Polycystic ovary syndrome affects women all over the world and is one of the leading causes of infertility. With symptoms that are not always easy to define, it’s important for women to have an understanding of the condition.
What is polycystic ovary syndrome?
During normal ovulation, the follicles in which an egg has been maturing rupture and release the egg into the fallopian tubes. In women who have polycystic ovary syndrome, the eggs do not mature properly due to excissive amounts of male hormones (androgens) and the follicle never ruptures. Sometimes these follicles will reabsorb into the body, while other times they remain present on the ovary as a cyst.
What are the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome?
The main indicator of polycystic ovary syndrome is a large amount of cysts visible on the ovaries during an ultrasound examination. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome are often overweight due to improper insulin levels. These women may also suffer from acne, dandruff, skin tags, excessive body hair growth and pelvic pain that varies in severity. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome may also suffer from anxiety, depression and sleep apnea.
What causes polycystic ovary syndrome?
There is no definitive cause for polycystic ovary syndrome, however, it is believed that factors such as hereditary may play a role in the onset and development of the condition. Improper insulin production is also believed to contribute to the production of excess androgens.
Can polycystic ovary syndrome affect fertility?
Polycystic ovary syndrome is one of the leading causes of infertility and many women suffering from this condition need the help of fertility medications and surgery in order to become pregnant. Fertility is negatively impacted by polycystic ovary syndrome because of the absence of ovulation. Eggs are unable to mature properly and are never released, making it very difficult for women with polycystic ovary syndrome to become pregnant.
What treatments are available for polycystic ovary syndrome?
There is no cure for polycystic ovary syndrome, however, there are options to help manage the symptoms of the condition. Lifestyle changes combined with medications and even surgery may be beneficial. Changes in diet and exercise, such as eliminating and reducing processed foods with added sugars and maintaining a healthy exercise routine may have a positive impact on health and lessen the severity of symptoms. Since many women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome are overweight, these lifestyle changes may have even more benefit for the woman and may be enough to help restore ovulation and menstruation. Medications, such as hormonal birth control, diabetes medications and anti-androgens may increase the level of female hormones and decrease the levels of androgens in the woman’s body and reduce symptoms. In some cases, such as in women with large amounts of cysts or women hoping to become pregnant but have been unresponsive to fertility medications, surgery may be an option.
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