Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects one in 10 American women of childbearing age. This condition involves irregular, prolonged, or extremely short menstrual periods. There is no specific cause for the disorder, but environmental changes and genetics may contribute to its development. The disorder causes the ovary to enlarge and grow tiny cysts filled with fluid on the edges. This causes the ovaries to malfunction.
Polycystic ovary syndrome has the following effects on the body:
1. Irregular periods
This is the main symptom of the PCOS. The skipped ovulation causes periods to occur less than nine times in a year. When they occur, they are abnormally heavy and last longer than usual. Also, one can experience spotting and or very light irregular periods.
2. Elevated androgen levels
Androgens are the hormones that stimulate hair growth in pubic and underarm areas. They are a group of male hormones present in the female body. These same hormones are responsible for excessive oil on hair and skin. This may cause severe acne, especially if one already has acne-prone skin. Darkening of some skin areas like the neck and under of the breasts can also be witnessed. If you notice male features dominating your body, like the hair on the chest, face, heavier abdomen, and hair loss on the scalp, it would be best to talk to a healthcare professional.
3. Weight gain
Weight gain is triggered by androgen. Weight from PCOS is mainly gained in the area of the abdomen. The condition causes insulin resistance, and the body cannot convert the glucose in the body to energy. It is, therefore, essential to watch your diet and weight to avoid more complications.
4. Excessive hair growth on face and chest
This is called hirsutism, caused by excessive androgen. An individual with PCOS will experience thicker hair on the body. The androgens will trigger hair growth on the face, chest, legs and arms. This is, however, not permanent and once treatment to balance hormones begin, in most cases, oral contraceptives, the excess hair will diminish.
5. Thinning of the hair on the head
The male hormone, which is in excess, may also bring about hair loss on the head. This begins with gradual thinning of the hair and may progress to balding. Again, any hair loss due to the disorder will grow back when oral hormonal contraceptives are administered to suppress the male hormones.
The symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome can bring about anxiety and depression and abnormal body changes. There also exists a risk of suffering from cardiovascular complications, miscarriages, infertility, endometrial cancer, and metabolic syndrome if the condition is left untreated.