No one knows the exact cause of PCOS but mounting evidence suggests that PCOS might be a complex multigenic disorder (many gene polymorphisms across many systems-hormonal, metabolic, immunological), with strong epigenetic and environmental influences, including diet and other lifestyle issues.
The facts of PCOS
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is defined by a combination of signs and symptoms of androgen excess and ovarian dysfunction in the absence of other specific diagnoses.
- According to Dr. Andrea Dunaif, MD, it can take up to an average of 4 doctors to accurately diagnosis PCOS
- PCOS is becoming a more prevalent disorder among women of reproductive age with lifelong complications. One of the most challenging aspects of this syndrome is its ambiguous diagnostic criteria and vast complexity of characteristics.
- One of the earliest signs of elevated androgens in adolescents with PCOS is
- As women with PCOS get older, they are likely to experience more regular menstrual cycles.
- Women with PCOS can have monthly menstrual cycles and still have PCOS.
- Women with PCOS have a higher incidence of gestational diabetes,miscarriages, preterm deliveries, and stillbirths.
- Women with PCOS may have more difficulty breastfeedingand producing sufficient milk for their babies.
- Despite its name,not all women with PCOS actually have cysts on their ovaries What are called cysts are actually immature follicles.
- Women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apneadue to the influence of androgens affecting sleep receptors in the brain. PCOS is the most common cause of ovulatory infertility.
- Eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder are common among women with PCOS.
- Women with PCOS have higher rates ofanxiety and depression than women without the syndrome.
- In PCOS, there is a rapid conversion from impaired glucose tolerance to type 2 diabetes. For this reason, theAndrogen Excess and PCOS Society recommends yearly blood screening.
- Women with PCOS have more testosterone and can build muscle easier than women without the syndrome.
- Testosterone is one of many male hormones which may be raised in women with PCOS. Other include DHEAS and Androstenedione.
- Women of all races and ethnicities are at risk for PCOS, but your risk for PCOS may be higher if you are obese or if you have a mother, sister, or aunt with PCOS.
- PCOS may not be just a reproductive disorder in women. It is rather ametabolic disorder (with reproductive dysfunction) that can be seen in both men and women.