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PCOS, hormonal, ovulation, symptoms

PCOS: What you should know

Written by: Kiara Lipschitz



Time to read 6 min

Keywords: PCOS, hormonal, ovulation, symptoms

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects one in ten  women of childbearing age.

What is PCOS, and what happens in the body when you have it? What are its impacts, and how does it get triggered? What symptoms do you experience, at what age does it start, and does it go away on its own? Let us have a deeper look into PCOS.

PCOS, hormonal, ovulation, symptoms

1. The Hormonal Imbalances and Health Risks of PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is primarily characterized by an o verproduction of androgens , male sex hormones usually present in women in small amounts.

This hormonal imbalance can lead to a buildup of insulin levels in the body, which may further increase androgen levels.

Obesity can exacerbate these symptoms, as excess fat causes the body to produce even more insulin.

The physical manifestations of PCOS can range from missed or irregular periods, weight gain, especially around the abdomen, and excess body hair, to more severe symptoms like infertility 

Moreover, women with PCOS are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and endometrial cancer.

The emotional toll of dealing with these symptoms can also be significant. It's crucial to understand that untreated PCOS doesn't just go away on its own; it can lead to serious health complications. Therefore, early detection and appropriate treatment are incredibly important. 

PCOS, hormonal, ovulation, symptoms

2. The Broader Impacts of PCOS: Conception, Pregnancy, and Menopause

PCOS can significantly impact a woman's ability to conceive, the course of her pregnancy, and her experience of menopause.

Firstly, PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women, with studies showing that around 70-80% of women with PCOS struggle with fertility issues.

This is primarily due to irregular ovulation or lack of ovulation altogether.

Secondly, during pregnancy, women with PCOS are at an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes, hypertension, and preeclampsia during pregnancy.

Lastly, while PCOS symptoms may decrease with age, the hormonal imbalances can exacerbate menopause symptoms.

Post-menopausal women with a history of PCOS are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Early detection and treatment of PCOS can help manage these risks. Regular check-ups, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and medication (if necessary) can go a long way in managing PCOS effectively. 

Women's Health

2.1. PCOS and conception

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects a woman's ovulation process , making conception more challenging.

As previously mentioned, women with PCOS have higher than normal levels of testosterone , which can lead to irregular or absent menstrual cycles.

These irregularities can make it difficult to predict ovulation, a crucial factor in conception.

Furthermore, the ovaries of women with PCOS often contain multiple small cysts, which can inhibit the development and release of eggs.

This lack of ovulation, known as anovulation , is a primary reason why women with PCOS may struggle to conceive.

It's important to note that the severity of these symptoms can vary greatly among women, with some experiencing only mild symptoms and others facing more severe challenges.

However, despite these hurdles, most women with PCOS will be able to conceive with the aid of fertility treatments. 

PCOS, hormonal, ovulation, symptoms

2.2. PCOS and pregnancy

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can present unique challenges during pregnancy.

Women with PCOS are at an increased risk of complications such as miscarriage , gestational diabetes , preeclampsia, and preterm birth.

This is primarily due to hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance , common in PCOS, which can affect the body's ability to sustain a healthy pregnancy.

However, it's crucial to remember that each woman's experience with PCOS and pregnancy is unique, and many women with PCOS have successful pregnancies.

To support hormonal balance during pregnancy, women with PCOS can adopt a holistic approach that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and close monitoring of weight and blood sugar levels.

Additionally, healthcare providers may recommend supplements like berberine or myo-inositol known to improve insulin resistance and reduce inflammation.

It's important to consult with a healthcare provider to create a tailored plan that suits your specific needs during pregnancy.

2.3. PCOS and menopause

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and menopause are both hormonal conditions, but they interact in complex ways.

Women with PCOS tend to reach menopause a few years later than women without the condition.

This delay is due to the hormonal imbalances characteristic of PCOS, which can disrupt the regular menstrual cycle and delay the onset of menopause.

However, reaching menopause does not cure or eliminate PCOS .

Women may continue to experience symptoms  of PCOS during and after menopause, including high blood sugar levels that can exacerbate PCOS symptoms.

Hormonal tests are crucial in managing PCOS during menopause, as they can help monitor and regulate hormone levels, mitigating the severity of PCOS symptoms. Understanding these interactions between PCOS and menopause is critical for women to effectively manage their hormonal health. 

PCOS, hormonal, ovulation, symptoms

3. Statistical Data on PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) t ypically begins in adolescence , around the onset of a woman's first period, though it can also develop later in life.

The condition affects approximately 8 - 13 % of women of reproductive age , making it a significant health concern.

The most common symptoms reported by women with PCOS are irregular periods, excessive hair growth, and weight gain .

However, the severity of these symptoms can vary widely among individuals.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention , more than half of women with PCOS develop type 2 diabetes by age 40.

It's also important to note that while being overweight is associated with PCOS, many women of normal weight also have the condition. 

4. The Diagnosis and Treatment of PCOS

Diagnosing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can be challenging due to its diverse symptoms and the need to exclude other potential diseases.

The Rotterdam criteria , which require women to exhibit two of the following symptoms: androgen excess, ovulatory dysfunction, or polycystic ovaries, is commonly used for diagnosis.

However, the criteria may vary for adolescents and women nearing or after menopause.

For instance, ovarian imaging is not recommended for adolescents due to the commonality of the body’s morphological changes during puberty.

For peri-menopausal women, historical oligo-ovulation status (irregular or infrequent periods) and age-specific criteria  are considered.

Recent research has focused on identifying potential biomarkers like Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and certain regulatory microRNAs for PCOS  diagnosis.

However, more studies are needed to confirm their effectiveness.

Once diagnosed, treatment for PCOS often involves lifestyle changes , such as diet and exercise, and medication to manage symptoms and prevent complications. 

PCOS, hormonal, ovulation, symptoms

5. Test Yourself At Home For PCOS

Do you suspect you might have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) but lack clarity? The OptimallyMe at-home PCOS Test  sheds light on your hormonal health.

Wondering if PCOS could be behind your:

  • Missed or irregular periods?

  • Fertility struggles?

  • Excess body hair, acne, or other skin issues?

  • Unexplained weight gain?

Our test analyses key biomarkers to provide a comprehensive picture:

  • Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG)

  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

  • Testosterone

Gain valuable insights to:

  • Understand your PCOS symptoms better

  • Rule out other potential conditions

  • Develop a personalised plan to manage your health

The OptimallyMe PCOS Test  Advantage:

  • Convenient at-home testing with clear instructions

  • Fast results within 48 hours delivered via a user-friendly AI dashboard

  • Actionable data to optimize your well-being

Take control of your health. Identify if you have PCOS. Order your OptimallyMe PCOS Test  today.

For optimal accuracy, take the test on the 2nd or 3rd day of your period.

Embrace a healthier you. Get the answers you deserve.

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