PCOS-related health conditions - Fakih Fertility Center
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  • PCOS-related health conditions

    Tuesday, September 27, 2022

    Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance and metabolism problems that may affect their overall health and appearance. PCOS is also a common and treatable cause of infertility.

    Not all women with PCOS will develop these conditions, but having PCOS increases your risk. Thus, it is important to have your health monitored regularly by a physician who has experience treating women with PCOS. Regular physician visits should be scheduled through your reproductive years and continue after menopause, even though you will no longer have erratic periods and other PCOS symptoms may lessen after menstruation ends.

    If you have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), it is important to understand the long-term health risks associated with the disease, here are 6 of them:

    Subfertility or Infertility

    Subfertility (reduced fertility) and infertility are common reproductive problems associated with PCOS. The overproduction of the male hormone testosterone causes an imbalance in other sex hormones, so the ovaries may only infrequently release eggs. Thanks to the availability of ovulation-inducing drugs and advances in assisted reproductive technologies, many women with PCOS can now conceive.

    Insulin Resistance

    More than one-half of women with PCOS have insulin resistance. Having insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia (excess insulin in the blood) can lead to increased production of androgens in the ovaries, making PCOS symptoms worse. More than one-half of women with PCOS will have either type 2 diabetes or prediabetes (impaired glucose tolerance) before their early 40s.

     Obesity in women with PCOS may result from imbalanced hormone levels, increased deposition of fat due to higher insulin levels, metabolic dysfunction (problems with how the body stores and uses energy), or a combination of these factors.  Obesity can lead to serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.  The majority of women with PCOS are obese, Fats often accumulate around the midsection.

    Endometrial cancer
    Having the condition PCOS does not cause endometrial cancer; instead, it is having very infrequent periods that might increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
    From your teens through menopause, all women experience a monthly buildup of the endometrial lining in the uterus, as the body prepares itself for the potential of a fertilized egg. If you do not become pregnant, the lining normally is shed through menstruation.  Women with PCOS also experience the monthly buildup of the endometrial lining. However, the lining is not sufficiently shed because she has infrequent or nonexistent menstrual periods. Thus, the lining continues to build and can increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
     The oral contraceptive pill can be used to improve the regularity of periods. Adequate physical activity and having a healthy body weight can also assist in making periods regular.

    Sleep Apnea

    sleep apnea occurs when a person’s airway becomes too narrow during sleep. Women with PCOS are at much higher risk for obstructive sleep apnea than are other women.13 This risk is even higher among women with PCOS who are obese. As a result, breathing stops for several seconds. Often, when the person starts breathing again, he or she makes a snorting or choking sound.   Sleep apnea increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, obesity, and diabetes.

    Heart Diseases

    A study suggests that young women with PCOS have an increased risk of heart disease. Overweight or obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure are common in PCOS and are all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. But the good news is that you have a good chance of reducing your risk for heart disease by following a heart-healthy lifestyle. That is eating a balanced diet with more fruits and vegetables and engaging in regular physical activity.