Many treatments fall under the umbrella of Complementary and Alternative Medicine or CAM. Some of the most commonly used CAM therapies include: Acupuncture Chiropractic Food counseling Herbalism Massa...
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a prevalent health issue that strikes 1 in 10 women of childbearing age, according to Women’s Health. Those with PCOS suffer from hormonal imbalances and metabolism problems that can affect their appearance, health, fertility, mental state, and overall quality of life. From diabetes to cancer, let’s discuss the condition that plagues a growing number of women throughout America, as well as how to control its symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of PCOS?
If you have PCOS, you may experience one or more of the following:
- Irregular menstrual cycle. Having an erratic menstrual cycle is the first sign of PCOS. You may:
- Have fewer periods (less than eight) in a year.
- Have periods come every 21 days or sooner.
- Stop having menstrual periods altogether.
- Be unable to ovulate or become pregnant.
- Acne on your face, chest, and upper back.
- Excessive hair growth might appear on your face, back, or parts of your body where men usually have hair. This condition is called hirsutism, which affects up to 70 percent of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
- Male-pattern baldness, thinning hair, or hair loss on the scalp.
- Darkening of your skin, particularly along the groin, underneath the breasts, and in neck creases.
- Skin tags, which are excess flaps of skin that may arise in your armpits or neck area.
What Causes PCOS?
The exact cause of PCOS remains unknown. Most experts presume that several factors, including high levels of androgens and insulin, as well as genetics, play a role in its occurrence.
What are the Health Problems Associated with PCOS?
Further affecting women’s quality of life, studies have discovered links between PCOS and these health problems:
- High blood pressure
- Unhealthy cholesterol
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleep apnea
- Female-specific cancers
What is the Link Between PCOS and Cancer?
If you are among the five million women in the United States with PCOS, you have a high risk of developing endometrial cancer. Diabetes, hypertension, and obesity may confound your raised risk — all of which are known associates of endometrial cancer. Your ovarian cancer risk is also increased by about two- to three-folds.
Because oral contraceptives have a known protective effect against endometrial and ovarian cancer risks, you should discuss this possible preventative therapy with your doctor.
What is the Cure for PCOS?
Unfortunately, because the cause is unknown, there is no identified cure for PCOS. However, you can manage its symptoms.
What Reduces PCOS Symptoms and Improves Quality of Life?
Changing your unhealthy lifestyle is the best way to combat the effects of PCOS on your overall health and appearance. For example, forming healthy eating habits and exercising can help relieve PCOS-related symptoms, such as irregular menstrual cycles and excessive weight gain.
Losing weight is another big factor. Weight loss may help improve the way your body uses insulin, lower your blood glucose levels, and allow your hormones to reach normal levels. Even a 10 percent loss in body weight can help make your menstrual cycle more regular and better your chances at getting pregnant.
A Final Word
If you have difficulty managing PCOS, work with your doctor to create a treatment plan based on your signs and symptoms, your plans for having babies, and your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and long-term health problems such as cancer. PCOS is and should be a manageable condition. Do not let it take over your life.