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You are here: Homepage > FEEL  > PCOS (POLYCYSTIC OVARIES SYNDROME)
PCOS (POLYCYSTIC OVARIES SYNDROME)

Polycystic ovaries (PCO) are very common, affecting around 20 per cent of women. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is also very common, affecting 5–10 per cent of women.

The term polycystic ovaries describes ovaries that contain many small cysts (about twice as many as in normal ovaries), usually no bigger than 8 millimetres each, located just below the surface of the ovaries. These cysts are egg-containing follicles that have not developed properly due to a number of hormonal abnormalities.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is the name given to a condition in which women with polycystic ovaries also have one or more additional symptoms. It was first ‘discovered’ in 1935 by Doctors Stein and Leventhal, so for many years it was known as the Stein-Leventhal syndrome.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

Symptoms can include:
irregular periods, or a complete lack of periods
irregular ovulation, or no ovulation at all
reduced fertility – difficulty becoming pregnant
unwanted facial or body hair (hirsutism)
oily skin, acne
thinning hair or hair loss from the scalp (alopecia)
weight problems – being overweight, rapid weight gain, difficulty losing weight
depression and mood changes

PCOS affects women in different ways, so not all women will have all these symptoms. Some women may have only mild symptoms, while others may have a wider range of more severe symptoms. Symptoms usually start in adolescence, although some women do not develop them until their early to mid twenties.

Long term health risks for women with PCOS
Women with PCOS who have insulin resistance have an increased risk of developing a type of diabetes known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes (type 2 diabetes). This is much more likely to occur in women who are overweight, but can sometimes occur in women of normal weight too.

Women with insulin resistance may also be at risk of developing heart disease in later life. However, although risk factors for heart disease may be increased with PCOS, there is, as yet, no clear evidence that heart attacks are more common in women with the condition than in those who do not have PCOS. These risks can be reduced to a large extent by preventive measures such as good nutrition and exercise. Preventive measures are particularly important for women who are very overweight, and for women who have a family history of diabetes or heart disease.

PCOS and weight gain
PCOS makes it more difficult for the body to use the hormone insulin, which normally helps convert sugars and starches from foods into energy. This condition -- called insulin resistance -- can cause insulin and sugar -- glucose -- to build up in the bloodstream.

High insulin levels increase the production of male hormones called androgens. High androgen levels lead to symptoms such as body hair growth, acne, irregular periods -- and weight gain. Because the weight gain is triggered by male hormones, it is typically in the abdomen. That is where men tend to carry weight. So, instead of having a pear shape, women with PCOS have more of an apple shape.

Abdominal fat is the most dangerous kind of fat. That’s because it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other health conditions.

Read about our Editor's PCOS, Diet and Journey to a Healthier Life on The Healthy Online..

 

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BE BREAST AWARE

In November 2011 "Be Empowered, LLC" release of a new book that effectively addresses the major needs and concerns of women suffering with self-esteem issues. The bo... >>READ ON<<

 

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You can also visit www.TheMenOnline.co.uk, a great online magazine for men about health, fatherhood, food, exercise, business, careers, family, love, life and friendship.

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And for interesting articles and great wedding planning tips www.TheWeddingsOnline.co.uk with many tools to planning your own wedding, is the place to go.

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And finally, for our Editor's personal blog where she shares her own life and thoughts, visit www.mrspoynton.co.uk.