What causes PCOS?

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a serious women’s health issue in which hormones are out of balance. PCOS can make menstrual cycles irregular and cause infertility. In fact, it is the leading cause of infertility for women. As many as 1 in 15 women are affected by it. Over time, it can lead to diabetes and heart disease. However, there are treatments designed to help control the symptoms and avoid long term problems.

Hormones are out of balance

It is not clearly understood what causes PCOS. Hormones are chemical messengers that give direction to the body in many different ways for very important functions. Normally the ovaries will produce a small amount of a male hormone called androgen. With PCOS, androgen production is increased for unknown reasons. The side effects include the cessation of ovulation, acne and increased facial and body hair. PCOS may also cause insulin resistance causing blood sugar levels to go up and increasing the risk of diabetes.

Symptoms may be mild and can start in the teen years. Acne, difficulty losing weight, extra hair, thinning hair on the scalp, irregular periods sometimes with very heavy bleeding, infertility and often depression are all symptoms of the disorder, but not what causes PCOS. Often cysts will develop on the ovaries as a result. They are not harmful, but do contribute to the hormone imbalance.

PCOS appears to be hereditary and genetic since it runs in families. Having a mother or grandmother with PCOS will increase your odds of developing it.

PCOS can be treated

Treatment for PCOS requires discipline and motivation. Exercising and eating healthy foods in order to maintain a healthy weight are imperative to controlling the disorder. There are also medications which can be taken including birth control pills which may help even out hormone levels. Birth control pills will regulate periods and reduce some symptoms like acne and unwanted hair. An androgen-lowering medication like spironolactone may also help, but cannot be taken if you are trying to achieve pregnancy. There is a diabetes medication called metformin which can also help to restore regular menstrual cycles and even fertility.

What causes PCOS may not be known, but there are ways to treat it. And if depression is part of your experience with PCOS look for a therapist who has experience with this particular type of health challenge. There are health care providers who are trained to help.

Source: Webmd


 
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