What is polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS?
PCOS is also known as Stein-Leventhal syndrome and is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age.
Ultrasound can show enlarged ovaries with small follicles long the outer edge.
It is characterized by lack of ovulation in conjunction with amenorrhea (= absence of periods) or oligomenorrhea (=
What are the causes of PCOS?
- Excessive production of androgenic hormones from ovaries or adrenals (testosterone, DHEA, or androstenedione). An increased activity of an enzyme called the 17 alpha-hydroxylase results in exaggerated conversion of progesterone to 17 alpha hydroxyprogesterone and then androstenedione and testosterone.
- Insulin resistance (high insulin decreases SHBG and increase LH)
- Genetic abnormalities affecting the ovaries
- Hypothalamus-pituitary axis dysregulation causing increased LH levels
- Or a combination of some the above causes.
What are the symptoms associated with PCOS?
Some of the symptoms below can be seen in PCOS:
- Weight gain
- Insulin resistance
- Decreased breast size
- Increased body hair on chest, abdomen and face
- Thinning of the hair
- Deepening of the voice
- Acne, oily skin
- Excessive sweet and carbohydrate cravings
- Elevated cholesterol
- Elevated blood pressure
- Mood changes
Which tests can be suggested for the diagnosis of PCOS?
- Blood Tests: glucose, insulin, testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, LH, FSH, DHEA, androstenedione, 17 alpha hydroxyprogesterone, prolactin. Or salivary tests to check androgenic hormone.
- Ovarian sonar: can show a scalloped-looking outside border or a string of pearls, but not always.
Which supplements can be beneficial for PCOS?
- To regulate insulin resistance: green tea extract, chromium, cinnamon, berberine, alpha lipoic acid,…
- To decrease androgenic levels : glycyrrhetinic acid in licorice( 80 ml ) and white peony (1 tsp TDS), chaste tree (4-6 tablets a day ), black cohosh , saw palmetto (2-4,5 ml a day ), gymnema (2 tablets TDS)
- To regulate cycle: birth control pills or progesterone (on script).
- Metformin or Glucophage
- Adequate fatty acid intake : omega 3 fish oil or cod liver oil
- Support liver phase I and II
What is the main cause of PCOS?
Is PCOS serious?
Yes. PCOS is underdiagnosed and undertreated. This may be because symptoms can be mild or seem unrelated. But untreated PCOS can lead to a wide range of more serious health conditions, and the symptoms of the disorder can cause significant distress.
Does PCOS get worse with age?
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