PCOS: Effects and Symptoms

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PCOS: Effects and Symptoms

PCOS or Polycystic ovary syndrome has its cause in the hormonal imbalance, with small cysts developing on one or both the ovaries. This condition is characterized by side effects such as excessive body and facial hair, weight gain, infertility, acne and infrequent periods, with weight gain being the most common. Treatments options for PCOS vary depending on a number of factors. Exercise and a healthy diet, along with some medication will help maintain a steady weight. In part, PCOS can also be hereditary. This is why different women exhibit varied symptoms and at different ages.

PCOS Symptoms

PCOS has many symptoms and every woman may not experience all of them. The most common PCOS symptoms are irregular and missed periods, hirsutism (excess hair growth on face and body), excessive hair loss, skin darkening, sleep apnea, infertility and weight gain. When consulting a doctor, it is important you give accurate information, because treatment varies depending on the symptoms being presented & an accurate diagnosis is essential.

  • Majority of PCOS women gain considerable weight which invites various risks such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even endometrial cancer. It is helpful to even shed a few kilos, which may help to lessen the impact of other PCOS symptoms.
  • Another PCOS symptom is developing excessive male-pattern hair growth, such as on the upper lip, chin, abdomen, upper arms and inner thighs, which is attributed high androgen (male hormone) levels that trigger hair follicles.
  • Increased androgen levels also cause severe acne on face, back and chest - especially in adult women.
  • Irregular & heavy periods are another common symptom which causes infertility, as not getting regular periods can be a potential reason for trouble in getting pregnant.
  • The most important symptom is the insulin resistance in PCOS. As the body prepares higher levels of insulin, the skin develops thick, dark, velvety patches, which are generally found around the neck, groin and under the breasts.
  • Insulin resistance is also partly a potent risk factor for type 2 diabetes, because it occurs at a young age. Research has shown that at least half of the women with PCOS are diabetic before reaching 40.
  • Hormonal imbalance triggers depression, anxiety and eating, while distress could be due to the concern of battling with infertility, obesity and excessive hair growth.

PCOS Effects

PCOS Effects

Apart from the above there are some other side effects as well, such as:

  • Women with PCOS have insulin resistance, and increased insulin means more glucose that is stored in the bloodstream that turns into unhealthy fat.

  • Weight gain being a bigger PCOS side effect, leads to health risks such as

    • High cholesterol that may lead to heart disease and a stroke too
    • High blood pressure

  • Sleep apnea and endometrial cancer are an indirect PCOS side effect. The former being a sleep disorder that causes breathing to stop and start repeatedly, while the latter is a result of high levels of estrogen.

Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for PCOS, but ensuring your body gets adequate exercise and following a healthy diet will help minimize the impact of the PCOS side effects. Controlling your weight can help in dealing with high cholesterol, pre-diabetes symptoms and potential infertility.