16 year-old Rashi was a disturbed and depressed adolescent. After much coaxing, her worried mother managed to get her to talk about what was ailing her. Rashi had recently begun putting on weight, apparently for no reason, and she had also developed acne and an unusual amount of hair growth on her face, arms and legs. Her classmates in school had not been kind about this change and she had unfortunately become the butt of much ridicule. Her mother tried to console her by telling her that such problems were not uncommon at her age as her body was going through a lot of hormonal changes, but she decided to consult a gynaecologist any way. After examining Rashi, the doctor prescribed some blood tests and an ultrasound. Her reports showed that she had high androgen levels and was suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The doctor said the maladies Rashi was suffering from were all symptoms of the condition.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among the women of childbearing age. Women suffering from PCOS often have prolonged or infrequent menstrual periods, high androgen/male hormone levels and fail to ovulate regularly. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. Early diagnosis and treatment along with maintenance of proper weight may reduce the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Signs of PCOS often develop around the time of the first menstrual period, while at other instances it may develop due to weight gain. Common signs of PCOS are:
Other symptoms include:
PCOS signs and symptoms are more severe if you are obese.
Some common causes of PCOS include:
Complications of PCOS can include:
The doctor is likely to start with a discussion of your medical history, including your menstrual periods and weight changes. A physical exam includes checking for signs of excess hair growth, insulin resistance and acne.
Doctor may then recommend:
PCOS treatment might involve lifestyle changes and medication.
The doctor may recommend weight loss through balanced diet combined with moderate exercise activities. Losing weight may also increase the effectiveness of the medications that the doctor recommends for PCOS.
If you are experiencing irregular periods, hirsutism, acne, male-pattern baldness or finding it difficult to conceive, a visit to the doctor is recommended.
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