PCOS is a condition in which women do not or hardly have ovulation and therefore irregular menstruation. About 5 to 10% of women suffer from this. PCOS can in principle not hurt, but should be treated if you have a child wish. Read more about this here PCOS symptoms and ways to handle it.
What is PCOS?
PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome. Literally it means multiple (poly) fluid vesicles (cysts) in the ovary (ovary). When you have PCOS, you have a disturbed hormone system. Hormones are incredibly important during your entire menstrual cycle. They ensure that your eggs ripen, you ovulate, your uterus prepares for a possible pregnancy and when that is not the case, the hormones ensure that you menstruate. When there is a disturbance in this, the process no longer runs properly.
Normally, several follicles (egg vesicles) are formed in the ovary. One of these grows out and that comes to ovulation to be fertilized. In women with this disturbed hormone balance follicles are formed, but they do not or hardly get matured. Ovulation and also menstruation will stay off for a longer period of time. This reduces fertility.
The disturbed hormone system at PCOS
During a normal menstrual cycle, two hormones are created after your period: FSH and LH. FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) is responsible for the maturation of the follicles (egg vesicle). LH (luteinizing hormone) ensures that ovulation eventually occurs.
When you have PCOS you often make too much LH and too little FSH. As a result, the follicles do not mature into an egg. Instead, fluid filled vesicles are formed. Other hormones that are out of balance:
- The hormone insulin: it can be that this hormone is produced too much. Insulin regulates blood sugar levels.
- The hormone testosterone: many women with this disorder make more testosterone. Testosterone is a male sex hormone that women normally do not make much of.
PCOS can only be diagnosed by a doctor. This is done through a blood test and ultrasound scan. You might suspect that you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome if you experience the following PCOS symptoms:
- Irregular menstruation, or no menstruation. This is caused by less FSH in your body. So there is less ovulation.
- Excessive hair, especially on your chin, upper lip, upper arms, thighs, chest, stomach or back. This is often caused by more testosterone in your body.
- Acne. You also owe acne to the testosterone.
- Reduced fertility or miscarriage. Because of the PCOS it can happen that getting pregnant is very difficult. Women with this condition also have a greater risk of miscarriage.
- Overweight. Many women with PCOS suffer from overweight.
In the longer term, you may suffer from the following health problems: cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.
What causes PCOS?
Doctors still do not know exactly what causes PCOS. Probably there is not one cause, but there are several causes. One of those causes is heredity; PCOS seems to occur more in some families than in others. In addition, overweight also plays a role. If you have a predisposition to PCOS, then you are more likely to get it if you are overweight.
PCOS treatment and getting pregnant
It is unfortunately a lot difficult to get pregnant if you suffer from PCOS. This is due to the fact that your hormone balance is disturbed. As a result, the egg vesicles do not ripen properly and menstruation stays off more often. One of the first PCOS symptoms is irregular menstruation and difficulty getting pregnant.
There is often only a call when you notice that the pregnancy is not forthcoming. At that moment various treatment methods are used to address PCOS:
To lose weight:
If you are overweight and PCOS, try to lose weight first. Chances are that once you have a healthy weight again, your menstrual cycle will recover and your ovulation will return. Try to lose weight by following a healthy diet and no crash diet.
Treatment with tablets:
Usually you get the first treatment with tablets: clomiphene nitrate. With the help of these tablets, ovulation starts in 80% of cases. More than half of the women subsequently become pregnant.
If the tablets have no effect and you are on weight, you will switch to a treatment with injections. Before the injection is placed, your menstrual cycle is followed by ultrasound checks.
First you get an injection with the FSH hormone. At the moment that 2 to 3 vesicles are sufficiently mature, you will receive an injection of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). This hormone ensures that ovulation is set in motion. 90% of the women who received this treatment followed ovulation. About half of these women became pregnant.
A viewing operation is the last treatment that is used when the others have failed. Small holes are burned in the ovaries during the surgery. This changes the production of the hormones in such a way that ovulation can take place. Unfortunately, the chance of a pregnancy with this method is smaller than with the other methods. If nothing works then IVF can always be considered.