Long-term Health Risks of PCOS
How are you doing with your PCOS? Are you finding it bit difficult to lose weight? Are you tired with insomnia? Do you see your hair falling more often? A lot of problems to face at a time! Well, you’re not alone. As many as one in four women around the world face Polycystic Ovary Syndrome symptoms (PCOS) although the fact it’s often misdiagnosed or even goes undiagnosed means numbers are probably even higher.
The name – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – refers to the multiple, mini “cysts” which form on the ovaries of some women who suffer from the condition. These ovarian cysts are actually egg sacks or follicles and instead of growing and releasing an egg through ovulation as they normally would, they stall, instead of releasing relatively higher male hormones into the blood, causing a range of health problems.
If it remains undiagnosed, polycystic ovarian syndrome symptoms put you at a greater risk of developing the long-term health problems discussed below:
- Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
If your blood glucose does not stay normal, this can lead to diabetes. One or two in every ten women with polycystic ovarian syndrome symptoms go on to develop diabetes at some point. If the diabetes is untreated, this can cause damage to organs in the body. If you have PCOS, your risk of developing diabetes is increased further if you:
- are over 40 years of age
- have relatives with diabetes
- developed diabetes during a pregnancy (known as gestational diabetes)
- are obese (a body mass index (BMI) of over 30).
Many women don't realize they have PCOS until they see a doctor to determine why they cannot get pregnant. Infertility or reduced fertility is a common problem for women with PCOS. This may be due to the imbalance of hormones (including the ovaries' overproduction of the male hormone testosterone). The ovaries may release ova (eggs) only infrequently.
Although PCOS may reduce a woman's chances to become pregnant, the disease is not a substitute for birth control. Many women with polycystic ovarian syndrome symptoms do become pregnant, with proper medical assistance.
- High Blood Pressure
Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome symptoms tend to have high blood pressure, which is likely to be related to insulin resistance and to being overweight rather than to the PCOS itself. High blood pressure can lead to heart problems and should be treated.
- Endometrial Cancer
From teen years through menopause, all women experience a monthly buildup of the endometrial lining of the uterus, as the body prepares itself for the potential of a fertilized egg. If a woman does not become pregnant, the lining normally is shed through menstruation.
Women with PCOS also experience the monthly buildup of the endometrial lining. However, the lining is not sufficiently shed because she has infrequent or nonexistent menstrual periods. Thus, the lining continues to build and can increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
- Depression and Mood Swings
Depression and mood swings are commonly experienced with polycystic ovarian syndrome symptoms. Nearly half of all women with PCOS will have anxiety, and one-third will have depression. This may be due to hormones or the effect of symptoms such as hair growth, weight, and acne. All these symptoms affect how you see yourself and how you think others see you. It can lower your self-esteem.
- Snoring and Daytime Drowsiness
Sleep is a crucial part of health and wellness. Without adequate restful sleep, you can feel irritable, foggy, hungry and unable to function. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome symptoms are much more likely to suffer from a variety of sleep disturbances including insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea. Without it, neurological functioning actually starts to decline, making us feel moody or unable to concentrate, and as if our memory was impaired as well.
As we said earlier, if you have been diagnosed with PCOS, it is important to understand the long-term health risks associated with the disease. But, it’s not necessary, all women with PCOS will develop all of these conditions, but having PCOS does increase your risk. It is important to have your health monitored regularly by a good doctor and take an appropriate polycystic ovarian syndrome treatment. Regularly scheduled doctor visits should continue after menopause, even though you will no longer have erratic periods and other polycystic ovarian syndrome symptoms may lessen.