PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a widespread health issue wherein the ovaries in a woman start producing an abnormal amount of androgens – the male sex hormones.
It affects around 8% -13% of reproductive age women in Australia, and 21% is Indigenous women. It affects everything from a women’s fertility to mental health to heart disease.
If you’ve been affected too, here are the most frequently asked questions about POCS that you need to know.
What causes PCOS?
No one exactly knows what causes PCOS. But scientists blame genetics as it is often inherited from someone like a sister or a mother who also has it.
Another cause can be the imbalance of hormones levels such as insulin and androgens. So, if someone is insulin-resistant, their body reacts by producing more insulin, which increases the production of androgens causing PCOS.
Does my family medical history put me at higher risk for PCOS?
Yes, women who have a mother, aunt, or sister with PCOS are 50 percent more likely to develop PCOS.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
The most common symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods or no periods at all. Some women are more prone to Acne and Hirsutism (excessive hair).
For women of reproductive age, PCOS can cause difficulty getting pregnant because it causes irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate. A lot of women find they’ve PCOS only when their pregnancy becomes unsuccessful.
Does PCOS increase my chance of developing other health issues?
The answer is yes. PCOS increases the risk of developing other health concerns later in life, including developing Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol leading to heart disease.
Some women can also develop sleeplessness due to interrupted breathing at night.
Can PCOS lead to cancer?
PCOS increases the risk of some types of cancer, but there is still no conclusive evidence that PCOS can lead to cancer.
Because PCOS enhances your risk for diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, it is possible that someone with PCOS might also have an increased risk of endometrial cancer.
A study about cancer risk and PCOS found that women with PCOS have a 2.7 times higher risk for developing endometrial cancer.
What is the best treatment approach for my PCOS?
Eating a healthy diet can help manage the symptoms of PCOS. For instance, eating enough healthy protein can improve insulin sensitivity.
Another important aspect is maintaining a healthy weight. A gradual weight loss through a low-calorie diet is a good start to treat PCOS.
Do irregular periods mean I have PCOS?
Irregular period is a common symptom of PCOS; however, a lot of women diagnosed with the disease also have no problems with periods at all.
So, if someone is suffering from irregular periods for a long time, a diagnosis is essential. Do remember, you can have PCOS and regular periods too.