PCOS – Cause, Symptoms and Complications

what-is-pcos

As some of you might have read on my about-page, I have PCOS – but my PCOS is not behaving the way my doctors say that it should…
In order to be able to get on with my life I have tried to find as much information about PCOS as I could.
Knowing as much as possible makes it easier to actively do something to help myself while the doctors look over all the tests I have had taken.

Maybe you recognize yourself in this? Maybe you just got the diagnosis PCOS yourself – or maybe you are wondering if you might have PCOS… Here is a short post about PCOS – you know, just the basics: definition, cause, symptoms and complications.

But what is PCOS? 

Here is what I have found out through my research on the matter!

First things first – Definition:

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

“Poly” means “many”, so “polycystic” means “many cysts”. As the rest of the name refers to, these cysts are located on the ovaries.
In short PCOS gets its name from the clusters of small, pearl-sized cysts in the ovaries. The cysts, called follicles, are fluid-filled bubbles containing eggs that are still immature.

PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder among women in the reproductive age and is the leading cause of infertility.

The symptoms are many and can seem unrelated, which means that the disorder often goes undiagnosed.
On top of this PCOS is diagnosed by ruling out everything, meaning it can take a very long time.

So what causes PCOS?

PCOS is caused by an imbalance in the hormones in your brain and your ovaries.

Usually PCOS occurs when a hormone called LH (which is made in the pituitary gland), or the body’s levels of insulin (made in the pancreas) are too high.
When these hormone levels are too high it results in extra testosterone production in the ovary. The extra testosterone then causes disturbances in the body, which causes the symptoms listed below.

So what are the symptoms…

The list is long and not everyone experiences all of the symptoms!

I have only listed the symptoms I know about from my own research and from what my doctors have told me.

However, as more and more medical research is done, new discoveries are made. So it is possible that there are other symptoms and complications linked to PCOS than those listed here.

I have marked the symptoms I have with a *.

  • Infertility
    (I don’t know if this is a symptom for me yet – but the doctors are saying that I should expect this!)
  •  Infrequent, absent or irregular menstrual periods – not ovulating or very infrequent ovulating.
  • Regular but extreme menstrual periods (*)
  • High levels of testosterone (a male sex hormone)*
  • Hirsutism* (increased hair growth on the face*/ chest*/ stomach*/back*/ thumbs/ toes*)
  • Cysts on the ovaries*
  • Acne*/ oily skin* and/or dandruff*
  • Weight gain* or obesity* – usually with extra weight around the waist.
  • Male pattern baldness or thinning of the hair*
  • Patches of skin on the neck, arms (armpits*), breasts, and/or  thighs* that are thick and darker (brown/black)
  • Skin tags* – excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck
  • Pelvic pain*
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Sleep apnea
  • A feeling of being tired despite regular sleeping patterns*
  • Abdominal pain*
  • Abdominal problems* (stomach and bowl issues)
  • Muscle soreness*/a feeling of heaviness in the muscles*

Complications that can come with PCOS:

With PCOS a number of complications can follow – they are not a certainty but are all tied to the problems caused by PCOS.
Sometimes doctors will find these complications first and diagnose them, without finding the underlying problem – PCOS.
So be aware that these complications can be symptoms of PCOS as well.

  • Diabetes, elevated insulin levels, or insulin resistance.
  • Heart and blood vessel diseases including high blood pressure.
  • Cancer of the uterus.
  • Sleep apnea.

In finding out more about PCOS, I found this information on complications here!

There are many websites where you can get more information on the matter – a simple search on google can lead to a lot of information. Other than that I can recommend talking to you doctor about helping you! (Bring the list of symptoms and do some research first – that can really really help!!!)

I will frequently write about PCOS – it is such a big part of my life!
Under the category “Living with PCOS” here on essentialtakeonlife.com you should be able to find more information on PCOS.

Please, do also feel welcome to write to me with questions on this matter – I will do my very best to answer them.
(Just remember – asking me or searching the web cannot replace seeking medical help!)

Do you have PCOS? Or are you thinking you might?
I would love to hear from you – so please feel welcome to comment down below. <3

 

Love
AK 

 

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