Published March 13, 2019
Prof. Oladapo Ashiru
The most common symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome include irregular periods, heavy bleeding , hair growth , acne, weight gain , male – pattern baldness , darkening of the skin and headaches.
Irregular periods: A lack of ovulation prevents the uterine lining from shedding every month . Some women with PCOS get fewer than eight periods a year .
Heavy bleeding : The uterine lining builds up for a more extended period . So the periods you get can be more substantial than average.
Hair growth : More than 70 per cent of women with this condition grow hair on the face and body – including on the back , belly and chest. Excess hair growth is called hirsutism .
Acne: Male hormones can make the more skin oily than usual and cause breakouts on areas like the face , chest and upper back .
Weight gain : Up to 80 per cent of women with PCOS are overweight or obese .
Male – pattern baldness : Hair on the scalp gets thinner and fall out .
Darkening of the skin : Dark patches of skin can form in body creases like those on the neck , in the groin and under the breasts .
Headaches : Hormone changes can trigger migraines in some women .
An excellent medical and gynecological history is necessary for the determination of PCOS . Besides , pelvic examination , blood tests and ultrasound scan are performed on the patient to confirm suspected PCOS . Usually, doctors make the diagnosis of the syndrome in women who have at least two of these three symptoms:
High androgen levels
Irregular menstrual cycles
Cysts in the ovaries.
Pregnancy and PCOS
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When women with PCOS manage to get pregnant, it can also increase the risk of pregnancy complications . These complications may include :
Risk of miscarriage
High blood pressure
However, women with the condition can get pregnant by using fertility treatments that improve ovulation . Losing weight and lowering blood sugar levels can improve the odds of having a healthy pregnancy .
Diet and lifestyle changes
Treatment for PCOS usually starts with lifestyle changes , such as weight loss , diet , and exercise .
Losing between five and 10 per cent of body weight can help to regulate the menstrual cycle and improve symptoms. Weight loss can also improve cholesterol levels , lower insulin , and reduce heart disease and diabetes risks .
Studies comparing diets for PCOS have found that low- carbohydrate diets are useful for both weight loss and lowering insulin levels . A low glycemic index (low – GI ) food that gets most carbohydrates from fruits , vegetables , and whole grains helps regulate the menstrual cycle better than a regular weight loss diet .
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