Welcome to our second Femtech Friday! Today we are going to focus on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that is estimated to affect at least 1 in 10 women in the UK. PCOS causes the growth of follicles (cysts) in the ovaries of affected women, although not everyone with PCOS has polycystic ovaries. The symptoms accompanying PCOS are varied, and include irregular or painful periods, excessive hair growth on the face, chest or back, weight gain, and excessive skin oil or acne. Beside these more evident symptoms, PCOS has also been associated with increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol levels, as well as a higher chance to develop depression in affected women.
Most experts think that several factors play a role in the development of PCOS. Women with PCOS may have higher levels of androgens (sometimes called “male hormones”). This can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg during the menstrual cycle, causing formation of cysts as well as extra hair growth and acne. Other genetic factors and some degrees of insulin resistance have also been implicated with PCOS in some women, although the combination of these factors may vary.
Currently, there is no cure for PCOS, but symptoms are often managed using oral contraceptives to support ovarian function and normal ovulation. However, these treatments are not effective in all cases of PCOS and are often accompanied by unpleasant side effects. Although PCOS constitutes the most common endocrine disorder among women in reproductive age, PCOS research is currently underfunded.
Would you like to know more about PCOS? Check out these two insightful resources!
Endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome are diametric disorders (scientific article)
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