Women are already burdened with body issues that are so complex to understand and some are directly linked to women’s wellness and health. With thyroid and hormonal issues suddenly rising due to the fast and busy workaholic lifestyle, there’s a giant heap of problems that revolve around the reproductive organs in the female body. Common concerns women face with their reproductive system are: Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids, Gynecologic Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Interstitial Cystitis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), UTIs and many more. Out of these, we’ll be discussing PCOS. If you or anyone you know is diagnosed with PCOS or wants to simply know about it, must understand the long-term risks and complications associated with PCOS.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition affecting the ovaries in the female reproductive system. It causes the ovaries to produce an abnormal amount of androgens, the male sex hormone, which is usually present in women in smaller amounts. Polycystic ovary syndrome, the name itself mentions how it affects the ovary to form numerous small fluid-filled cysts. However, there’s a catch: some women with PCOS don’t have cysts while some women without PCOS do develop these kinds of cysts.
The ovaries in the female reproductive system are responsible for ovulation, the process in which a mature egg is released. This mature egg is released to be fertilized by a male sperm. But if the egg is not fertilized in the uterus, it is then sent out of the female body during your menstruation or commonly called as period. However, sometimes, a woman’s body doesn’t produce enough of hormones needed for ovulation. When ovulation doesn’t occur, these egg producing ovaries can develop small cysts. These fluid filled cysts make androgens. And that’s how women diagnosed with PCOS often have higher levels of androgens that directly affect her menstrual cycle. The two ways to diagnose PCOS are blood tests and ultrasound.
But while you’re under diagnosis of PCOS, it’s also important to understand the underlying risks and complications of PCOS on women’s health and meanwhile know the necessary PCOS treatment options.
Early Risks and Complications of PCOS
1. Irregular Period Cycles
Since women with PCOS have higher androgen amounts in their body, ovulation doesn’t take place in time. Because of this women miss their period cycles because the uterus doesn’t have a mature egg to flush out. Women with PCOS experience missed periods, irregular periods, or light flow periods. Irregular or missed periods are usually harmless but if it’s a persistent problem, it can cause hormonal imbalances in the thyroid which cause sudden weight gain. PCOS can sometimes even cause the period flow to be heavier. In such cases of irregular periods where the flow is heavier, it’s necessary to visit a doctor because heavy flows can cause anemia: an iron deficiency in the blood.
2. Excess Body Hair
Hirsutism is a side effect of having PCOS where the woman’s body and face has excessive hair growth similar to a man. It’s caused by having higher amounts of hormones called androgens in the body. Hair may start to grow in places where men often have a lot of hair and women generally don’t. This includes the areas like upper lip, chin, chest, stomach, and back where usually males have more hair.
3. Sudden Weight Gain
Women diagnosed with PCOS experience sudden weight gain around their abdomen area. PCOS makes it harder for the body to use the hormone insulin. Insulin normally converts sugars and starch from foods into energy. This complication of PCOS not allowing the burning of insulin sugars to energy, this is called insulin resistance. This causes glucose to build up in the bloodstream. This indirectly takes a toll on body weight and packs unwanted belly fat.
4. Acne and Oily Skin
In the state of PCOS, as we know androgen levels spike up. This sudden spike of androgen increases the production of sebum oil in the epidermis of the skin. This accumulation of oils leads to worsening acne. The effect of these oils and androgen levels then causes facial hair growth and boils from ingrown hair as well. For skin to recover from such damage needs special facial treatments and healing.
PCOS is one of the most common endocrinological disorders in women of reproductive age that causes infertility. This affects around 5 to 10% of the women suffering with PCOS. Anovulatory infertility is a consequence of PCOS in nearly 70% of women. PCOS can also affect the efficacy of pregnancy, causing miscarriages in most PCOS suffering pregnant women.
Long-Term Risks and Complications of PCOS
1. Type 2 Diabetes
With PCOS, women’s bodies have higher insulin resistance causing an increase in glucose levels in the bloodstream. This has a high chance of women with PCOS developing medical conditions like type 2 diabetes. This is generally reversible with the right PCOS treatment measures.
2. High Blood Pressure
Women with PCOS, which is a hyperandrogenic phenotype are exposed to many cardiovascular risk factors. That then spikes the chances of them developing hypertension. Excess androgen also affects the vascular properties of the arterial walls thus increasing the risks of eventually developing more serious problems with the heart and blood vessels.
3. Endometrial Cancer
Having PCOS is one of the major reasons that increases the risk of endometrial cancer because of the prolonged exposure of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to unopposed estrogen caused by anovulation. If this exposure is neglected, it can cause endometrial hyperplasia that eventually leads to endometrial cancer. Also, females who are obese are at a higher risk for endometrial cancer because of the extra stored body fat that increases estrogen causing inflammation and cancer development.
Many women are showing symptoms of PCOS which is alarming and a wake up call to get the right diagnosis and PCOS treatment without having the risk of developing further side effects. Namyaa understands the complexity of PCOS and is constantly educating more females daily about the risks behind this monster. To curb the chances of worsening PCOS, Namyaa has developed an ayurvedic formula called Anartava Delayed and Irregular Periods Syrup that regulates period flow and menstrual cycles in women. It balances the hormones and fights insulin resistance which naturally reverses the effects and risks of PCOS with no side effects. Women can now lead healthier lifestyles with a natural PCOS treatment.