Overcome your PCOS

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) also known as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome is a most common hormone problem in women of child-bearing age and affects in the region of 5 – 10% of women. This syndrome is often associated with infertility but does affect women in other ways.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is diagnosed only present if 2 of the 3 following criteria are seen:

• Diagnosed by ultrasound and not related to any other cause
• Excess of androgen activity
• No ovulation (Anovulation) or ovulating occasionally not every month (Oligovulation)

Although difficult to establish its cause but many as 50% of women are overweight with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, when you're overweight it is difficult for the body to produce enough or to regulate the body's insulin production. Many doctors think that being overweight is due to PCOS rather than the other way round.

If the body is making too much insulin and it is not absorbed fully, women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome may find that their ovaries are making too many androgens or male hormones. If there is excess of androgens this can show many of the symptoms associated with PCOS, such as:

• Excess weight
• Excess facial hair
• Thinning hair or male pattern baldness
• A discolouration of skin in areas around the breasts, under the arms and around the groin.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is highlighted or associated with other systemic areas which need to be dealt by your physician with is as follows:

• High blood pressure - complications can lead to life threatening issues for both you and your baby. Even if you do not yet have these complications, you should be aware of them. Pregnancy and high blood pressure
• High cholesterol level & heart disease
• Type II diabetes (usually late onset diabetes in adulthood)
• Sleep apnea or (Sleep apnoea in British English)

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can be diagnosed by:

• Pelvic ultrasound – showing cysts on ovaries or may show polycystic ovaries (see Ovarian Cyst removal)
• Blood tests showing high LH (luteinizing hormone) to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) ratio. Normal ratio should be 1:1. PCOS patient this can be raised to 2:1
• High insulin levels
• Amount of free testosterone flowing through the body
• High glucose levels
• If thyroid levels low this is also another marker

So what is happening with women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, well there is an imbalance between LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) so follicles don’t mature or ovulate and they get stuck on the surface of their ovaries a bit like in suspended animation. So there is no ovulation, no monthly period instead irregular periods which may not be heavy because the uterine lining has become thickened due to not shedding on a regular basis.

Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome if they do get pregnant may have a higher rate of miscarriage and are likely to develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. So it is best to take insulin lowering medication although it is not clear if these medications lower the risk of miscarriage. Click this link for successful PCOS treatment. Known by thousands of women worldwide.