symptoms and treatment

WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Join Now
Instagram Follow Us
YouTube Subscribe
5/5 - (1 vote)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by a combination of symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles, excess androgen levels (male hormones), and Polycystic ovaries (enlarged ovaries containing fluid-filled sacs called follicles). Women with PCOS may also experience symptoms such as acne, excessive facial or body hair growth, and weight gain.PCOS is a complex condition with underlying hormonal and metabolic imbalances.

It can lead to difficulties with ovulation, fertility problems, insulin resistance, and an increased risk of long-term health issues such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.The exact cause of PCOS is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Management of PCOS typically involves lifestyle changes such as weight loss, dietary modifications, regular exercise, and medications to regulate menstrual cycles, reduce androgen levels, and improve insulin sensitivity.

What the first signs of PCOS

The signs and symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can vary widely among women, and not all women with polycystic ovary syndrome will experience the same symptoms. However, some common signs and symptoms that may indicate PCOS include:

  1. Irregular menstrual cycles: Women with PCOS often have irregular periods, which may include periods that occur infrequently, too frequently, or are unpredictable in timing.
  2. Excess androgen levels: Elevated levels of androgens, often referred to as male hormones, can cause symptoms such as acne, oily skin, excessive facial or body hair growth (hirsutism), and male-pattern baldness.
  3. Polycystic ovaries: Enlarged ovaries with multiple small fluid-filled sacs called follicles can be detected during an ultrasound examination. Despite the name, not all women with PCOS develop cysts on their ovaries.
  4. Insulin resistance: Many women with polycystic ovary syndrome have insulin resistance, which can lead to high levels of insulin in the blood. This may manifest as weight gain, particularly around the abdomen, and difficulty losing weight.
  5. Weight gain or obesity: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome may have difficulty managing their weight, and obesity is common among those with the condition.
  6. Difficulty getting pregnant (infertility): polycystic ovary syndrome is a leading cause of infertility due to irregular ovulation or lack of ovulation.
  7. Other symptoms: Additional symptoms may include mood swings, fatigue, pelvic pain, and sleep disturbances.

It’s important to note that not all women with PCOS will experience all of these symptoms, and the severity of symptoms can vary widely. Some women may only have mild symptoms, while others may experience more severe symptoms that significantly impact their quality of life.

If you suspect you may have polycystic ovary syndrome based on your symptoms, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and appropriate management plan. Early detection and treatment can help manage symptoms, reduce the risk of complications, and improve overall health outcomes.

What causes PCOS?

The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of insulin resistance, Hormonal imbalance, Genetics, Inflammation and Life style. Several factors may contribute to the development of PCOS:

  1. Hormonal Imbalance: Women with PCOS often have higher-than-normal levels of androgens, which are sometimes referred to as male hormones. These elevated androgen levels can disrupt the normal function of the ovaries and lead to symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles, acne, and excessive hair growth.
  2. Insulin Resistance: Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Many women with polycystic ovary syndrome have insulin resistance, which means their bodies do not respond effectively to insulin, leading to high levels of insulin in the blood. Insulin resistance is believed to contribute to the overproduction of androgens by the ovaries and can also lead to weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
  3. Genetics: There appears to be a genetic component to PCOS, as it tends to run in families. Women with a family history of PCOS are more likely to develop the condition themselves.
  4. Lifestyle Factors: Certain lifestyle factors, such as obesity and lack of physical activity, may also increase the risk of developing PCOS or exacerbate symptoms in women who already have the condition.
  5. Inflammation: Chronic low-grade inflammation may play a role in the development of PCOS and its associated complications.

While these factors are thought to contribute to the development of PCOS, the interplay between genetics, hormones, and environmental factors is complex and not fully understood. Research into the underlying causes of PCOS is ongoing, and scientists continue to explore new avenues for understanding and treating this common hormonal disorder.

Pathogenesis of PCOS

Polycystic ovaries develop when the ovaries are stimulated to produce excessive amounts of androgenic hormones, in particular testosterone, by either one or a combination of the following (almost certainly combined with genetic susceptibility):

The release of excessive luteinizing hormone (LH) by the anterior pituitary gland through high levels of insulin in the blood (hyperinsulinaemia) in women whose ovaries are sensitive to this stimulus

A majority of women with PCOS have insulin resistance and/or are obese, which is a strong risk factor for insulin resistance, although insulin resistance is a common finding among women with PCOS in normal-weight women as well. Elevated insulin levels contribute to or cause the abnormalities seen in the hypothalamic–pituitary–ovarian axis that lead to PCOS. Hyperinsulinemia increases GnRH pulse frequency, which in turn results in an increase in the LH/FSH ratio increased ovarian androgen production; decreased follicular maturation; and decreased SHBG binding.

Furthermore, excessive insulin increases the activity of 17α-hydroxylase, which catalyzes the conversion of progesterone to androstenedione, which is in turn converted to testosterone. The combined effects of hyperinsulinemia contribute to an increased risk of PCOS.

