Is an ovarian cyst a sign of PCOS?
Yes, the majority of the time, an ovarian cyst serves as a critical diagnostic marker for PCOS. However, if you have ovarian cysts, it may or may not be related to PCOS. Additionally, once identified, PCOS is a condition that can be managed with the proper dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as prescription medications that benefit the patient’s quality of life.
The term ‘polycystic’ simply means ‘having multiple cysts’. PCOS is a catch-all term for symptoms that have an impact on ovulation and the ovaries. In PCOS, the ovaries make an abnormally high volume of tiny sacs filled with fluid. Its three primary symptoms are missed or irregular periods, ovarian cysts, and increased levels of androgen hormones. Some women with PCOS, however, may not also have ovarian cysts. This article discusses PCOS along with the significance of ovarian cysts in the identification of PCOS, and its management.
What exactly is polycystic ovary syndrome?
The widespread reproductive disorder known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) includes a number of related medical conditions and affects numerous metabolic functions. This syndrome may result in obesity, insulin resistance (typically present in 60–80% of women with PCOS), hyperinsulinemia, and type 2 diabetes. It may also lead to cardiac problems, neurological and psychological side effects like anxiety and depression, as well as breast and endometrial cancers.
There is no proven single factor yet that is responsible for the onset of PCOS. However, higher levels of insulin and androgen, a family history, and even obesity can be probable contributing factors.
What role does the ovarian cyst play in the detection of PCOS?
The majority of ovarian cysts are small and barely noticeable. Women may not become aware of them until after an ultrasonic exam. Pressure, bloating, swelling and pain primarily affect the lower abdominal region.
You should know that the presence of polycystic ovaries is one of the crucial requirements for the PCOS diagnosis. Polycystic ovaries (PCO), on the other hand, do not necessarily signify PCOS. In terms of ultrasound diagnosis, PCO is ‘the presence of 12 or more follicles in each ovary measuring 2–9 mm in diameter and/or increased ovarian volume usually above 10 ml‘. According to estimates, 17–33% of women with PCOS also have Polycystic ovaries.
Since the Rotterdam criteria identify three key diagnostic characteristics of PCOS, these include irregular or non-existent ovulation, elevated blood androgen hormone levels, and polycystic ovaries. Therefore, doctors confirm the diagnosis of PCOS only in for the women who exhibit two of the three characteristics.
How exactly should PCOS be handled?
Please be aware that a woman should see a gynaecologist for prompt diagnosis of the condition if she has missed periods, has hair growth on her face and body, has been trying to conceive for more than a year, or exhibits other symptoms like excessive thirst, hunger, blurred vision, or even unexplained weight loss.
Although there is currently no treatment for PCOS, it is possible to achieve hormonal balance with the right lifestyle and dietary changes and prescribed medications, which can improve the patient’s quality of life and ability to conceive.
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