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PCOS seems to be getting more and more common every day. However, we still don’t seem to have a completely clear picture of the condition and why it happens. The exact causes of PCOS are not known, but there are some factors that play a key role in causing it. Let us see what those factors are.
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal health disorder among women of childbearing age. When you have PCOS, your ovaries produce more than the normal amount of male hormones called androgens (specifically testosterone), which are usually present in a smaller amount in females.
This hormone imbalance makes it difficult for the ovaries to release eggs (ovulation) and causes irregular menstrual cycles. PCOS can also cause numerous small, fluid-filled sacs to develop inside the ovaries (polycystic ovary), giving the condition its name.The excess amount of androgens may also cause other PCOS symptoms including infertility, skin darkening, unwanted facial hair, acne, weight gain, etc.
The science behind what causes PCOS is still unclear. Research is ongoing but experts believe that PCOS is an outcome of a combination of genetics and environmental factors.
Let us have a look at the contributing factors or possible causes of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
High Levels of Insulin
When your cells lose the ability to respond appropriately to insulin, there is a rise in blood glucose (sugar) levels. To stabilise the blood sugar levels, your pancreas produces more and more insulin. This increases the level of insulin in your blood (hyperinsulinemia), which may lead to excess production of androgens in the body, causing PCOS.
Excess Androgen Levels
Your ovaries produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone along with a small amount of androgens. In PCOS, your ovaries produce more than normal amounts of androgens, creating a hormonal imbalance.
High levels of androgen can cause difficulties with ovulation (release of eggs from the ovaries), during each menstrual cycle, and can cause irregularities with menstrual cycles along with other symptoms of PCOS such as weight gain around the abdomen and unwanted hair growth on the body and face.
Studies suggest that women with PCOS may develop low-grade inflammation (a chronic response to disease, injury, or foreign bodies that produces a steady yet low level of inflammation throughout the body).
If you are obese and have high abdominal fat, the adipose (fat) tissue may show an increased secretion and release of proinflammatory cytokines.
Proinflammatory cytokines can cause low-grade inflammation in your body. Various studies suggest that long-term low-grade inflammation stimulates the ovaries to produce more androgens and may lead to PCOS.
Some studies suggest that genetics or heredity can be the reason for PCOS. If you have a sister or mother with this condition, there is a chance that you may get it too. Experts suggest that not one, but many genes may contribute to the development of PCOS.
There is no cure for PCOS but it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. If you think you have PCOS, consult a doctor immediately.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance affecting women of reproductive age. This condition can cause difficulties with ovulation, irregular menstrual cycles, and infertility, along with other symptoms.
- The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. However, experts believe that excess insulin levels, high levels of androgen hormones, low-grade inflammation, and genetics may play an important role in the development of PCOS.
- PCOS is a chronic condition that cannot be cured but can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. If you think you have PCOS, consult a doctor immediately.
- Start your PCOS management journey with Phable. Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading gynaecologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, and dieticians; order medicines; book lab tests; and get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a PCOS Management program that provides 360º care.
Friendly Asked Questions
Yes, PCOS can cause infertility in women. The excess androgen production in the body in PCOS interferes with the release of eggs from the ovaries. This can lead to lack of ovulation, irregular menstrual cycles and fertility issues in women.
PCOS does not directly cause cancer. However, it can increase your risk of developing endometrial cancer.
Yes. Though the exact cause of PCOS is not yet known, an unhealthy lifestyle, including lack of physical activity, poor dietary habits, weight gain, lack of sleep, and chronic stress, can contribute to the development of PCOS.
There is no proven way to prevent or avoid PCOS. However, having a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy body mass index can help reduce the risk of developing PCOS.
No, masturbation does not cause PCOS. The exact cause of PCOS is not known and experts believe that excess insulin levels, high androgen levels, low-grade inflammation, and genetics may play a role in its development.
No, PCOS is a lifetime condition that cannot be cured or made to go away. However, you can manage the condition with medication and healthy lifestyle changes.
Yes, you can have PCOS with no family history. The exact cause of PCOS is not known. Although it does have a genetic component, high levels of insulin, excess androgen levels, and low-grade inflammation are also considered to be contributory factors.
The exact cause of PCOS is not known. However, high levels of insulin, excess androgen levels, low-grade inflammation, and genetics are considered to be contributory factors.