Adipose (fat) tissue possesses aromatase, an enzyme that converts androstenedione to estrone and testosterone to estradiol. The excess of adipose tissue in obese women creates the paradox of having both excess androgens (which are responsible for hirsutism and virilization) and excess estrogens (which inhibit FSH via negative feedback).

The syndrome acquired its most widely used name due to the common sign on ultrasound examination of multiple (poly) ovarian cysts. These “cysts” are in fact immature ovarian follicles. The follicles have developed from primordial follicles, but this development has stopped (“arrested”) at an early stage, due to the disturbed ovarian function. The follicles may be oriented along the ovarian periphery, appearing as a ‘string of pearls’ on ultrasound examination.

PCOS may be associated with chronic inflammation with several investigators correlating inflammatory mediators with anovulation and other PCOS symptoms. Similarly, there seems to be a relation between PCOS and an increased level of oxidative stress.

How is PCOS diagnosed?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and various tests to assess symptoms and hormonal imbalances. The diagnostic process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Medical History: The healthcare provider will ask about your menstrual cycles, symptoms such as acne and hair growth patterns, and any family history of PCOS or related conditions.
  2. Physical Examination: A physical examination may be performed to assess signs of polycystic ovary syndrome, such as acne, excessive hair growth (hirsutism), and signs of insulin resistance such as weight gain or abdominal obesity.
  3. Blood Tests: Blood tests may be conducted to measure hormone levels, including testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and insulin. Elevated levels of testosterone and LH, along with a high LH-to-FSH ratio, are common findings in women with PCOS. Blood tests may also be used to assess other markers such as fasting glucose and lipid levels.
  4. Pelvic Ultrasound: A pelvic ultrasound may be performed to visualize the ovaries and detect any abnormalities such as enlarged ovaries with multiple small fluid-filled sacs called follicles. However, it’s important to note that the presence of polycystic ovaries alone is not sufficient for a diagnosis of PCOS, as many women with polycystic ovaries do not have PCOS, and some women with PCOS do not have polycystic ovaries.
  5. Exclusion of Other Conditions: Other conditions with similar symptoms, such as thyroid disorders and adrenal disorders, may need to be ruled out before a diagnosis of PCOS is confirmed.

The diagnostic criteria for PCOS may vary slightly among healthcare providers and medical organizations. The Rotterdam criteria, established by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, are commonly used to diagnose PCOS. According to these criteria, a woman may be diagnosed with PCOS if she meets at least two of the following three criteria:

You May Like: Dehydration, Stress and more: Causes of sudden fainting

  • Irregular or absent menstrual cycles
  • Clinical and/or biochemical signs of hyperandrogenism (elevated androgen levels or symptoms such as hirsutism or acne)
  • Polycystic ovaries on ultrasound

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management of PCOS. Early detection and treatment can help alleviate symptoms, reduce the risk of long-term complications, and improve overall health outcomes.

Assessment and Testing

The assessment and testing of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) typically involve a combination of medical history, physical examination, and various tests to evaluate symptoms and hormonal imbalances. Here are the key components of the assessment and testing process for PCOS:

  1. Medical History:
    • The healthcare provider will conduct a thorough medical history, including questions about menstrual cycles, symptoms such as acne and excessive hair growth, and any family history of PCOS or related conditions.
  2. Physical Examination:
    • A physical examination may be performed to assess signs of PCOS, such as acne, hirsutism (excessive hair growth), male-pattern baldness, and signs of insulin resistance such as weight gain or abdominal obesity.
  3. Blood Tests:
    • Hormonal blood tests may be conducted to measure levels of various hormones, including testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and insulin. Elevated levels of testosterone and LH, along with a high LH-to-FSH ratio, are common findings in women with PCOS.
    • Additional blood tests may be performed to assess markers of insulin resistance, such as fasting glucose, insulin, and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c).
  4. Pelvic Ultrasound:
    • A pelvic ultrasound may be performed to visualize the ovaries and detect any structural abnormalities, such as enlarged ovaries with multiple small fluid-filled sacs called follicles. However, it’s important to note that the presence of polycystic ovaries alone is not sufficient for a diagnosis of PCOS, as many women with polycystic ovaries do not have PCOS, and some women with PCOS do not have polycystic ovaries.
  5. Exclusion of Other Conditions:
    • Other conditions with similar symptoms, such as thyroid disorders, adrenal disorders, and hyperprolactinemia, may need to be ruled out before a diagnosis of PCOS is confirmed.
  6. Rotterdam Criteria:
    • The Rotterdam criteria, established by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, are commonly used to diagnose PCOS. According to these criteria, a woman may be diagnosed with PCOS if she meets at least two of the following three criteria: irregular or absent menstrual cycles, clinical and/or biochemical signs of hyperandrogenism, and polycystic ovaries on ultrasound.

