A hormonal imbalance called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), where women ovaries generate excessive male hormone testosterone, causes the formation of small harmless cysts plus symptoms such as excessive hair growth, acne, weight gain, baldness, erratic periods and fertility problems. One in ten women affected by the condition should not get confused with polycystic ovaries.
Women with PCOS suffer both cysts and the symptoms caused by excessive amounts of hormone testosterone. The condition affects about three million women, but GPs fail to deal with it seriously. There should be more help available for sufferers, including counseling. Some GPs unwillingly diagnose it because they worry that patients will fear about infertility.
About forty percent of women with PCOS usually experience fertility problems. The incrased testosterone levels mean that women ovulate very irregularly and therefore find it harder to get pregnant naturally. Approximately a quarter of women with PCOS will need assistance with conception, but experts say weight loss will often help sufferers to become pregnant.
Some GPs prescribe contraceptive pill Dianette to women with PCOS, which blocks the action of male hormones, to help with hirsutism. Prof Helen Mason, an endocrinologist who specialises in PCOS from St George’s Hospital Medical School, London, explained but lots of women cannot tolerate Dianette, and many doctors are unwilling to prescribe it long-term.
Besides, there are concerns about side-effects such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), though these have not been proven. The best way to minimize symptoms of PCOS is losing weight, but usually patients are given insufficient dietary advice. Controlling weight is extremely essential to managing the symptoms of PCOS because being overweight exacerbates the symptoms, stated Prof Mason.
She added in addition to that fat cells also produce more insulin, which in turn increases the production of male hormones. The condition can have serious consequences in terms of mental health. In general it is better for women to know that they have PCOS because there are steps they can take to alleviate their symptoms.
Vaniqa, a prescription cream which inhibits hair growth, is available in some areas.