Polycysic Ovary Syndrome
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a syndrome with a collection of symptoms that usually occur together. These symptoms include:
- Irregular periods
- Excessive hair growth on face and body
- Scalp hair thinning
- Excess weight, sugar craving, inability to lose weight
- Darkening of skin areas, particularly on the nape of the neck, known as acanthosis nigricans
- Skin tags
- Gray-white breast discharge
- Sleep apnea
- Pelvic Pain
- Depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances and other emotional disorders
- String of pearls on sonar
What Causes PCOS?
But no single factor has yet been identified to be the cause of PCOS. The following causes have been identified as the most likely:
- A defect in the hypothalamus leading to excessive secretion of LH which in turn leads to excessive androgen production
- A defect in the ovarian production of testosterone and other male hormones due to abnormal enzyme action on the pathways leading to testosterone.
- High insulin levels as a result of insulin resistance, aggravating the effects of LH on the ovaries.
- Genetic causes
How does PCOS affect your Ovaries?
During every menstrual cycle approximately 20 follicles are activated, but only one will be dominant and mature to ovulation. In PCOS the "cycst" are dominant follicles that never matured. Why do follicles fail to ovulate in PCOS patients? It is believed that a excessive testosterone blood levels is responsible for this lack of ovulation. Insulin resistance is believed to be closely related to higher testosterone levels in PCOS.