PCOS And Insulin Levels
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder in women of childbearing age. It is the most common cause of female infertility. This endocrine disorder exhibits enlargement of the ovaries through many, small cysts outlining each ovary. This condition of unknown origin is medically scribed Stein-Leventhal Syndrome.
The initiative of this syndrome is due to an imbalance between two hormones, the pituitary hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). The imbalance results in the lack of ovulation and increased testosterone production. Signs and symptoms of PCOS often commence after the start of menarche, typically occurring at a normal age. Sometimes there is later onset in response to considerable weight gain and infertility.
The most common characteristic of this condition are irregular menstrual periods in adolescence, expressed as oligomenorrhea and secondary amenorrhea. Profuse bleeding may alternate with failure to menstruate for 3-months or longer. Prolonged periods may vacillate with the scant or heavy flow. Obesity, hirsutism, acne, enlarged clitoris, slight deepening of the voice or enlarged, “oyster-like” ovaries may accompany this syndrome.
Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation determined as primary or secondary. The latter is seen in this hormonal condition with cessation of menstruation seen for periods of time that occur for 3 or more months, where the cause is not pregnancy, breastfeeding or change of life. The lack of ovulation is seen in this endocrine imbalance, in addition to, anorexia, serious illness, obesity, psychological impact or physical, structural anomalies.
Androgenic excess, particularly elevated testosterone levels, may de-feminize female appearance through excess predominantly typical male facial hair growth, pattern baldness, acne and voice depth. The degree of physiologic change correlates with the level of hormonal imbalance and ethnicity of the female. Northern Europeans and Asians are usually less visibly impacted. Increased androgenic influence may increase energy levels, aggression, and sex drive.
Although ultrasound technology can reveal cystic ovaries, definitive diagnosis of PCOS requires further investigation for confirmation. Physician confirmation of positive physical signs of masculinization and a record of amenorrhea will confirm suspicions of androgen imbalance that necessitates further study.
Laboratory studies of blood hormone levels, in addition to ultrasound and observation of visible indicators, will confirm. The laparoscopic exam may reveal an outer surface of the ovary that is thickened, smooth, and pearlescent in color definitive for this syndrome. Sometimes an endometrial biopsy is recommended to rule out hyperplasia or cancer.
With a 50% rate of obesity among PCOS patients, serious complications can accompany androgen overproduction in females. Glucose intolerance with PCOS results in an inability to maintain regulated blood sugar levels with a high risk for acquiring Type 2 diabetes. Acanthosis nigricans can leave its mark on the appearance of the skin with dark areas of velvet texture on various areas of the body with this endocrine disorder.
There is a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke with this endocrine disorder. There is the increased likelihood of uterine or breast cancer. Early diagnosis and treatment are effective means of averting the complications often resultant with a polycystic ovarian syndrome.