[kat note: I read EVERYTHING on PCOS, and this article is the FIRST I’ve heard this! See the section I put in bold and underline]
Information on polycystic ovary syndrome
Many women have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a condition that can go undiagnosed for years and cause life-threatening complications leading to ovarian, breast, or endometrial cancer. PCOS is an acronym that means Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome. This name is given because one of the most common results of this disease is the formation of many cysts on the ovaries, but the problems it produces are manifold. This congenital abnormality disrupts multiple body symptoms that can wreak havoc throughout a lifetime.
Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome is listed in the “National Registry of Rare Disorders”. It is also called Stein-Leventhal Syndrome. This birth defect begins at conception with an abnormality in the fifth and sixth chromosome. Many complications arise from this disorder: hormonal imbalances, infertility, adult acne, a “hump” on the upper back, patches of dark skin under the arms, male-pattern baldness, adrenal hyperplasia, high blood pressure and obesity.
The earliest sign of Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome is a delayed menses and infrequent periods. An endocrinologist can order tests to evaluate hormone levels and try to correct this problem by prescribing medication, such as birth control pills and progesterone that can help bring the male/female hormones into balance. This hormonal imbalance often leads to infertility. Most women need to be treated by a fertility specialist who can prescribe infertility drugs, like Clomid, in order to help them conceive
Because a woman does not have regular periods, the uterine wall can thicken and harden. At this stage cancer can form inside the uterus. Many times these female problems warrant a DnC. The gynecologist will perform outpatient surgery to scrape the inside of the uterus. When the ultrasound shows many cysts formed on both ovaries, the gynecologist often recommends a complete hysterectomy. In rare cases even after taking this drastic precaution, cancer may have already spread and be lying dormant in nearby lymph nodes. It then shows up a few years later and can be traced back to complications of Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome. Hormonal imbalances can also lead to breast cancer.
Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome can also be linked to a lifelong battle with obesity. This symptom can begin early in life when a young girl is just starting to develop. No amount of dieting can correct this disorder. The obesity is caused by insulin-resistance which means the body’s metabolism cannot process and use insulin correctly. This produces abnormal weight gain and low energy levels. An informed endocrinologist may prescribe metformin, the same medication used to treat diabetes, in order to correct this problem. A high protein, low carbohydrate diet is often recommended. If the obesity is allowed to continue unchecked, it can lead to adult-onset diabetes.
The University of Chicago has a special clinic dedicated to dealing with the many complications that arise from Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome. Their web site can answer many other questions relating to this rare disorder.
Understanding the repercussions of this condition is half the battle. As more women are able to recognize the symptoms of this syndrome they can find medical help before endometrial cancer steals the remaining years of their life.
Written by Sandra Campbell