Thursday, June 14, 2018 by Zoey Sky
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) refers to a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels.
Individuals who have PCOS produce abnormally high amounts of male hormones. This hormone imbalance makes women have irregular menstrual periods.
PCOS usually affects women during their childbearing years. At least 2.2 to 26.7 percent of women in this age group develop PCOS. However, not all women are aware that they have the condition. According to a study, at least 70 percent of women haven’t been diagnosed.
PCOS affects the woman’s ovaries, the female reproductive organs that produce estrogen and progesterone. These are hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. The ovaries also produce a small amount of androgens or male hormones.
Known side effects of polycystic ovary syndrome
The side effects of polycystic ovary syndrome often manifest during an individual’s late teens or early twenties and they usually include:
- Difficulty getting pregnant due to irregular ovulation/failure to ovulate
- Hirsutism (excessive hair growth) which usually occurs on the face, back, buttocks, or chest
- Irregular periods or no periods at all
- Oily skin or acne
- Thinning hair and hair loss from the head
- Weight gain
Risk factors for polycystic ovary syndrome may include:
- Age — Women often experience the side effects of PCOS when they are between the ages of 15 to 30.
- A family history of PCOS
- Lifestyle — Having a sedentary lifestyle and not exercising regularly is a major risk factor for obesity.
- Obesity — Obesity can cause severe menstrual disturbances and hormonal imbalance.
Body systems harmed by polycystic ovary syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome may cause the following complications:
- Depression — Both hormonal changes and symptoms of PCOS can negatively affect a patient’s emotions and some patients often experience depression and anxiety.
- Endometrial cancer – During ovulation, the uterine lining sheds. If a woman doesn’t ovulate regularly every month, the lining may build up and increase their risk for endometrial cancer.
- Infertility — PCOS is a major cause of infertility in women.
- Metabolic syndrome — At least 80 percent of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. Both obesity and PCOS will increase a person’s risk of developing high blood sugar, high blood pressure, low HDL/”good” cholesterol, and high LDL/”bad” cholesterol. These factors are collectively known as metabolic syndrome, and they increase the risk for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
- Sleep apnea — A person with sleep apnea repeatedly pauses breathing during the night, which interrupts sleep. This condition is more common in overweight women and the risk is higher if they also have PCOS.
Food items or nutrients that may prevent polycystic ovary syndrome
The following foods or nutrients can help prevent polycystic ovary syndrome or address its side effects:
- Chromium — Chromium can help lower the body’s resistance to insulin and it also promotes healthy blood sugar levels. Sources include chicken breast, fresh fruits, liver, mushrooms, and whole wheat bread.
- Cinnamon bark — Cinnamon bark can help address symptoms like diarrhea, menstrual cramps, nausea, or vomiting. Dried cinnamon bark is also a natural pain reliever. Additionally, cinnamon bark has properties that support insulin production and it enhances the body’s ability to absorb sugar.
- Fish oil — Fish oil has essential fatty acids that can regulate hormone levels.
- Iron — Iron can help prevent patients with PCOS from developing anemia. Take some calcium with iron to improve absorption.
- Vitamin B and folic acid — These B vitamins can help control body weight. Both vitamin B and folic acid can also help metabolize glucose in the body.
- Vitamin D — The vitamin can help prevent vitamin D deficiency among women with PCOS.
Treatments, management plans for polycystic ovary syndrome
Treatment options for polycystic ovary syndrome may vary depending on the severity of a patient’s symptoms.
The best treatment for PCOS is weight management since weight loss can significantly improve the symptoms of overweight individuals. Here are some tips to help you lose weight:
- Exercise regularly.
- Follow a healthy and balanced diet. Eat lots of chicken, fish, fruits and vegetables (at least five portions daily), lean meats, and whole foods (like brown rice and wholegrain cereals).
Where to learn more
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) refers to a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels. Individuals who have PCOS produce abnormally high amounts of male hormones.
The side effects of polycystic ovary syndrome usually include oily skin or acne, thinning hair and hair loss from the head, and weight gain.
Polycystic ovary syndrome may cause complications like depression, endometrial cancer, infertility, metabolic syndrome, and sleep apnea.
Chromium, cinnamon bark, fish oil, iron, vitamin B and folic acid, and vitamin D can help prevent polycystic ovary syndrome or address its side effects.
Treatment options for polycystic ovary syndrome may vary depending on the severity of a patient’s symptoms. The best treatment for PCOS is weight management since weight loss can significantly improve the symptoms of overweight individuals.