Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a health problem caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones. Because of the imbalance, the hormones create problems in the ovaries. With PCOS, the egg that is released during your menstrual cycle may not develop as it should, or may not be released during ovulation, leaving you to have complications.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can lead to missed or irregular menstrual periods. Irregular periods are known for causing infertility and ovarian cysts.
Causes of PCOS
While the exact causes of PCOS are not known, many specialists think that high levels of different hormones and genetic factors play a role.
· High levels of insulin
Experts believe high levels of insulin can contribute to PCOS. This hormone helps convert sugars and starches into energy. Insulin resistance is when a body’s cells do not respond to insulin. Because of this, insulin blood levels become higher. Many women with polycystic ovarian syndrome have insulin resistance.
· High levels of androgens
Androgen hormones control the development of male traits. Women with PCOS often produce more androgen hormones than estrogen hormones. Estrogen hormones are considered the “female hormone.” Higher than normal androgen levels prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg during the menstrual cycle. Higher levels of androgen can also cause extra hair growth and acne, which are two signs of PCOS.
If your mother or sister had/has PCOS, you are more likely to develop this health problem. While there is not much information available on how PCOS is caused exactly, researchers are conducting more research to see if there are certain genes linked to PCOS.
Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Symptoms of PCOS generally start after a woman menstruates for the first time, but it can also develop during the reproductive process. Symptoms and severity of them vary from person to person. Some common warning signs of polycystic ovarian syndrome include:
· Excess hair growth
Too much hair on the face and other parts of the body where men usually have hair could be a sign of PCOS. This is called hirsutism, which affects 70% of women with PCOS.
· Irregular menstrual cycles
Women with PCOS may miss periods or have irregular cycles. This includes periods coming more often than 21 days in between the cycles or stopping the menstrual cycle all together.
Acne can start showing up more often on the face, back, and chest.
· Weight gain
While you may not experience all of these symptoms, they are linked to women who suffer from this condition.
PCOS Treatment in New Jersey
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is common in women ages 14-60. If you are experiencing irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, infertility, or have signs of excess androgens, you should visit a gynecologist to get tests done. Some of the testing to find out if you have PCOS include a blood test, and/or a vaginal ultrasound.
If you are scheduling your first gynecologist appointment or are looking to switch doctors, look no further! Dr. Quartell and his staff would be happy to see you. With more than 40 years of experience, Dr. Quartell has seen it all. For more information about his practice or to schedule your appointment, please contact us today.