Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS is a hormonal and reproductive disorder. It occurs because of certain hormone imbalances. With PCOS, a woman’s body secretes abnormally high levels of male hormones (androgens) and this counteracts her ovaries’ ability to make enough of the female hormone (progesterone) needed for normal menstruation. Because of the low level of female hormones, women with PCOS typically have fewer periods than most women (called oligomenorrhea) and sometimes have no periods at all (called amenorrhea). Their periods can also be irregular with lengthy bleeding episodes, light or heavy flows, or frequent spotting.
Most but not all women with PCOS get small, pea-size cysts on their ovaries. The cysts are caused by follicles (fluid-filled sacs that contain an egg) that have matured in the ovary, but because of the abnormal hormone levels, were never released. In PCOS, one or both of the ovaries can also become enlarged, sometimes up to 1.5-3 times their normal size.
How many people have PCOS?
It is estimated that more than 1 in 10 women are afflicted with PCOS.
Who does PCOS affect?
PCOS has the greatest impact on women of child bearing age as it is the number one cause of infertility in women.
What causes PCOS?
No one knows exactly what causes PCOS. Genetics are thought to be a factor, but the environment may also play a part.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
There are numerous symptoms of PCOS. Some women may only have one or two and others may have them all. The symptoms include, but are not limited to:
1. Infrequent periods, no periods, and/or irregular bleeding
2. Inability to get pregnant
4. Excess hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, arms and legs
5. Male pattern baldness
6. Weight gain
7. Diabetes, and
8. Velvety, light brown-to-black markings on the skin around the neck and under the arms.
What are the treatments for PCOS?
PCOS can not be cured, but the symptoms can be managed. If a woman does not plan to become pregnant, she can take birth control pills to regulate her periods, reduce male hormone levels in her blood, and clear her acne.
One medication to treat Type-2 diabetes, known as Metformin or Glucophage, affects the way insulin regulates glucose and decreases testosterone production. However, doctors discovered that when some women with PCOS take this drug, ovulation can return to normal and abnormal hair growth can slow down after a few months of use.
For women who have trouble with getting pregnant, fertility drugs can be given to stimulate ovulation.
Maintaining a healthy weight can also help women manage PCOS. Physical activity and a healthy diet will help the body lower glucose levels, use insulin more efficiently, and may restore normal periods.
Does PCOS put you at risk for other serious conditions?
Women with PCOS experience a combination of symptoms that can lead to other serious conditions such as obesity, depression, heart disease, diabetes, and infertility. In fact, PCOS is the #1 cause of infertility in women.
What is the goal of PCOS Challenge?
The PCOS Challenge online and offline programs provide fitness, nutrition, and mental wellness coaching from leading experts to help women who struggle with PCOS symptoms regain their confidence and completely transform your lives. By participating in the program, women not only have the opportunity to create new, healthier bodies, but also success habits that can last a life-time.
There are many myths and misconceptions about endometriosis. In this short introduction to endometriosis we provide short answers to frequently asked questions –
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is also found elsewhere in the body, mainly in the abdominal cavity.
Who gets endometriosis?
Endometriosis typically affects women during their menstruating years – also known as their “reproductive years”. These are typically the years between the onset of menstruation until menopause.
It is estimated that 176 million women across the world has endometriosis – this is one in ten women during the reproductive years (10%).
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain. The pain is often with menstruation, during ovulation, and/or in connection with sexual intercourse. However a woman with endometriosis may also experience pain at other times during her monthly cycle. Another symptoms is infertility, and some women with endometriosis also experience severe fatigue.
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
The only way to diagnose endometriosis for sure is during a laparoscopy, which is a small surgical procedure. However, many physicians are able to “diagnose” endometriosis based on a woman’s symptoms ,ULTRASONOGRAPHY and start treatment on that basis.
Is there a cure for endometriosis?
No. But it can be treated, and for many women it is possible to manage their symptoms through a combination of long term treatments.
Is endometriosis a sexually transmitted disease or infectious?
No. Endometriosis cannot be transferred from one human being to another. The cause of endometriosis is not yet known, but it is not an infectious disease.
Is endometriosis inherited?
The cause of endometriosis is not yet known, but research does show that first-degree relatives of women with this disease have a seven-fold risk of developing endometriosis.
Will I be able to have children?
It is estimated that 30-40% of women with endometriosis may have difficulties in becoming pregnant. This, however, means that 60-70% will have no problems. If fertility is a great wish, then please discuss your symptoms with your physician so that together you can develop the best treatment plan for you.
Will pregnancy cure endometriosis?
No. Some women find that their pain symptoms are reduced during pregnancy, but this is not the case for everyone. In most cases, endometriosis will return after giving birth and stopping breast feeding.
Is endometriosis cancer?
No. Endometriosis cysts are sometimes referred to as “beningn tumours”, because they may “behave similarly” to cancer, but endometriosis is not the same disease. In very rare cases, endometriotic implants has lead to cancer, but this is very very rare. Some research suggests that some women with endometriosis may be at a slightly higher risk of developing certain cancers but this is still controversial.