We keep talking about PCOS … here are some interesting facts:
– Polycystic ovarian syndrome has been known since the 19th century, as sclerotic and cystic changes in the ovaries of some women were detected.
– At the beginning of the 21st century, Stein and Leventhal gave a name to the syndrome that associated the characteristics of oligomenorrhea, obesity and hirsutism and polycystic-looking ovaries.
– Some years later, alterations in LH levels, the association with insulin resistance and the characteristic ultrasound of multifollicular ovaries were added to the syndrome.
– 5-10% of women have polycystic ovary syndrome
– 23% of women with PCOS can develop a long-term metabolic syndrome, hence the importance of controlling endocrine factors in these women.
– At the origin of PCOS, 3 factors are intertwined: genetic susceptibility, environmental factors and the modification of the expression of certain genes.
It is important to acknowledge that:
– 80% of women with PCOS present the characteristic image of polycystic ovaries on ultrasound, what means that 20% of women have normal ovaries and that does not exclude the syndrome.
– 50% of patients with PCOS are obese or overweight and loosing weight for these patients is extremely difficult if metabolic changes are not taken into account.
– 70% of PCOS patients have insulin resistance what may lead to metabolic problems in the future such as diabetes.
– 70% of patients with PCOS have oligo-anovulation and thus irregular cycles.
– 70% of PCOS patients have hirsutism, what means excessive body hair including face, chest, back, arms and legs, and its treatment can be done by classical methods as laser but the metabolic correction will permit a better control.
– 60-70% of PCOS patients may have infertility problems, mainly due to anovulation (absence of ovulation), what makes pregnancy impossible. Nevertheless, 40% of patients will get pregnant without problems so PCOS is not synonym of infertility.
In addition, metabolic control for PCOS patients is really important as they may develop some other pathologies as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.
If you feel identified with these symptoms or if you have doubts whether you have PCOS, get in contact with your gynecologist so that they can assess if it is present or not and they can propose the most adapted short, medium and long term treatment.