PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition in which the level of the estrogen does not fluctuate as it should and thus causes an irregular menstrual cycle. This hormonal disturbance is a pretty common disorder and is usually characterized by the presence of enlarged ovaries that are filled with fluid vessels, called follicles.
Some of the common symptoms associated with PCOS include:
- Irregular Periods
- Frequent acne breakouts
- Increase in body hair
- Difficulty in getting pregnant
These symptoms can begin soon after a girl hits puberty, during the reproductive age of the woman or may be experienced after a significant amount of weight gain.
The exact cause behind the development of PCOS is not known, however, here are some of the reasons that doctors think play a large role:
- High levels of insulin in the body have been connected to the development of PCOS. This could due to a primary problem of over production of insulin or a secondary problem of insulin resistance in which the hormone is not utilized in the proper manner.
- Presence of low-grade inflammation in the body
- Genetics. Daughters born into families where the females have a history of PCOS are much more likely to develop it themselves later in life.
Does PCOS Affect Pregnancy Tests?
This is an extremely common question that gets asked and there is a lot of misinformation that is going around. Technically speaking, there is no reason why having PCOSwould cause a test to give a false negative. These tests measure Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, which is released from the growing fetus and the placenta.
The measurement of this should not be affected by PCOS. The most common cause of getting a false negative is when the test is taken too early. Remember to wait at least until you have missed a period before taking the test.
It should also be remembered that a missed period for a person suffering from PCOS may just be a false alarm in itself. It is common for women with PCOS to miss their periods even when they are not pregnant.
If any doubts persist as to the status of pregnancy, then a blood test as advised by the gynecologist is the best course of action.
Complications Associated with PCOS
Having PCOS can make the development of some other diseases more likely. These include type 2 diabetes, infertility, sleep apnea, a whole litany of cardiovascular diseases, anxiety, depression and endometrial cancer.
Getting pregnant is also a lot more difficult for women with PCOS and it may be necessary to take medication that helps ovulation. Clomiphene is an anti-estrogen drug that is commonly prescribed for this purpose. If that does not work then Metformin may also be added to help the person ovulate. Other options include the use of injectable hormones like luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone.
PCOS is a condition that affects the quality of everyday life and can make routine things seem like a struggle. Constant management and lifestyle changes are both necessary to help alleviate the numerous associated problems.
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