Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which is classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as group II ovulation disorder, is one of the most common health problems in women of reproductive age. It is a condition in which the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens, which are male sex hormones that are usually present in women in small amounts. Its nomenclature describes the numerous small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that form in the ovaries. Some women develop cysts while others do not.
A consultant gynecologist, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, said that accompanied by chronic anovulation, early diagnosis and treatment alongside weight loss may reduce the risk of long-term complications of PCOS. Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from an ovary. This happens so it can be fertilized by a male sperm. If the egg is not fertilized, it is sent out of the body during a women’s period. Anovulation happens when an egg (ovum) does not release from the ovary during a menstrual cycle.
Women with polycystic ovaries risk cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes.
Dr. Ajayi is the Managing Director of Nordica Fertility Centre. He said this at a webinar with the theme, “How To Tackle Infertility In 2023 Is Also Good.” He stressed that for a diagnosis of PCOS, history of irregular menstruation and other clinical examinations are required to ascertain a woman has PCOS. He also added that women with this disorder are at the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. The disorder cannot be cured but can be managed. The management includes watching one’s weight.
For a woman with such a condition to become pregnant, she has to be checked. An egg, which is the product of ovulation, is needed to have a pregnancy. Because such a woman does not ovulate, the medical experts will induce her ovulation using birth control pills to balance estrogen and testosterone levels before beginning fertility treatment. Doctors may also prescribe fertility medications to jumpstart the ovaries to send out more eggs. The woman may also require In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment to help her get pregnant.
PCOS is characterized by irregular period, infertility and excess hair growth.
About ten percent of the women with high levels of a form of testosterone known as “free testosterone” are battling PCOS. The disorder’s symptoms include: irregular or absent menstrual periods, infertility, blood sugar disorders, acne or oily skin, and excess body hair (including the chest, stomach, and back), weight gain, ovaries with cysts, male-pattern baldness or thinning hair, among others. Most women with PCOS are also overweight or obese, though a small percentage have a normal body weight.
The consultant said that if this left untreated, high levels of androgens, whether a woman has PCOS or not, are associated with serious health consequences, such as resistance to insulin, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure (HBP), and heart disease. However, research has shown that women with PCOS have a high success rate of getting pregnant with IVF treatment. According to reports, the success rate of IVF in women with PCOS is pegged at about 70 percent. This is excellent for women battling infertility issues.
STDs are also major causes of infertility, especially when poorly treated.
Dr. Ajayi commented that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are one of the major causes of infertility particularly when they are not treated well. He advised that no form of STD should be treated at random. Instead, a culture test should be taken before empirical treatment. According to him, STDs can directly or indirectly cause infertility in both women and men. If left untreated, infections can develop and cause infertility by moving up the reproductive system and spreading to the woman’s uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes causing damage, scarring or inflammation.