The assessment and testing process for PCOS should be conducted by a healthcare provider with expertise in the diagnosis and management of hormonal disorders. Early detection and diagnosis of PCOS are essential for implementing appropriate treatment and preventing long-term complications. It’s important for women with suspected PCOS to undergo comprehensive evaluation and follow-up with their healthcare providers for personalized management and support.

PCOD vs PCOS

PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) are often used interchangeably, but there are slight differences between the two terms.

  1. Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD): PCOD primarily refers to the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries. These cysts are small, fluid-filled sacs that can develop within the ovaries. PCOD is a structural condition characterized by enlarged ovaries with multiple small follicles (cysts) that can be detected through ultrasound imaging. PCOD may or may not be associated with hormonal imbalances or specific symptoms. Some women with PCOD may have regular menstrual cycles and no apparent symptoms. PCOD is often considered a milder form of the condition and may not always meet the diagnostic criteria for PCOS.
  2. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a broader hormonal disorder that involves not only the presence of ovarian cysts but also other hormonal imbalances and symptoms. In addition to ovarian cysts, PCOS is characterized by symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles, excess androgens (male hormones), hirsutism (excessive hair growth), acne, and insulin resistance. PCOS is diagnosed based on a combination of symptoms, hormonal imbalances, and ultrasound findings, according to established diagnostic criteria such as the Rotterdam criteria. PCOS is associated with an increased risk of long-term health complications such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infertility.

While PCOD and PCOS share some similarities, PCOS encompasses a broader spectrum of hormonal and metabolic disturbances, along with specific symptoms beyond the presence of ovarian cysts. It’s essential for women with either PCOD or PCOS to receive proper medical evaluation and management tailored to their individual symptoms and health needs.

How do you treat PCOS in early stages?

Treating polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in the early stages often involves addressing symptoms and managing hormonal imbalances to prevent the progression of the condition and reduce the risk of long-term complications. Here are some approaches to treating polycystic ovary syndrome in the early stages:

  1. Lifestyle Modifications:
    • Healthy Diet: Adopting a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help improve insulin sensitivity and manage weight. Limiting processed foods, sugary snacks, and refined carbohydrates may also be beneficial.
    • Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity, such as aerobic exercise and strength training, can help improve insulin sensitivity, promote weight loss, and regulate menstrual cycles.
  2. Weight Management:
    • For women who are overweight or obese, weight loss through diet and exercise may help improve symptoms of PCOS, including irregular menstrual cycles and insulin resistance.
    • Even modest weight loss of 5-10% of body weight can lead to improvements in insulin sensitivity, hormone levels, and menstrual regularity.
  3. Medications:
    • Birth Control Pills: Oral contraceptive pills containing estrogen and progestin can help regulate menstrual cycles, reduce androgen levels, and alleviate symptoms such as acne and excessive hair growth.
    • Anti-Androgen Medications: Medications such as spironolactone and finasteride may be prescribed to block the effects of androgens and reduce symptoms such as hirsutism and acne.
    • Metformin: Metformin, a medication commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, may be prescribed to improve insulin sensitivity and regulate menstrual cycles in women with PCOS, particularly those with insulin resistance or glucose intolerance.
  4. Regular Monitoring and Follow-Up:
    • Regular monitoring of hormone levels, blood glucose, lipid levels, and blood pressure can help assess treatment effectiveness and detect any potential complications.
    • Follow-up appointments with healthcare providers, including gynecologists, endocrinologists, and nutritionists, can help ensure that treatment plans are tailored to individual needs and adjusted as necessary.
  5. Education and Support:
    • Education about PCOS, its symptoms, and its potential impact on long-term health can empower women to make informed decisions about their treatment and lifestyle choices.
    • Support groups and online communities can provide valuable emotional support, practical advice, and resources for women living with PCOS.

Early intervention and comprehensive management strategies can help women with PCOS effectively manage their symptoms, improve their overall health, and reduce the risk of complications associated with the condition. It’s important for women with PCOS to work closely with their healthcare providers to develop personalized treatment plans that address their specific needs and goals.

If you’re referring to a warning about taking medications, particularly for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or any other condition, it’s crucial to follow your healthcare provider’s guidance and adhere to the prescribed dosage and instructions.

Remember, medication intake warnings may vary depending on the specific medication and individual health factors. Always consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about your medications or treatment plan.

Reference

  1. Kollmann M, Martins WP, Raine-Fenning N (2014). “Terms and thresholds for the ultrasound evaluation of the ovaries in women with hyperandrogenic anovulation”. Human Reproduction Update. 20 (3): 463–464. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmu005. PMID24516084.
  2. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Condition Information”. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. January 31, 2017. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  3. “What causes PCOS?”. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. 29 September 2022.
  4. Mortada R, Williams T (August 2015). “Metabolic Syndrome: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome”. FP Essentials (Review). 435: 30–42. PMID26280343.

A professional blogger, Since 2022, This Website Pharma Push is a Professional Educational Plateform. Here we will provide you Pharma related information..

Sharing Is Caring:

Leave a Comment