PCOS risk factors
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition associated with disorders in the endocrine system, sex hormone levels, and metabolism.
As a result, the egg doesn’t mature so there is no ovulation, and cysts are formed on the ovaries.
PCOS can affect a woman’s overall health, appearance, and fertility.
Five to ten percent of women all over the world aged 15−44 years have this condition, but the disease is most often diagnosed when a woman consults a doctor about conception issues. It is treatable, but it takes time.
The risk of PCOS is the highest if there is a hereditary factor, as well as excess weight.
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Polycystic ovary syndrome is associated with an upset hormonal balance, including increased production of male sex hormones (androgens). PCOS symptoms and signs include:
- irregular cycles
- loss of period, from 2 weeks to 2−3 months
- high body mass index and increased appetite
- excessive sebum production (greasy skin) and inflamed acne
- hair breaking or shedding, or even hair loss
- excess hair growth on the chest, abdomen, back, hips, chin, or above the upper lip
These symptoms don’t necessarily indicate the disease, but they’re reason enough to consult a doctor.
PCOS with irregular periods: why?
Regular menstruation and ovulation are signs of a full-fledged menstrual cycle and the proper functioning of the ovaries.
With polycystic ovary syndrome, there is an increased level of male sex hormones (androgens), which negatively affects the process of ovulation.
- The outer layer of the ovaries thickens, and a mature follicle cannot break it to release the egg.
- Ovulation doesn’t occur, the egg doesn’t leave the ovary, and the follicle turns into a cyst.
- The body lacks estrogen and progesterone produced by the ovaries, which are crucial for a full-fledged menstrual cycle.
- The endometrium matures so slowly that periods come much later (up to 90 days between cycles).
This disease is manageable. The most important thing is to be patient.
Read this next: a detailed interview about PCOS with Professor Tahir Mahmoud
PCOS treatment: maintaining a healthy weight Is crucial!
In most cases, the diagnosis of PCOS is accompanied by the body’s reduced sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. It may lead to an increase in appetite.
A high level of insulin stimulates the production of male sex hormones, which exacerbate polycystic manifestations.
Breaking the vicious circle is extremely difficult because it’s hard to stop eating when the hunger is caused by a hormonal imbalance.
A balanced diet and adequate physical activity are key; otherwise, treating polycystosis can be complicated.
Of course, adequate and balanced nutrition is of the utmost importance, but there’s no way around exercising.
You can, for example, work out every other day for at least 45 minutes, including calorie-burning exercises.
Optimal physical activity and adequate body weight promote the normal (not excessive) production of androgens (i.e., the male sex hormones), and the body’s cells are able to absorb insulin gets absorbed better.
Gradually, the response of the cells to normal amounts of insulin is restored, the blood sugar level drops, and the appetite decreases.
Weight loss normalizes carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It becomes easier to control the quantity and quality of food consumed.