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Polycystic ovary syndrome: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder encountered in women. The ovaries in women produce hormones like oestrogen, progesterone and androgen which regulate the production of egg and cause ovulation. This disorder is characterised by increase in the androgenic (male) hormones especially testosterone in such affected women. This leads to defective production of eggs, which modify into cysts (fluid-filled structure). As more and more cysts are formed, the egg formation gets reduced. This, in turn disrupts the hormonal cycle which involves hormone production by hypothalamus, pituitary gland and ovaries, resulting in many abnormalities in the affected woman.

Polycystic ovary syndrome: Incidence, age and sex

Polycystic ovary syndrome occurs in almost 15-20% of child-bearing women. It is genetically related to the dominant X-chromosome. It most commonly affects teenage girls and women in their 20s.

Signs and symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome: Diagnosis

The primary clinical features of polycystic ovary syndrome include irregular menstrual cycle, increased growth of hair in other parts of body, occurrence of acne on the face and obesity. Affected women may experience infertility due to abnormal ovulatory menstrual cycles. The menstrual cycle usually get delayed and characterised by scanty menstrual flow or even amenorrhea at times. The affected women may have abnormal weight gain, which may be unexplained and difficult to control, by diet or exercises.

The diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome can be made by the gynaecologist by assessment of the individual by history and physical examination. It can be confirmed by performing ultrasonography of the pelvis which may show the cystic lesions in the ovary. Blood assays of hormonal levels may also help in corroborating the diagnosis.

Causes and prevention of polycystic ovary syndrome

The cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is still controversial. It is seen to be associated with high level of insulin in the blood, increased testosterone or androgens and obesity. Generic inheritance may also play a role in causation of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Polycystic ovary syndrome may be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and regular check-ups and maintaining normal insulin levels in the blood. Obesity may be prevented by eating healthy food and doing regular physical exercise.

Post-herpetic neuralgia: Complications

Polycystic ovary syndrome causes many complications like increased risk of heart disease by increasing cholesterol and C-reactive protein in blood. The affected women may also have increased chances of developing endometrial cancer. Moreover, fatty liver and occurrence of type 2 diabetes have also been associated with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Polycystic ovary syndrome: Treatment

The treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome includes management of the syndrome and its potential complications. The treatment for young females includes low-dose oestrogen and progesterone, which will help in decreasing the levels of testosterone and menstrual irregularities. Lifestyle changes like correcting the food habits and exercising may help in reducing the cyst formation. The affected women may consult an infertility specialist for difficulties in conceiving. Medications like clomiphene citrate may also be prescribed for stimulation of ovulation and hence increasing the chances of conceiving. Acne and hirsutism can be treated by prescribing appropriate medications by a specialist.