In the previous article, we have introduced you to the basics of PCOS, its causes and symptoms. Therefore, now we will go ahead with its long-term health effects on women.
PCOS is a health disorder caused by metabolic and hormonal imbalance affecting almost 10% of women. In women suffering from PCOS, the production of androgens is significantly enhanced. Androgens are ‘male’ hormones usually found in very low numbers in the bodies of women. PCOS also causes a drop in the levels of progesterone (a sex hormone important for regular menstrual cycles and healthy pregnancy). Another hormone related to PCOS is Insulin. The increase in the level of insulin often results in metabolism related problems.
A person is suspected of suffering from PCOS upon meeting a minimum of two out of three conditions listed below.
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Apparent excessive production of androgen manifested by excess body/facial hair or an increase in the presence of testosterone in the blood
- Having various cyst-like formations in the ovaries
If the doctors feel that there are chances of PCOS, they might want to find out the patient’s detailed health history including any surgeries, social and family background. Blood tests will be performed to find out the hormones and blood sugar levels. Finally, the doctor would conduct a pelvic ultrasound (sonogram) of the patient’s ovaries and uterus. The doctor may also examine other conditions such as diabetes and heart problems. This is because women with PCOS have double the risk of acquiring these health issues.
Long-term health effects of PCOS
Undetected PCOS might lead to the following.
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Sleep apnea
- Metabolism related problems
Treatment and management
PCOS cannot be treated. However, the symptoms can be managed by adhering to suggested medication and lifestyle changes. Some commonly prescribed medications for this condition include a combination of birth control pills and insulin-sensitizing drugs. Given that PCOS can also lead to diabetes or heart diseases over time, corrective action right at the outset becomes imperative.
PCOS is a commonly occurring health problem among women. However, it is important to diagnose and manage PCOS if symptoms are witnessed. If PCOS is not detected on time, it can result in a number of debilitating long-term health problems. Hence, early diagnosis and management of this condition are recommended!
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