What Is Polycystic ovary Syndrome?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (say “pah-lee-SIS-tik OH-vuh-ree SIN-drohm”) is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with your periods and make it difficult to get pregnant. PCOS also may cause unwanted changes in the way you look. If it isn’t treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Most women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries. That is why it is called polycystic ovary syndrome. The cysts are not harmful but lead to hormone imbalances.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help control the symptoms and prevent long-term problems.
Following are some facts about Polycystic ovary syndrome:
1. Women with PCOS have higher rates of anxiety and depression than women without the syndrome.
2. Worldwide, PCOS affects 6% to 10% of women, making it the most common endocrinopathy in women of childbearing age.
3. Elevated insulin or insulin resistance are not part of the diagnostic criteria for PCOS but are seen in the majority of women with PCOS.
4. The diagnotic criteria for PCOS states that a women has PCOS if she has at least 2 of the following 3 criteria: a. Irregular or absent periods, b. blood tests or physical signs that show high androgens, c. Polycystic ovaries
5.The United States spends an estimated $4 billion annually to identify and manage PCOS.
6. Women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea due to the influence of androgens affecting sleep receptors in the brain.
7. Women with PCOS can have monthly menstrual cycles and still have PCOS.
8. Despite its name, not all women with PCOS actually have cysts on their ovaries.
9. Characteristics of PCOS were first described in 1935 by researchers Stein and Leventhal.
10. There are at least 10 different phenotypes associated with PCOS.
11. Both myo-inositol and n-acetyl cysteine (NAC) have been shown to improve fertility and metabolic aspects of PCOS.
12. PCOS is the most common cause of ovulatory infertility.
13. Know your numbers: women with PCOS have a 70% prevalence of elevated triglycerides and low HDL (“good” cholesterol). Changes to diet and lifestyle can improve levels.
14. In PCOS, there is a rapid conversion from impaired glucose tolerance to type 2 diabetes. For this reason, theAndrogen Excess and PCOS Society recommends yearly blood screening.
15. Women with PCOS have more testosterone and can build muscle easier than women without the syndrome.
16. It is important if you are taking metformin or oral contraceptives to also take a B12 supplement as the drug can interfere with absorption of the vitamin. A lack of B12 can cause permanent and serious problems.
17. The cysts typically seen in PCOS are actually the result of a hormonal imbalance, not the cause of the syndrome.
18. One of the earliest signs of elevated androgens in adolescents with PCOS is acne.
19. There is a lack of evidence that supports a very low carb or gluten free diet as an effective eating plan over other diets for women with PCOS.
20. Fish oil improves almost every aspect of PCOS from improving hair quality to mood.
21. Eating protein and/or fat-containing foods every 3 to 5 hours throughout the day may help to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent cravings in PCOS.
22. Regular exercise is an effective way to improve insulin levels in PCOS.
23. As women with PCOS get older, they are likely to experience more regular menstrual cycles.
24. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in women with PCOS at middle age is 6.8 times higher than that of the general female population.
25. A number of studies demonstrate that modest weight loss of 5-10% of initial body weight improves metabolic, physiological and psychological aspects of PCOS.
26. The optimal treatment for PCOS is a multifactorial approach involving diet and lifestyle modification and medications.
27. Women with PCOS have a higher incidence of gestational diabetes, miscarriages, preterm deliveries, and stillbirths.
28. It is estimated that 50-70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance.
29. Vitamin D, a hormone and a vitamin, has been shown to play a role in insulin resistance and egg development.
30. If left untreated, PCOS can lead to numerous chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. With treatment, these conditions can be prevented.