Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is the most common and hard to diagnose endocrine disorder among females of reproductive age. Approximately 5-10% of women are affected by this condition; and due to a high number of undiagnosed cases, the number of sufferers may be as great as 1out of 10 women. In the United States alone, as many as 5 million are said to live with PCOS. The most alarming aspect of this condition is that, many women know little about it.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome’s name is derived from the physical symptom that manifests within the reproductive system. Those with this tell-tale sign will experience engorging of the ovaries due to the formation of numerous diminutive cysts along the external edges of the ovary. Other major symptoms which characterize PCOS are as follows:
- Absent, irregular or lengthened menstrual cycles.
- Extreme insulin resistance and carbohydrate intolerance.
- Higher levels of androgens, which may lead to excessive acne and hair growth.
- Undue weight gain and/or obesity with normal caloric intake.
- Infertility and/or difficulty in conceiving.
Additionally, there are a variety of other small indicators that may also be present. With the numerous assortment of ways PCOS manifests, practitioners have labeled it tricky to diagnosis.
So what are the causes? Unfortunately, that answer is not all too clear. However, the Mayo Clinic suggests multiple factors from: Excessive Insulin, low-grade inflammation, heredity, and abnormal fetal development. Also, the clinical severity of PCOS seems to be highly influenced by the obesity of the individual.
While, PCOS is not initially life threatening; it can lead to complications, if left untreated. Those with PCOS are at higher risk of: Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and lipid abnormalities, ovarian and/or uterine cancers, as wells as, heart disease. It is highly recommended that one gets themselves checked out if PCOS is suspected.
So, is there good news? Yes, PCOS is highly treatable, both medically and holistically. Currently, there are various prescriptions and/or procedures to manage it. Medically, insulin sensitizing medications, anti-androgens, fertility agents, anti-obesity drugs, steroidal hormones, IVF, and/or surgery has had tremendous success. While, regular exercise, maintaining a well-balanced diet, implementing a supplement regiment and alternative medicinal therapies like: Acupuncture, chiropractic care and/or massage fared well on the holistic end.
Ultimately, PCOS doesn’t have to be a disorder that wreaks havoc in your life. For more information visit the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association site.