Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone disorder that occurs in women of childbearing age. PCOS is characterized by menstrual disorders and excessive levels of masculine hormones (androgens).
Excessive androgen hormones in PCOS sufferers can cause the ovaries or ovaries to produce many fluid-filled sacs. This condition causes the egg cells to not develop properly and fail to be released regularly.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome can also cause sufferers to be infertile (infertile), and more prone to diabetes and high blood pressure.
Causes of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Until now, it is not known exactly what causes PCOS. However, there are several factors that are thought to be associated with PCOS, namely:
- Excess insulin hormone
Insulin is a hormone that lowers blood sugar levels. Excessive insulin levels cause an increase in the production of androgen hormones and a decrease in the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
- Genetic factors
This is because some PCOS sufferers also have family members who suffer from PCOS.
Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome can occur when a woman has her first period at puberty. Although PCOS symptoms often appear as teenagers, there are also PCOS sufferers who only experience symptoms as adults or during certain periods, for example when their weight increases significantly.
Here are the symptoms of PCOS:
- Menstrual disorders
PCOS is often characterized by irregular or prolonged menstrual periods. For example, PCOS sufferers will only experience menstruation less than 8-9 times in 1 year. The interval between periods can be less than 21 days or more than 35 days, or menstrual blood is heavy.
- Symptoms due to increased androgen hormone levels
Increased levels of androgen hormones in women with PCOS can cause physical symptoms like men, such as the growth of thick hair on the face and body (hirsutism), as well as the appearance of severe acne and baldness.
- Multiple ovarian cysts
In PCOS sufferers, pockets of cysts can be found around the egg (ovary).
- Dark skin color
Some parts of the body with PCOS can darken, especially in the folds, such as the neck folds, groin, and under the breasts.
When to go to the doctor
Check with your doctor if you have PCOS symptoms, such as irregular periods. Untreated polycystic ovarian syndrome can make it difficult for the sufferer to get pregnant or be infertile because the egg cannot be released (no ovulation).
People with PCOS who are pregnant are also at risk for premature delivery, miscarriage, high blood pressure, or gestational diabetes. Therefore, do regular check-ups with the obstetrician during pregnancy so that the health conditions of the mother and fetus are monitored.
Diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
The doctor will ask about the patient’s symptoms, followed by a physical examination to detect signs of PCOS, such as excessive hair growth or severe acne. The doctor will also perform an examination of the female reproductive organs.
After a physical examination, the doctor will perform additional examinations which include:
- Blood tests, to check androgen hormone levels, blood sugar tolerance tests, and cholesterol levels, which are often elevated in PCOS
- Pelvic ultrasound, to check the thickness of the patient’s uterine lining with the help of sound waves
If the patient is confirmed to have PCOS, the doctor will perform a number of other tests to detect complications that may occur due to PCOS.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Treatment
Treatment for PCOS depends on the symptoms the patient is experiencing, such as hirsutism, infertility, or severe acne. Following are the methods for dealing with PCOS:
- Lifestyle Change
The doctor will recommend exercise and a low-calorie diet to lose weight. This is because the symptoms of PCOS will subside as the patient’s weight decreases. In addition, exercise is also useful to increase the effectiveness of drugs and help increase patient fertility.
Doctors can give you a combination of birth control pills with other drugs to control the menstrual cycle. The hormones estrogen and progesterone in birth control pills can suppress the production of androgen hormones in the body.
Doctors may also recommend taking progesterone alone for 10–14 days for 1–2 months. The use of this hormone can regulate the menstrual cycle is disturbed.
Other drugs that can be used to normalize the menstrual cycle and help with ovulation are:
In addition to birth control pills, doctors can give spironolactone drugs to reduce the symptoms of hirsutism due to excess androgen hormones. Spironolactone can counteract the effects of androgens on the skin, namely the growth of thick hair and severe acne.
Special medical procedures
In addition to the several treatment methods above, doctors can recommend patients to perform electrolysis to remove body hair. With low electric current, electrolysis can destroy hair follicles within a few treatments.
Complications of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Untreated PCOS can put the sufferer at risk for the following complications:
- Sleep disturbance
- Eating disorders
- Anxiety and depression disorders
- Miscarriage or premature birth
- Hypertension during pregnancy
- Diabetes and gestational diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Endometrial cancer
Prevention of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is difficult to prevent, but by maintaining an ideal body weight, symptoms and the risk of complications can be reduced. Here are ways you can do to maintain an ideal body weight:
- Limit consumption of sweet foods
- Increase fiber consumption
- Exercise regularly