Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most commonly happening hormonal disorder in young girls and women of reproductive age, especially those between the ages of 17 and 45. It may even affect girls as young as 10 years old.
About one in every 10 to 15 women in the world suffer from PCOS.
Why it happened?
Most commonly, Lack of physical activity, obesity, overproduction of testosterone (a male sex hormone found in women in small quantities) and a family history of Polycystic ovary syndrome(PCOS) are the most common factors involved in this condition.
Insulin resistance is also a commonly cited cause for PCOS, as it is the main factor contributing to increased testosterone levels.
Insulin is a hormone naturally produced by the body to lower blood sugar. During insulin resistance, the insulin becomes ineffective in lowering the blood sugar and it can raise to dangerous levels.
This, in turn, triggers the body to produce more insulin. The cycle continues and ultimately causes a high blood insulin level.
The most common symptom of PCOS is irregular menstrual cycle.
The disorder triggers a testosterone-overload in the body. This excess testosterone leads to the growth of cysts in the ovaries. The cysts prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs, thereby obstructing menstruation.
It is considered normal to have irregular periods during the teenage years. While this may be true in some cases, it might also be an early indication of PCOS, especially when accompanied by other symptoms.
Irregular periods during teenage years are positively associated with PCOS and infertility in the future, according to a 2014 study published in Human Reproduction.
Furthermore, if irregular menstruation persists well into the late teens or beyond, this is an even stronger indication of PCOS.
Obesity, Weight Gain and an Inability to Lose Weight
Polycystic ovary syndrome(PCOS) patients are not always obese, but they are usually not thin. A woman who has PCOS is likely to have a slow metabolism and pack on more pounds than is considered normal for her height and body structure.
About 50 percent of women diagnosed with PCOS are either overweight and most of them have substantial abdominal fat, according to a 2002 study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Other Related Metabolic Disorders.
One of the most common symptoms of PCOS is an inability to lose weight. Despite sincere efforts, a woman who has PCOS will often struggle to shed even a pound or two.
If you notice your peers getting spectacular weight loss results following the same diet and workout routine as you, but you are still stuck where you began or lagging far behind, this might be a cause for concern.
Hair Thinning and Loss
Some of you might be losing a lot of hair while shampooing, or waking up to an alarming number of hair strands on your pillow in the morning.
Hair thinning and rapid hair loss is a common sign of a hormonal imbalance, especially PCOS.
PCOS triggers an overload of testosterone in the body. The overactive testosterone travels to the scalp and converts to its derivative dihydrotestosterone (DHT) when it interacts with the enzyme found in hair follicles.
The DHT then binds with the hair follicles and causes them to shrink. This slows down the hair’s growth process, causing it to become thinner and thinner.
This might also explain the hair’s weak and brittle nature, making it more susceptible to breakage.
If your acne has persisted into your 20s and beyond the age of 25, you might be suffering from PCOS.
Like hirsutism, this type of persistent acne is a result of a testosterone overload which stimulates oil production in the sebaceous glands.
PCOS-associated acne commonly occurs around the cheeks, chin, jaw line and the upper neck. It is more likely to develop in the form of hard bumps under the skin rather than visibly overt bumps.
They persist longer than regular acne and might flare up right before a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle.
They may be red in appearance and might often be accompanied by a painful white or yellowish head.