What is PCOS?PCOS is the abbreviation for Polycystic ovary syndrome. It is a hormonal disease, a endocrine pathology which affects many women: 1 woman out of 10 would suffer from it. PCOS is mostly the number one cause ofinfertility worldwide because women with PCOS experience anovulatory cycles. That is, menstrual cycles without ovulation. Attention, no amalgam, infertility, does not mean sterility ! Women with PCOS can get pregnant. It will, however, be more difficult and longer.
Why ovulation does not occur with polycystic ovary syndrome?
Even though the name is confusing, with PCOS there aren't actually any cysts that are a problem. With PCOS, the problem is more of the hormonal imbalance. This variation leads to strong fertility problems. The androgens, male hormones are found in excess. Their presence short-circuits the proper development of follicles in the ovary.
Little reminder. Follicles are kind of bags that contain oocytes. During the follicular phase, these follicles enlarge. Only one, more vigorous and stronger, matures. It contains the ovum which will be fertilized.
At the time ofovulation, the mature follicle detaches from the others and releases its egg in search of fertilization by a spermatozoon. With PCOS, the follicle does not mature. The follicles accumulate in the ovary and therefore ovulation does not take place.
Find all the information on the menstrual cycle and in particular ovulation in our Uninhibited guide to the menstrual cycle.
What are the causes of PCOS?
Researchers aren't completely sure yet. Genetics is one of the first favored reason. If members of your family have PCOS then you are more likely to be affected in turn. Other physicians and researchers have hypothesized an environmental cause (endocrine disruptors), but nothing is certified.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
The list of PCOS symptoms is long. Not all affected women experience the same symptoms. Symptoms also change over time.
At theadolescence, the girl suffers from irregular cycles, severe acne orhyperpilosity. Young adults (25-30 years old) experience a certain infertility. Around the forties an intolerance to carbohydrates is noticeable. To the menopause, women with PCOS are at risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Otherwise, the symptoms are many and very different. Hair loss, body hair, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, dark spots on the skin, cholesterol, fluctuating mood, low libido, pelvic pain or depression.
Hormonal variations have a direct impact on weight. A large majority of patients experience an intake or weight loss. Some women who have PCOS are in a situation ofobesity, but not all of them. It is also not surprising to note that the women concerned are more likely to experience eating disorders or Eating Behavior Disorders (TCA).
What is the diagnosis?Very often, the diagnosis is made only after adolescence. Acne and irregular cycles are not alarming at puberty and do not alert doctors. So very few young girls are diagnosed. On the other hand, the diagnosis falls very often for women wishing to become a mother. They do not succeed and consult. If two criteria out of the three are retained then a PCOS diagnosis can be established:
- menstrual cycle disorders, long then short cycles with absent periods, in short severely irregular periods ;
- a hyperandrogenism probative;
- the presence on ultrasound of 12 or more large follicles by ovary.
Ultrasound and blood test are therefore mandatory. Attending doctor but also specialist doctor (endocrinologist and gynecologist) can diagnose and bring solutions to live better with PCOS.
What is the treatment to cure PCOS?There is no traitement curative that definitely cures PCOS, today. On the other hand, there are many medical solutions to reduce the symptoms and regain (if desired pregnancy) stable ovulation.
The medical proposals are very diverse and will depend on the personal needs of each woman.
To erase thehirsutism and acne, estrogen-progestogen pill is often offered first. To regain effective ovulation, a treatment to stimulate it is proposed (for clomiphene citrate or exogenous gonadotropins injectables). If that's not enough, the WFP can also be a solution.
To treat all the “sides” and all the disabling symptoms of PCOS, you can very well turn to various specialists:
- For weight gain or loss, consulting a doctor-nutritionist is recommended. Diet plays a key role.
- THEosteopath can unblock and bring some mobility and thus relieve and perhaps lift hormonal blockages.
- Le psychologist or the psychiatrist will come to cure more psychological disorders and work with you, especially depressive episodes.
- Le sophrologist is particularly effective in calming anxiety, stress and helping you fight insomnia.
- Le sexologist will bring you the keys to solve your libido problems.
- For those who love more natural treatments. Some specialists, such as naturopaths can be very supportive.
Finally, we remind you that we will never replace your doctor. You have the slightest doubt, do not hesitate to consult. It is important to confide your concerns and to find an attentive ear to your health problems.
PCOS affects many women. And if no treatment is on the market today, solutions exist to erase the undesirable effects and find a viable ovulation.
We also invite you to take a look at the websites of associations dedicated to this pathology, such as Esp'OPK et Asso'PCOS. You will find many testimonials and detailed information there. Courage !