Obesity or weight gain, Infertility and Hair loss can all emerge from PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). PCOS is a condition that affects 1 in ten women and according to the department of endocrinology and metabolism (AIIMS), PCOS at least 25% of the childbearing women in India are affected by PCOS.
PCOS is a condition that develops due to hormonal imbalances. This causes the development of cysts in the ovaries, increase in blood sugar levels, hirsutism, and acne among others. Unlike other medical conditions, PCOS is a reticent condition in the early stage with symptoms that can be associated with other conditions. In addition, certain symptoms like painful periods, heavy bleeding and abdominal pain may be misdiagnosed mistaking them for environmental changes, genetics, among others.
PCOS & Hair Loss
This fact at times puzzles many as to how the condition can trigger hirsutism and at the same time cause hair loss. Hirsutism is a condition where a woman witnesses the growth of unwanted hair in the various facial regions such as the lip region, cheek regions, back and the chest.
Hirsutism develops generally due to an increase in the androgens, which are male hormones. Also, women have lower levels of testosterone that aid in maintaining muscle strength. A hormonal imbalance generally causes the female hormone levels to reduce, while the male hormones, especially testosterone increase.
The testosterone hormone present in the body is divided into three forms which include “free testosterone”, which bound to proteins, the testosterone that is bound to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and lastly Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) made by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. DHT is the main hormone behind hair loss, easily.
How Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Affects Women!
Typically, PCOS causes an increase in weight, and almost a half of the PCOS victims are overweight or obese. Another issue is “insulin level”, where the body finds it hard to effectively use the available sugars leading to diabetes, commonly type 2 diabetes. Women undergoing IVF treatment, in this case, are treated with the help of metformin, a drug that controls the blood sugars.
Facial hair (Hirsutism)
It is isn’t common these days to find women with beards, mainly due to PCOS. Many of them experience depression, low self-esteem, and humiliation. Hirsutism commonly occurs due to the excessive androgen levels that also cause acne, deep voice, increased muscle mass, and hair loss.
Treating hirsutism requires both medical and nonmedical approaches. These include; oral contraceptives, anti-androgens, creams, regular exercises among others. To control body hair, laser hair removal procedures, electrolysis, shaving, and waxing are recommended.
How PCOS triggers Infertility
Once your hormones continue being imbalanced for long, it eventually leads to multiple cysts in the ovaries. These cysts will interfere with the development and maturity of the eggs, hence leading to conception troubles. Women with PCOS are more liable to battling ovulation disorders which are generally a sign of infertility.
Clomiphene, birth control pill, and a hormonal therapy are considered to help reduce PCOS signs. In case these approaches fail, IVF treatment is conducted to help a woman conceive.