Before we start elaborating on this topic, it is necessary to understand what PCOS is all about. PCOS refers to a medical condition in which multiple cysts occur in the ovaries of the patient. These cysts occur when the typical changes of a normal menstrual cycle are disturbed. The ovary gets enlarged; and releases excessive amounts of androgen and estrogenic hormones. This excess, along with the absence of ovulation, may lead to infertility. Other names for PCOD are Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or the Stein-Leventhal syndrome.
When it comes to diagnose it, it is not that much difficult. The general medical history is that of irregular menstrual cycles, which are unpredictable and can be extremely heavy; and the need to take hormonal tablets (progestin) to induce a period. Patients suffering from PCOD are often obese and may have hirsutism , (excessive facial and body hair) as a result of the high androgen levels. However, remember that not all patients with PCOD will have all or any of these symptoms.
A vaginal ultrasound is the best way to detect the presence of enlarged ovaries and cysts. These cysts are generally arranged in the form of a necklace along the periphery of the ovary.
There is no fine clarity on the exact cause of PCOD, though it is understood that it carries a significant hereditary component, and is generally transmitted from mother to daughter. Patients with PCO show obstinately higher levels of androgens and estrogens, which lead to a vicious cycle. Obesity can worsen PCOD because fatty tissues are hormonally active and they produce estrogen which disturbs ovulation. Overactive adrenal glands can also produce excess androgens, and these may also contribute to PCOD. These women also have insulin resistance (high levels of insulin in their blood, because their cells do not respond normally to insulin).
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