Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine condition that causes women to produce higher-than-average androgens, which are common male reproductive hormones.
PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) is an endocrine (hormonal) condition that affects women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS have higher-than-average androgens, which are common male reproductive hormones. They may experience irregular or nonexistent menstrual periods, weight gain, excess body and facial hair, ovarian dysfunction, and fertility issues.
Moreover, PCOS is closely linked to insulin resistance. In fact, between 50% – 70% of women with PCOS experience insulin resistance. Because insulin is a hormone, elevated blood insulin can cause hormonal imbalances and stimulate the ovaries to increase androgen production. Researchers believe that insulin resistance contributes to PCOS and, in turn, PCOS exacerbates insulin resistance.
Excess androgenic hormones from PCOS causes fat accumulation around the abdomen. This leads to inflammation that disrupts the function of insulin receptors, which further contributes to insulin resistance. Both PCOS and insulin resistance can contribute to infertility. Hormonal imbalances triggered by PCOS may interfere with the embryo’s implantation, while insulin resistance may lead to miscarriage due to insufficient nutrition and embryo support. Infertility is sometimes a result of PCOS as the ovaries may develop small follicle (fluid) bundles, failing to release or generate an egg on a regular basis.
Elevated levels of the male hormones (androgens) may cause the physical symptoms often associated with PCOS. Women may experience excess body and facial hair (hirsutism), usually severe acne, and male-pattern baldness patterns.
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