Women should be aware of PCOS
Menstrual irregularities are just one sign of PCOS, which also includes male hormone-effect symptoms like acne, male pattern hair loss or hair growth. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the top reasons that women may struggle to get pregnant. But, even if you’re not trying to conceive, it’s important to treat this endocrine condition.
Irregular or infrequent periods are a common symptom. In my work as an endocrinologist who focuses on reproductive health issues, up to 85 per cent of the women who come to see me because they only get periods occasionally have PCOS.
The name is a bit of a misnomer. Most women with PCOS don’t have cysts. What appears on their ultrasounds are actually follicles. Usually, these sacs, which contain and ultimately release eggs, are tiny and hard to see in a scan. But in women with PCOS, the follicles grow larger than they would in women without the condition.
In a normal menstrual cycle, the lining of the uterus builds up and sheds. But, in PCOS, if the periods are infrequent, the uterine lining can continue to build without shedding. If this continues over time, the risk of abnormalities in the uterine lining increases. In the worst-case scenario, this can contribute to endometrial cancer.
Menstrual irregularities are just one sign of PCOS, which also includes male hormone-effect symptoms like acne, male pattern hair loss or growth.Hair loss, unwanted hair and acne can be distressing enough on their own, but research also shows women with PCOS are at an increased risk of depression and some types of anxiety.
Among women, male-pattern hair growth or loss are also clues that someone is likely insulin resistant and her body can’t effectively respond to the insulin it produces to help manage blood sugar levels. Most women who have PCOS have insulin resistance. For advice on how to manage PCOS symptoms go to thestar.com/life