Just like hormonal changes, PCOS in teens and adults ( a type of hormonal imbalance) are part of normal puberty and quite common these days. Actually acne and irregular periods are part of pubertal development. So when does it become PCOS?
Lots of girls who are misdiagnosed with PCOS are actually just in normal puberty, and later go on to have completely normal hormones. On the other hand, many girls or women still go undiagnosed, even with clear signs, as there’s so much confusion as to what is normal. With PCOS, it’s better to intervene earlier because this can make a huge difference in their overall health for life. In this article, you will understand about PCOS, its causes, symptoms, signs and tips to manage PCOS in Teens and Adults.
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What Is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)?
PCOS, which stands for polycystic ovary syndrome, is a common health problem that can affect teen girls and young women. It can cause irregular menstrual periods, make periods heavier, or even make periods stop. It can also cause a girl to have excess facial hair and acne.
What Causes Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
Doctors can’t say for sure what causes it, but PCOS seems to be related to an imbalance in a girl’s or woman hormones . For most women, it’s probably a combination of factors, including the genes you inherit from your family. For example, women with PCOS are more likely to have a mother or sister with PCOS.
PCOS is usually caused when in addition to estrogen (the main female hormone), women also make small amounts of testosterone (the main male hormone). In PCOS, girls and women make a little extra testosterone than normal. Research also suggests that the body might make too much insulin, signaling the ovaries to release extra male hormones. The higher amounts of these male hormones can interfere with egg development and release. Due to the presence of extra male hormones (testosterone), sometimes cysts (little sacs filled with liquid) develop, instead of the eggs maturing. This results in the cysts build up in the ovaries instead of an egg being released during ovulation as in a normal period. Eventually, these Polycystic ovaries can become enlarged. Girls/women with PCOS might not be ovulating or releasing an egg each month.
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What are the Signs and Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
The signs and symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are as mentioned below:
- Irregular menstrual periods, which means having your period more than once a month or every few months
- Missed periods
- Very heavy or very light periods
- Unwanted hair growth on your face, chest, back, hands, upper arms and legs, or around your nipples (a condition called hirsutism)
- Acne or clogged pores
- Thinner hair on your head (alopecia)
- Patches of dark, thickened skin on your neck, armpits, or between your breasts (called acanthosis nigricans), which is a sign of insulin resistance
- Weight gain or obesity
Teens and women with PCOS also are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol.
Girls who show signs of puberty early, such as developing underarm or pubic hair before age 8, may be at greater risk for PCOS later on.
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What Problems Can Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Cause?
Girls/women with PCOS are more likely to:
- Face infertility or have difficulty conceiving. However, this is treatable when a woman decides she wants to become pregnant.
- Have excessive hair growth on places such as the face, chest, or belly
- Get acne or have their acne get worse
- Gain weight or difficulty maintaining a normal weight
- Develop diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure
- Have obstructive sleep apnea Which foods help to manage sleep issues?
How Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Diagnosed?
If your doctor thinks you might have PCOS, he or she may refer you to a gynecologist or an endocrinologist for a diagnosis. To make the diagnosis, the doctor might perform any or some of the following actions:
- Ask about your concerns and symptoms, your past health, your family’s health, any medicines you’re taking, any allergies you have, and other issues.
- Ask you lots of questions specifically about your period and its regularity.
- Do a physical exam, which includes checking your weight, and looking for physical signs such as acne, hair growth, and darkened skin.
- Do a gynecologic exam to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.
- Order blood tests to diagnose PCOS and or to see if the symptoms are caused by other conditions, such as thyroid or other ovarian or gland problems.
- Order a pelvic ultrasound (a safe, painless test that uses sound waves to make images of the pelvis) to check your ovaries for cysts or other problems.
How THeSE 5 TIPS AND FOODS CAN HELP TO TREAT PCOS in Teens or adults?
There’s no cure for PCOS, but there are several ways to treat and manage it.
1. Diet and Exercise
If a girl/woman is overweight or obese, a doctor will recommend lifestyle changes. Weight loss can be very effective in easing many of the health conditions associated with PCOS, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Your doctor or a registered dietitian can look at your food intake and your exercise and activity to create a weight-loss program for you. Exercise is very important to improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin and prevent progression to diabetes.
Sometimes doctors prescribe medicines to treat PCOS.
- Birth control pills to help control androgen levels in the body and regulate menstrual cycle. They may also help control acne and excessive hair growth in some girls, but they don’t work for everyone.
- Antiandrogens also are sometimes used to treat PCOS in teens. These medicines counter the effects of excess androgens and help clear up skin and hair growth problems.
- A diabetes medicine called metformin can lower insulin levels. In some girls with PCOS, it can help control ovulation and androgen levels which can make menstrual cycles more regular.
Medicines should always be combined with the recommended lifestyle changes.
3. Dietary changes to maintain hormone balance in body
Though all of the nutrients are beneficial for the overall health of the body when it comes to maintaining hormone levels, some of them are extremely important to include in the diet. Here is the list of the major nutrients that you should include in your diet.
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- Magnesium: whole grain, cereals, nuts, dairy products, bananas and chlorophyll rich vegetables
- Zinc: Foods such as brown rice, whole wheat, nuts, pumpkin seeds, oats, millets, dried beans and lentils, leafy greens, yams and sesame seeds.
- Calcium: Dried fig, milk and milk products, beans, pulses, seeds and nuts
- Vitamin D: Exposure to sunlight and vitamin D rich foods like egg yolk.
- Vitamin K: Green vegetables, cereals and meat.
- Manganese: Cereals, brans, nuts and tea.
- Phytoestrogens: Flax seeds, fennel seeds, licorice, alfalfa and aloe vera.
4. Lifestyle changes to maintain the hormonal levels
Along with the dietary changes in your routine, a few lifestyle changes could bring out the best of the best results. Following these tips and routines on a daily basis, would help to stay away from all kinds of health issues.
- Avoid alcohol consumption and smoking to the most extent. Also, avoiding junk food to the maximum will show great results.
- Sleep well and make sure you get good and sound sleep every night.
- Stress is undoubtedly your worst enemy and you should do every single effort to keep it away from you.
5. Ayurvedic Herbs and Remedies for PCOS:
PCOS or Artavakshaya is classified as Kapha Dosha imbalance. Kapha is the dynamic energy of growth and structure. Ayurveda prescribes specific herbs, therapies, yoga, exercise and diet to balance the Dosha.
Herbs that help to give relief from Acne and Hirsutism:
Turmeric (Haldi) has medicinal properties that aid in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions. It aids in hormone balance and menstrual cycle regulation in females. Curcumin ( a compound found in Turmeric) stimulates the production of bile in the gallbladder, which is then used by the liver to eliminate toxins and purify the blood, resulting in regular periods. (
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Amla has detoxifying qualities which helps to reduce cholesterol levels. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties which removes free radicals and helps to restore hormonal balance in the body.
Ashwagandha is a plant that acts as an adaptogen. It is an excellent stress reliever and can be extremely beneficial for adolescent girls. Researchers believe that its root contains sleep-inducing compounds that can help people sleep better naturally. It also causes an increase in the level of acetylcholine, the most important neurotransmitter linked to increased brain power.
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Shatavari is an Ayurvedic herb containing multifold health benefits for women. It contains vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, calcium, magnesium, and folic acid. Flavonoids in it help regulate cellular activity and fight off free radicals that are the primary cause of oxidative stress. Shatavari also helps in balancing the hormones. It can assist to regulate the menstrual cycle and relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstrual cramps. It is also useful in cases of unusual or severe bleeding.
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