Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by the presence of small cysts on the ovaries, which leads to hormonal imbalances, particularly elevated levels of androgens (male hormones), and ovulation disturbances.
The main symptoms of PCOS include:
- Menstrual irregularities: Irregular or infrequent periods, or even the absence of menstruation.
- Hyperandrogenism: Increased levels of male hormones can lead to acne, excessive hair growth (hirsutism), and male-pattern baldness.
- Polycystic ovarian morphology: Small cysts on the surface of the ovaries are visible during ultrasound examination.
PCOS can have a negative impact on a woman's fertility as ovulation disorders make it difficult or impossible to conceive. Additionally, women with PCOS may be more prone to obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
The exact cause of PCOS is not fully understood, but genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors play important roles in its development. The diagnosis of PCOS involves thorough medical and hormonal screening, ultrasound examination, and ruling out other potential causes of similar symptoms.
Treatment for PCOS includes lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and regular physical activity, which can help normalize hormone levels. In some cases, hormonal medications may be prescribed to regulate menstruation and reduce androgen levels. For women with PCOS who want to conceive, medications to induce ovulation or assisted reproduction techniques may be recommended.
It's important for women with suspected PCOS to seek medical help and regularly monitor their health to prevent complications and improve overall quality of life.