Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder, common among women of reproductive age. PCOS is a common health problem caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones. This imbalance creates problems in the ovaries. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels.
Dr. Shantell Neely- James General Practitioner/ Gynecologist at West Trade Medical, St. Catherine, identifies the condition as being very prevalent among Jamaican women as one in every 10 is being treated for PCOS, the condition she says is common among women between the ages of 18 and 35 years.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. However, early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss may reduce the risk of long-term complications, namely type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Dr. James in an interview with Jamaica Today says, “There are a number of treatment options for patients. The first being weight loss if the patient is obese. The second treatment option would be weight loss and Metformin and, thirdly, Metformin and oral contraceptive pills to improve the menstrual flow.”
She further explained that once treatment is received the patient’s overall condition improves, and recommends that you contact your doctor once you identify with any of the signs and symptoms listed:
- Irregular periods. Infrequent, irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles are the most common sign of PCOS.
- Excess androgen. Elevated levels of male hormone may result in physical signs such as excess facial and body hair and occasionally severe acne.
- Polycystic ovaries. Your ovaries might become enlarged and contain follicles that surrounds the eggs, as a result the ovaries might fail to function regularly.
A diagnosis of PCOS is made when you experience at least two of the mentioned signs.
Complications of PCOS include:
- Miscarriage or premature birth
- Gestational diabetes or pregnancy induced high blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes
- Sleep apnea
- Depression, anxiety and eating disorders
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Cancer of the uterine lining (endometrial cancer)
Obesity is associated with PCOS and can worsen complications of the disorder. If you experience any of the signs mentioned above, see your doctor. If you have concerns about your menstrual periods, if you are experiencing infertility or signs of excess androgen such as worsening hirsutism, acne and male pattern baldness see your doctor for treatment.
Your health… is your responsibility!