How do you know if you have PCOS?Shearn
What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
Affecting some 10 percent of women of reproductive age, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance that causes ovulation dysfunction in the ovaries. Abnormal hormone levels prevent follicles in the ovaries from growing and maturing to release egg cells. As a result, women with PCOS have an overabundance of egg follicles, which accumulate in the ovaries.
PCOS can cause irregular or missed menstrual periods. This, in turn, can lead to an inability to get pregnant. Left untreated, the condition is among the most common causes of infertility in women.
Who can get PCOS?
PCOS can happen at any age after puberty. Women of all races are at risk of it, though no established prevalence among distinct ethnic groups has been shown. Your risk of PCOS may be higher if you have obesity, or if you have a mother, sister or aunt with PCOS.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
The most common PCOS symptoms are:
- Irregular period
Lack of ovulation, known as anovulation, and hormonal imbalance prevent the uterine lining from shedding every month. Some women with PCOS get fewer than eight periods a year.
- Infrequent bleeding
Bleeding can be heavier or lighter than normal as a consequence of anovulation.
- Hair growth
Up to 70 percent of women with PCOS have unwanted hair growth on the face and body, including on the back, belly, or chest.
Excessive male hormones can make the skin oilier than usual and cause breakouts in areas such as the face, chest, and upper back.
- Weight gain
More than half of women with PCOS are overweight or obese.
How to diagnose PCOS?
Women with PCOS can have a wide range of symptoms. For formal diagnosis, a patient must have at least two of the following:
- Irregular menstruation
- High level of male hormones shown through a blood test
- Ovaries with multiple follicles detected by ultrasound
PCOS and infertility
It is often believed that PCOS causes infertility. This is, in fact, incorrect, since PCOS is highly treatable. PCOS is a hormonal condition that interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries. Women with PCOS will usually take longer to get pregnant, often because they have irregular periods and do not ovulate every month
Management of PCOS and Infertility
Changes in diet and exercise routine can help regulate ovulation, though these can take some time, effort, and commitment to naturally enhance a patient’s fertility.
If you suffer from irregular periods as a consequence of PCOS, you should seek advice so that this can be treated. Ovulation induction pills with clomiphene can stimulate follicle development in order to promote ovulation. Alternatively, minimally invasive surgical treatment can be performed. The treatment offered is individualised and specific to each woman.
What we can do for you?
Women with PCOS who are actively trying to conceive should consult their gynecologist or a fertility specialist, who can prescribe medication to help stimulate ovulation. For more information, get in touch with the ALPHA IVF team at 03-6141 6166 or WhatsApp 012 568 6290 during business hours.
By: Dr Lam Wei Kian. Consultant O&G & Fertility Specialist, Alpha IVF