What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and How Is It Treated?

As we all know, the ovaries are part of the female sex organs and have a principal function in producing sex hormones and eggs.

In general terms, they are a pair of oval-shaped structures, very similar to the shape of an almond with a grayish color, that are attached to both sides of the uterus and the pelvic wall. They are also very small and don’t weigh much.

Due to their characteristics, you could say that the ovaries do the same thing as the male testicles. Today, we’re going to provide clear answers to these two questions: what is polycystic ovarian syndrome and how is it treated?

What Is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a syndrome or symptom that specifically consists of a disruption in the sex hormones. Among other things, this illness causes problems in getting pregnant, ovarian cysts, changes in the menstrual cycle, and, in general, some other specific problems. It is also know as the Stein-Leventhal Syndrome and is considered to be one of the main illnesses among women in their reproductive stage. Although its causes and symptoms are different and complicated, the majority of the time it is associated with genetics.

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As we already said, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome causes changes in the production of certain hormones, mainly estrogen and progesterone, which are in charge of helping the ovaries release eggs. Also, this syndrome affects androgen as well, which, as its name indicates, is a masculine hormone that is nonetheless found in women. Therefore, the Stein-Leventhal Syndrome makes it very difficult for a woman’s ovaries to release mature or completely developed eggs. This means that the latter don’t detach from the ovary, which can cause small cysts to form in this part of the body.

In this sense, a cyst is a type of bulge or bag that has its own tissue. The majority of the time it has semisolid or fluid material, or just air. It is very common for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome to appear in young women from 20 to 30 years old, although in some cases, adolescents that are starting their first menstrual cycle suffer from it. However, that is very rare. But, as we mentioned earlier, women that have PCOS tend to have a relative that had it or at the very least suffered from the same symptoms or very similar ones.

What Are the Symptoms?

Some of the most common symptoms are oligomenorrhea and amenorrhea. That means missing or having irregular menstrual cycles, as well as the amount of fluid that ranges from very little to a lot, depending on the case. Also, infertility problems that are due mainly to the lack of ovulation and metabolic disorders that cause obesity and changes in the way insulin is processed. If it is small, you shouldn’t forget that PCOS can cause serious hormonal changes, thanks mostly to androgen, like an increase in hair on the chest and face, reduction in breast size, deepening of the voice, hair loss or baldness, enlargement of the clitoris, excessive build up that manifests itself in the form of acne and accumulation or fat creases in areas like the groin, neck, armpits, and breasts.

How Is It Detected?

To detect this illness, you must do some tests along with an analysis of the medical history of the patient. These tests usually consist of a physical exam, especially of the pelvis, with which they try to detect inflammation in the ovaries or the clitoris. Also, they calculate the body mass index (BMI), and the weight and size of the abdomen of the person. Obviously, the other very important exams that help stipulate if the patient suffers from PCOS are blood tests. They can check the hormone levels of estrogen, testosterone, as well as glucose, lipids, prolactin, and thyroid through those blood tests. Lastly, the doctors can suggest an ultrasound of the vagina or a pelvic laparoscopy. Don’t forget that the patient’s medical history must be taken into account if they suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or high cholesterol.

Polycystic Ovary Treatment

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After having undergone the necessary tests, if Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is detected, treatment must be started. First and foremost, a very important aspect is to reduce, if necessary, bodyweight, mainly because in this way other diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can be treated better. Also, because there is a big possibility for the patient to get pregnant. They tend to give oral medicine as well, especially contraceptive pills. The production of androgen is regulated with them, causing menstrual cycles to be more regular, combating physical changes, infertility, and acne problems. Nonetheless, there are also other options for all of the above like diabetes medicine, hormones, clomiphene citrate, spironolactone or flutamide pills, or elfornithine cream.

In certain cases, surgery is necessary to remove the cysts. These types of operations are only done in certain cases of course, mostly when the cysts have formed and they are impossible to remove with medicine or another treatment. The operation to remove the cysts is simple in reality and it doesn’t usually have serious side effects. Surgery is also an excellent option to treat infertility. It is very important to keep in mind that patients that have PSOC should constantly try to maintain a proper diet. Likewise, it is extremely dangerous to undergo a treatment like this if a good diagnosis has not been done, since the hormones tend to be very delicate and can only be administered by a qualified specialist.

It is important to clarify that this illness is easy to treat and solve if you undergo the correct treatment. In many cases, the final result is the patient getting pregnant, although at the risk of having high blood pressure and diabetes during gestation. Furthermore, people that suffer from PSOC have more chances of suffering from endometrial or breast cancer, as well as sterility. Obviously, if any of these symptoms that we mentioned earlier are noted, you should see a specialized doctor to determine if you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or not. Women in their reproductive stage are the most susceptible and thus they should be the most concerned.

As with any other type of illness, PSOC can have very influential effects on the patient. As we said before, women can suffer from infertility or serious problems in getting pregnant. As we all know, conception is one of the biggest dreams of couples around the world. Therefore, it is recommended to take proper precautions so that, if necessary, you can start treatment as soon as possible. Women that suffer from this syndrome shouldn’t worry. They should have faith and be motivated, thanks to the huge advances in current medicine that make things easier.