Today GM-Fitness Talk PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is common. It can cause period problems, reduced fertility, excess hair growth, and acne. Many women with PCOS are also overweight. Treatment includes weight loss (if you are overweight), and lifestyle changes in addition to treating the individual symptoms.
Understanding ovaries and ovulationThe ovaries are a pair of glands that lie on either side of the uterus (womb). Each ovary is about the size of a large marble. The ovaries make ova (eggs) and various hormones. Hormones are chemicals that are made in one part of the body, pass into the bloodstream, and have an effect on other parts of the body.
- Ovulation normally occurs once a month when you release an ovum
(egg) into a Fallopian tube which lead into the uterus (womb). Before an
ovum is released at ovulation, it develops within a little swelling of
the ovary called a follicle (like a tiny cyst). Each month several
follicles start to develop, but normally just one fully develops and
goes on to ovulate.
- The main hormones that are made in the ovaries are oestrogen and progesterone - the main female hormones. These hormones help with the development of breasts, and are the main controllers of the menstrual cycle. The ovaries also normally make small amounts of male hormones (androgens) such as testosterone.
What is polycystic ovary syndrome?
- At least 12 follicles (tiny cysts) develop in your ovaries. (Polycystic means many cysts.)
- The balance of hormones that you make in the ovaries is altered. In particular, your ovaries make more testosterone (male hormone) than normal.
- You do not ovulate each month. Some women do not ovulate at all. In PCOS, although the ovaries usually have many follicles, they do not develop fully and so ovulation often does not occur. If you do not ovulate then you do not have a period.
How common is polycystic ovary syndrome?PCOS is common. Research studies of women who had an ultrasound scan of their ovaries found that up to 1 in 4 young women have polycystic ovaries (ovaries with many small cysts). However, many of these women were healthy, ovulated normally, and did not have high levels of male hormones.
It is thought that up to 1 in 10 women have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) - that is, at least two of: polycystic ovaries, a raised level of male hormone, reduced ovulation. However, these figures may be higher.
What causes polycystic ovary syndrome?The exact cause is not totally clear. Several factors probably play a part. These include the following:
InsulinInsulin is a hormone that you make in your pancreas (a gland behind your stomach). The main role of insulin is to control your blood sugar level. Insulin acts mainly on fat and muscle cells causing them to take in sugar (glucose) when your blood sugar level rises. Another effect of insulin is to act on the ovaries to cause them to produce testosterone (male hormone).
Women with PCOS have what is called insulin resistance. This means that cells in the body are resistant to the effect of a normal level of insulin. More insulin is produced to keep the blood sugar normal. This raised level of insulin in the bloodstream is thought to be the main underlying reason why PCOS develops. It causes the ovaries to make too much testosterone. A high level of insulin and testosterone interfere with the normal development of follicles in the ovaries. As a result, many follicles tend to develop but often do not develop fully. This causes problems with ovulation: hence period problems and reduced fertility.
It is this increased testosterone level in the blood that causes excess hair growth on the body and thinning of the scalp hair.
Increased insulin also contributes towards weight gain.
Luteinising hormone (LH)This hormone is made in the pituitary gland. It stimulates the ovaries to ovulate and works alongside insulin to promote testosterone production. A high level of LH is found in about 4 in 10 women with PCOS. A high LH level combined with a high insulin level means that the ovaries are likely to produce too much testosterone.
Hereditary factorsYour genetic makeup is probably important. One or more genes may make you more prone to developing PCOS. PCOS is not strictly inherited from parents to children, but it may run in some families.
WeightBeing overweight or obese is not the underlying cause of PCOS. However, if you are overweight or obese, excess fat can make insulin resistance worse. This may then cause the level of insulin to rise even further. High levels of insulin can contribute to further weight gain producing a 'vicious cycle'. Losing weight, although difficult, can help break this cycle.
What are the symptoms and problems of polycystic ovary syndrome?Symptoms that occur if you do not ovulate
- Period problems occur in about 7 in 10 women with PCOS. You may have irregular or light periods, or no periods at all.
- Fertility problems - you need to ovulate to become pregnant. You may not ovulate each month, and some women with PCOS do not ovulate at all. PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility.
- Excess hair growth (hirsutes) occurs in more than half of women with PCOS. It is mainly on the face, lower abdomen, and chest. This is the only symptom in some cases.
- Acne may persist beyond the normal teenage years.
- Thinning of scalp hair (similar to male pattern baldness) occurs in some cases .
