By Dr. Anantharaman Ramakrishnan, Endocrinology
Endocrinology is the branch which deals with the study of medicine relating to the endocrine system which controls the hormones. The endocrine system consists of different glands that are known to produce and secrete different and unique hormones that are used by the body for performing different bodily functions like
- Sensory perception
- Sexual development
The hormones that are produced by the glands reach the different tissues of the body through the bloodstream. Through the hormones, the glands send signals to the tissues what to do. Diseases develop when the right amount of hormones are not developed by the glands affecting the different aspects of life.
Polycystic Syndrome – A Major Disease
The hormonal imbalances create a lot of diseases, and the one that has spread widely nowadays, is the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or the PCOS. It is a problem where a woman’s hormones are in a disbalance. Most of the women with this disease are known to grow small cysts on their ovaries according to the name. Though the cysts are not harmful, but they lead to a hormonal imbalance.
Hormone Related to PCOS-
The ovaries are known to generate small amount of the male hormones or the androgen. In PCOS, androgens are generated slightly more which can lead to the growth of extra facial and body hair on a female. She may stop ovulating and get acne all over her face. Sometimes PCOS also lead to diabetes as the body faces a problem of the insulin resistance.
Symptoms of PCOS-
- Weight gain and trouble losing the extra weight
- Acne and pimples
- Thinning of hair on the scalp
- Extra facial hair and body hair especially in the areas of chest, back and belly
- Irregular periods. Some women have periods with heavy bleeding while the others may stop having it
- Fertility problems may arise with the ones having PCOS and they may face difficulty to get pregnant
It generally gets detected by an ultrasound. The keys to treatment are regular exercise, weight control and healthy foods. The doctors generally provide metformin for helping with the regular menstrual cycles or the fertility medicines to help one conceive. Birth control pills are also given to reduce symptoms. One should not take any medicine for PCOS without proper consultation with the doctor.