The experts of the “Health and Prevention” blog analyze in a new post polycystic ovary syndrome, a frequent problem due to alterations in the menstrual cycle but which has effective treatments.
Photo provided by the Quirónsalud Group.
Every month, the woman of childbearing age experiences a series of changes in her body that prepare her for a possible pregnancy. It is the menstrual cycle. During this period, ovulation occurs when one of the ovaries releases an egg to be fertilized.
At the same time, the hormonal changes that occur prepare the uterus for possible pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilized, the tissue that covers the uterus is expelled; is the menstrual period.
With some frequency, young women and teenagers can suffer from an imbalance in the ovaries characterized by menstrual irregularities, lack of ovulation and excess male hormones (androgens) and estrogens, a clinical picture known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). ).
This syndrome is related to changes in the levels of estrogen, progesterone, the female hormones that help release eggs, and androgens, such as testosterone, the male hormone found in small amounts in women.
When this happens, mature eggs are not released and remain in the ovaries creating small cysts.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can cause, in addition to the development of ovarian cysts, acne, increased hair on the face, chest or suprapubic area, areas more common in barons, as well as alopecia, overweight and obesity. However, not all women experience these characteristic symptoms.
The doctor Gonzalo Martín Peña, specialist in Endocrinology and Nutrition at the Ruber International Hospital, explains that “the presence of hirsutism, acne or alopecia occurs in only two thirds of women, as do ovulation disorders, and only one third are obese; therefore, only a third of women with this clinical picture present all the symptoms”.
In addition, the increase in male hormones and the presence of ovarian cysts in some patients resolves spontaneously.
However, “in the long term it can cause infertility, gestational diabetes, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, elevated triglycerides or greater cardiovascular risk and endometrial cancer, although in the latter two cases the association is not evident,” adds the specialist
The exact cause that produces this syndrome is unknown, but there are factors that can influence it, such as an excess of insulin.
This hormone is produced in the pancreas and allows cells to use sugar, the body’s main energy supply. If the cells become resistant to this hormone, the level of glucose in the blood can rise and the pancreas produces more insulin, an excess that raises the production of male hormones by the ovaries, which causes problems with ovulation.
“Elevation of insulin contributes to the lack of ovulation, enhances the production of male hormones by the ovary and promotes weight gain and obesity which enhances insulin resistance and all the alterations of the Syndrome Polycystic Ovaries”. , points out Dr. Martín Peña.
Also, he adds, it is more common in daughters of women with PCOS or with polycystic ovaries and in daughters of parents with obesity, diabetes or hypertension.
It is important to consult a doctor when, after a couple of years of the first period, you have constant menstrual irregularities, increased hair loss, persistent acne, obesity or darkening and thickening of the skin in the armpits or upper back .
The diagnosis requires, in some cases, ovarian ultrasound and certain analytical tests to assess the hormonal secretion of the ovary and adrenal glands, and thus rule out other endocrine diseases that can reproduce the same symptoms as PCOS.
How to treat polycystic ovary syndrome
The treatment, once the problem is diagnosed, is oral anovulators or contraceptive pills, which prevent ovulation and pregnancy.
This treatment improves symptoms, regulates menstrual cycles, acne and excess hair on the body, and the result can be effective in about three months of treatment.
In obese patients, the doctor will advise weight loss with a low-calorie diet and moderate physical activity.
As for drug treatment, the endocrinologist may also recommend metformin, an oral medication for type 2 diabetes that improves insulin resistance and lowers insulin levels in the body.
In addition, “it improves the regularity of cycles, ovulation and is an important aid for weight loss, but it has almost no effect on acne or hirsutism”, says Dr. Gonzalo Martín Peña.