What are the symptoms and consequences of polycystic ovary syndrome? Here are the expert's answers.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is considered to be the most common endocrine disorder in childbearing age. In fact, it affects about 5-10% of women and, although the causes are not yet known, the possible consequences on the body and the female organism are known.
Specifically, it is a syndrome characterized by:
- alterations of a metabolic nature (hyperandrogenism, insulin resistance);
- presence of ovarian cysts in both ovaries, but also only in one;
- endocrinological alterations;
- enlarged ovaries.
What is described is a rather broad picture that leads to the onset of several symptoms including excessive facial hair, acne, irregular or sometimes absent menstrual cycle. In this sense, an early diagnosis can be decisive as various conditions are related to polycystic ovary syndrome (such as insulin resistance), which if not treated in time can cause health problems in women. In some cases, polycystic ovary syndrome could also affect the chances of becoming pregnant.
However, there are several possible treatments in the case of polycystic ovary syndrome, to be evaluated based on the specific health condition of the patient.
To deepen the subject, we asked for the consultation of Dr. Elisabetta Colonese, surgeon, specializing in Gynecology and Obstetrics, couple infertility therapy.
- What is that
- What are the causes
- What are the symptoms
- What are the consequences
- What are the possible treatments
What is that
«It is a real syndrome because it is a set of signs and symptoms that give a characteristic picture of this pathology. To talk about polycystic ovary syndrome, it is necessary to find in the patient an increase in androgens (therefore hyperandrogenism), anovularity or alterations in ovulation which then affect the menstrual cycle and the typical ultrasound ovarian appearance of the polycystic ovary "explains the expert.
What are the causes
“At the base, there seems to be a hereditary factor, but in reality the pathogenesis is still unknown, so there are no real causes. Rather, there are women who have a predisposition to develop polycystic ovary syndrome on a hereditary basis "specifies Dr. Colonese.
What are the symptoms
"Polycystic ovary syndrome presents symptoms that can manifest themselves differently in patients. In fact, there are women who have fewer symptoms and others who have more because they are generally associated with ovulatory problems, infertility problems and very irregular cycles even 2/3 times a year on the basis of hyperandrogenism ".
What are the consequences
"Polycystic ovary syndrome can cause hyperandrogenism, a condition that manifests itself with the increase of hair in the woman's body where it should not be present, hair loss, very greasy and seborrheic skin, acne. All this is a vicious circle because then on a physical level, this hormonal imbalance represents a predisposition towards insulin resistance. In fact, if these patients do not act with an adequate lifestyle, they tend to develop insulin resistance. The latter can be a problem in a woman's life due to cardiovascular problems that can lead, in the worst cases, to metabolic syndrome. In addition, these women are predisposed to developing diabetes and gestational diabetes ».
Acting promptly is therefore the best that can be done to prevent hormonal imbalance from leading to the development of important diseases such as insulin resistance. What can be done concretely? First, start following a healthy lifestyle with an ad hoc diet that keeps the calorie content of lipids, carbohydrates and sugars at bay. In addition, it is good to combine a balanced diet with the constant practice of sporting activity.
What are the possible treatments
«We act first of all by following and maintaining an adequate lifestyle that includes a specific diet, sports and smoking cessation. Then we must try to keep insulin resistance at bay by treating it with suitable therapy. From a gynecological point of view, however, we need to help patients restore hormonal balance with a pill that generally also has an antiandrogenic effect. Generally, the estrogen-progestogen pill is a good therapy. If the woman is looking for a baby, the cure will be different and it will not be the pill. Rather, we will try to induce ovulation. There are several hormonal methods including ovulation monitoring and then, you can move on to assisted fertilization. There are also supplementary therapies of folic acid and inositol that give a very big hand ", concludes the expert.
In general, therefore, it is good to perform a routine gynecological check-up to monitor the general health of the reproductive system, including the ovaries. In addition, in case of suspicious symptoms, it is better to talk about it as soon as possible with your trusted gynecologist.
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