Health experts describe Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a problem with hormones that affects women during their childbearing years, usually between the ages 15 to 44.
As high as 26.7 percent of women in this age group experience PCOS, according Health Line.
Not many women know they have PCOS with majority of women with the condition not even diagnosed.
PCOS isn’t a new condition. Italian physician Antonio Vallisneri first described its symptoms in 1721.
PCOS affects a woman’s ovaries, the reproductive organs that produce estrogen and progesterone — hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. The ovaries also produce a small amount of male hormones called androgens.
The ovaries release eggs to be fertilized by a man’s sperm. The release of an egg each month is called ovulation.
PCOS is a “syndrome,” or group of symptoms that affects the ovaries and ovulation. Its three main features are:
- cysts in the ovaries
- high levels of male hormones
- irregular or skipped periods
In PCOS, many small, fluid-filled sacs grow inside the ovaries. The word “polycystic” means “many cysts.”
These sacs are actually follicles, each one containing an immature egg. The eggs never mature enough to trigger ovulation.
Extra male hormones disrupt the menstrual cycle, so women with PCOS get fewer periods than usual.
Women share their stories on the condition:
This is my PCOS body.
After bleeding continuously for ONE YEAR AND THREE WEEKS my period has finally stopped.
This is a TIRED body. A year of randomly passing out, blood transfusions AND COVID.
Cheers to the first day of being able to work out since Feb 2020. pic.twitter.com/J2jQZFES7k
— Sweet Mommee 🍬 (@Okornore) March 24, 2021
I really appreciate you doing this girl! You’re incredible 💛✨
I suffer from PCOS too and it’s literally wrecking my body. I hate it here. I’ve had so many issues with doctors and specialists I’m so ready to give up.
— Adeyinka Akinrinade (@addielena) March 24, 2021
We need to speak more about this. We’re a larger community than we realize. PCOS is soooo exhausting, especially when it induces diabetes and other diseases that are so stressful and expensive to manage and all of this is minus accompanying pregnancy complications. 😞
— Bastet (@_MoyoA) March 24, 2021
Hey mama, you are one strong queen my darling❤️❤️❤️had the worst bleeding episode recently, only 8weeks and my body still isn’t over that yet. Another long period coming cos the doc just measured my endometrial lining.
— MrsG (@PrincessMedinah) March 24, 2021
And I was crying for 2 months 😭😭😭
I tweetd about talking to people who had PCOS a couple of days ago. Coz I needed someone to talk to that wasn’t my doctor. How do you cope? I can’t tolerate my drugs and I’m always landing in the hospital for the littlest things 😭
— Abosede Ayinke Cole. (@Cabosede_) March 24, 2021
My sympathies. I’m also a PCOSer,but with different symptoms. It’s not talked about enough, I agree. I’m 58 and menopausal but there doesn’t seem to be much info on the combined events 😒
— PetiteCyclis – 🇯🇲-🇬🇧 (@petite_cyclis) March 24, 2021
In 2019 I had my period for 6 months they told me hormonal imbalance only but I suspect there was more to it nowadays on my period it lasts for 5 days and it’s he’ll
— Atieno-Otieno (@mama_hawi) March 24, 2021
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes PCOS. They believe that high levels of male hormones prevent the ovaries from producing hormones and making eggs normally.
Genes, insulin resistance, and inflammation have all been linked to excess androgen production.
The most common PCOS symptoms are:
- Irregular periods
- Heavy bleeding
- Hair growth
- Weight gain
- Darkening of the skin
Having higher-than-normal androgen levels can affect your fertility and other aspects of your health.
Treatment for PCOS usually starts with lifestyle changes like weight loss, diet, and exercise.
Birth control pills and other medicines can help regulate the menstrual cycle and treat PCOS symptoms like hair growth and acne.
Source: Health Line with additional material from Africafeeds.com