PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is a common hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by a combination of symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles, excess production of androgens (male hormones), and the formation of small cysts on the ovaries. The exact cause of PCOS is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
One of the primary features of PCOS is an imbalance in sex hormone levels, particularly elevated levels of androgens such as testosterone. This hormonal imbalance disrupts the normal functioning of the ovaries, leading to irregular or absent menstrual periods and problems with ovulation. As a result, many women with PCOS experience difficulties in conceiving. In addition, the excess androgens can contribute to the development of physical symptoms like acne, hirsutism (excessive hair growth), and hair loss.
PCOS is also associated with various metabolic issues, including insulin resistance, which can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Women with PCOS may have a higher likelihood of obesity, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Managing PCOS often involves a multidisciplinary approach, including lifestyle changes (such as maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise), medications to regulate hormone levels, and addressing specific symptoms and concerns of each individual.