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Polycystic Ovary syndrome

Posted Jun 26 2010 12:00am

Polycystic ovary syndrome is our topic today.

It is a common disorder nowadays. And because it is common i decided to bring to you a summarized post about it.

What is polycystic ovary syndrome ? 
Poly-: means many
- Cystic: means cystic cavities

It is an endocrinological disorder characterized by multiple small ovarian cysts, signs of androgen excess, anovulation (no ovulation), menstrual disturbances (it ranges from lighter period to no period).

It was first described by Stein and Leventhal in 1935. Polycystic ovary syndrome is also known as the Stein Leventhal syndrome.

What causes Polycystic ovary syndrome ?
Till now, the exact cause is unknown. However several mechanisms and factors are involved in it. 

There is a genetic factor involved, which means that polycystic ovary syndrome may run in families especially in first degree relatives. Besides obesity is a common finding in patients having polycystic ovary syndrome.

One of these mechanisms are started by Insulin resistance (the female body become resistant to the action of her own insulin). Insulin resistance causes the body to produce more insulin to compensate the present resistance.
This is called Hyperinsulinemia (high insulin in blood). The high insulin level will eventually lead to more free androgens (testosterone).

At the end, you get more testosterone in the female body and this what brings the symptoms that will be mentioned next.

Symptoms of Polycystic ovary syndrome:
1. Menstrual dysfunction: the woman can present with less periods in the year or cessation of menstruation (amenorrhea).

2. Infertility: due to altered hormonal balance and due to increased testosterone level.

3. Hirsutism, hair growing on the face or acne: these effects are due to increased testosterone.

In some cases, there are no signs of increased testosterone and diagnosis is made by visualization of the polycystic ovary by ultrasound.

The diagnosis is the job of the doctor so we will leave that to him/her. 

However there are important advices to any woman having polycystic ovary syndrome:
1. Reduce your weight because this will make your body more responsive to the medications.(i know this is not easy but do your best). You can do that by:
  • Lowering the carbohydrates and increasing proteins in your diet.
  • Walk daily for at least 30 minutes.
  • If possible go to a gym and start exercising.
  • If these measures fail to reduce your weight, your doctor can prescribe Metformin to help you reduce your weight.
2. If you have excess hair, a medication can be prescribed. Besides you can use depilators as a temporary measure for the situation.
3. Be an active individual and don't get used to a sedentary life.
4. Try to increase the fruits and vegetables in your diet.
5. Try to share your daily activities with a friend and be more social.
6. If you are trying to get pregnant, discuss with your doctor having ovulation inducing drugs. These drugs include Clomid, HMG/HCG injections.

Lines of treatment in polycystic ovary syndrome:
There is medication and there is surgery.

Medication will include contraceptive pills , metformin, Clomid, anti-androgen drugs.

The surgery used in polycystic ovary syndrome is known as ovarian drilling done by laparoscopy. 
The benefits of medication and surgery varies from a woman to another. It depends on the woman's age and desire for pregnancy.

At last, you are all welcomed to post any questions you have.

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