- Weight gain - about 4 in 10 women with PCOS become overweight or obese.
- Depression or poor self-esteem may develop as a result of the other symptoms.
Symptoms can vary from mild to severe. For example, mild unwanted hair is normal, and it can be difficult to say when it becomes abnormal in women with mild PCOS. At the other extreme, women with severe PCOS can have marked hair growth, infertility, and obesity. Symptoms may also change over the years. For example, acne may become less of a problem in middle age, but hair growth may become more noticeable.
Possible long-term problems of polycystic ovary syndromeIf you have PCOS, over time you have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, diabetes in pregnancy, a high cholesterol level, and possibly high blood pressure. For example, about 1 in 10 women with PCOS develop diabetes at some point. These problems in turn may also increase your risk of having a stroke and heart disease in later life. These increased health risks are due to the long-term insulin resistance (and also being overweight which is common in women with PCOS).
If you have no periods, or very infrequent periods, you may have a higher than average risk of developing cancer of the uterus (womb). However, the evidence for this is not conclusive and, if there is a risk, it is probably small. A sleeping problem called sleep apnoea is also more common than average in women with PCOS.
GM-Fitness Spoke To A Lovely Lady about her experience with pcos.. Have a read And learn the power of eating the right foods.
Lifestyle change that changed my life: By Holly
From the age of 16 I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries and was told I may never be able to conceive from the doctors. I was told I had loads of cysts all over my ovaries.
Even though I was a sporty girl for years I didn't have a period and went on the pill for a few years.
From being on the pill for about 3years i didn't like the effects it had on my body and personality, so came off it.
From giving up the pill I felt much healthier and happier.
I had always thought that I had a healthy lifestyle. I loved my meat especially a rack of ribs. I was never too fused on dairy products but because everyone and media said how good it is for you I kept it in my lifestyle.
When i moved to London I met a guy who showed me a different outlook on foods and foods that I had never heard of before. I'm very open minded and was excited to see so many alternatives that you can have.
He introduced me to a huge range of foods and drinks that not only tasted amazing but for once i got passionate about food and health.
Whole foods became my new food shop!
I researched the health industry and what the media hides from us.
With my own passion and own time i saw a new healthier lifestyle occurring. Slowly I gave up meat, diary products and anything that had animal infused products.
I noticed not having dairy that I didn't suffer with so many colds or flu's. From giving up meat I felt lighter and cleaner.
The biggest change was that my periods started back naturally and my boobs had got bigger! Bonus lol...
I hadn't had a natural period since I was in high school.
Of course family+friends were worried about me cutting so much of what they know is seen as main factors from my lifestyle , they asked the famous questions of "where do you get your protein+calcium from" they couldn't understand or even know what to cook for me as "i had changed".
In all honesty the fact was that i made them question their own beliefs and fear came out.
I don't agree with labels and I never pushed what I had learnt onto others as everyone learns at different times and have their own journeys through life. I only share and express my passions for clean healthy lifestyles that can change your life.
From having polycystic ovaries I just thought that was me for life as the doctors had never told me about solutions or what i could do to cure it.
Just last Christmas I fell pregnant which I didn't realise until I was rushed to hospital. I had in fact had an eptopic pregnancy as I had taken the morning after pill. I had even had a false period so had no clue I was even pregnant.
The shock of being told I was pregnant and then told we had lost was devastating.
I believe that my lifestyle had helped me through this time as the embryo came away from my body naturally and had no complications or need for further medical treatment.
I never knew that the morning after pill could have this effect as its never brought to our attention before taking it. I wouldn't have taken knowing this fact.
While being in hospital having internal examinations with the most uncomfortable piece of equipment, I heard the doctors talking. I asked them if they were talking about my polycystic ovaries and the nurse looked at me in a funny way and said "what cysts? "
I explained my diagnoses and she said they had all gone! There was nothing there!
I was shocked but most importantly felt like I had now changed my life!
I would never have known I had healthy ovaries if it wasn't for my loss.
Now I share my story as it may help other women to change their lifestyles.
Being healthy and happy is everything in life.
Media has a very clever way of advertising their products to the mass market because all they see the £££££ ! They are in fact contributors to many diseases and health problems hence why the pharmastical companies encourage using drugs and they are booming businesses.
It's a powerful system which controls the human race.
I can't change the world or people but I changed myself and now have a brighter future.
Here are some useful links:
Follow GM-Fitness Today for more life changing real stories..