PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is an imbalance of hormones which occurs when the ovaries (the organ that produces and releases eggs) creates hormones in excess, which are called androgens. The three main features of PCOS are polycystic ovaries, excess androgens, ie. high levels of male hormones in female’s bodies and irregular periods.
PCOS is considered to be one of the most common causes of infertility in women and AFAB, ie. people assigned female at birth. And this increases the risk of other health conditions too. So it is important to know what are the first signs of pcos, so that they get treated at the right time. And to help you out with this, we got everything covered through this article.
As you scroll down, you will find out complete details about PCOS, such as what are the first signs of it, what are its causes, complications related to it and much more. So just continue to read below to check out all the info.
What are the first signs of pcos?
The very first and most common signs and symptoms of PCOS are as follows-
- Irregular Periods- Abnormal menstruation basically involves irregular periods or not having periods at all. It might also involve the situation of heavy bleeding during periods, and so this is a common first sign of PCOS.
- Obesity- People who have PCOS majorly have obesity and find it difficult to maintain weight which is healthy, and the number is considered to be almost 80% for it.
- Abnormal growth of hair- If you have PCOS, you might also experience heavy hair growth or excess facial hair on your chest, arms and abdomen. And this actually affects almost 70% of people who have PCOS.
- Acne- PCOS might cause acnes as well, especially on the face, chest and back. And this acme development might continue past your years of teenage, and so can become difficult to treat.
- Skin becoming dark- Another of what are the first signs of pcos is this. A person with PCOS might begin to get some patches of dark skin, majorly in the areas of groyne, which is between the legs, armpit and neck, and this condition is referred to as acanthosis nigricans.
- Skin tags- These tags are also among the first signs of PCOS. They are basically small flaps of some extra skin on the skin, and are often found on your neck or in your armpits.
- Cysts- A lot of people who have PCOS might have ovaries which appear to be larger or with many egg sac cysts (follicles) on undergoing an ultrasound.
- Infertility- PCOS is actually one of the most causes of infertility in a lot of people. As not ovulating frequently or properly can lead to not being able to conceive as well.
- Thinning of hair- People who have PCOS might start to bald or lose patches of hair on their head.
Diagnosis and Testing of PCOS
In most of the cases, the doctor diagnoses PCOS after performing a test and looking at what are the first signs of pcos. They might also perform an ultrasound or order blood tests to help with the diagnosis. And so your doctor will ask you the following-
- Firstly talk to you about any medical history and your symptoms.
- Then, you will be asked about the medical history of your biological family.
- They will then record your blood pressure and weight.
- Then, a physical exam will be performed, mainly for the excess hair on face, acne, facial hair, skin tags and discoloured skin.
- Then, they will perform a pelvic exam to look out for any other cause of abnormal bleeding.
- Some other blood tests will be done to check the glucose and hormone levels.
- And then a pelvic ultrasound will be performed to look closely at your ovaries, check the thickness of the lining of your uterus and other causes of bleeding
What are the best treatment options for PCOS?
As you read above about what are the first signs of pcos, let us find out about the best treatment options for it. The treatment for PCOS is determined by doctors based on the symptoms, other health conditions and medical history, and most importantly if you want to get pregnant. Treatments can include changes in lifestyle, medications and even combinations of both.
So if you are someone who is not planning on getting pregnant, the treatment options include the following-
- Insulin-sensitising medicine- There is a drug called metformin which is basically used to treat diabetes. This works by helping the body in processing insulin. And once insulin goes under control, people who have PCOS start to notice improvements in their menstrual cycle.
- Hormonal birth control- For this, the possible options include pills for birth control, vaginal ring, patches, shots or an IUD. Hormonal birth control simply helps to regulate the cycle of menstruation and reduces the excess growth of hair.
- Medications to block the androgens and some changes in lifestyle are also considered to be effective treatment options.
And in case you wish to become pregnant pregnant now or anywhere in future, then the options of treatment are-
- Surgery- A surgical process basically helps to restore the ovulation by removing the tissue in your ovaries which produces the hormone called androgen. But because there are new medications that are available now, surgeons rarely perform the procedure of surgery.
- Drugs in order to induce ovulation- A pregnancy which is successful basically starts with ovulation. There are certain drugs which have been seen to induce ovulation in people who have PCOS. The medications called letrozole and clomiphene are taken in oral form, while gonadotropins are injected by injections.
- IVF or In Vitro Fertilisation- This treatment option is considered for those people who do not get better on medications with ovulation. In this, your egg is basically fertilised with your partner’s sperm by the doctor in a lab before they transfer it to your uterus.
Thus, this is complete information on what are the first signs of pcos, its causes and complications related to it!