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Women: Growing facial hair, Gaining weight, Difficult conceiving, WHY?

Discussion in 'JF Doctor' started by Mzalendo JR, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Mzalendo JR

    Mzalendo JR JF-Expert Member

    Oct 16, 2012
    Joined: Jun 6, 2012
    Messages: 1,024
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    A disease condition that every woman should know

    By Dr Fredirick L Mashili, MD.

    When it comes to appearance, women are often times more concerned with their looks than men. Abnormalities in a woman’s body appearance and overall look may require more serious attention, considering the fact that some of these abnormalities could actually be manifestations of an underlying disease condition. It is therefore not surprising that a rapid, unexplained weight gain, emerging facial hair or an abrupt appearance of facial acne may be telling you more than you might think.

    Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is also known as Stein-Leventhal syndrome. It is a potentially serious health condition that can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, ability to have children, and appearance. Most women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries. That is why it is called polycystic ovary syndrome. The cysts are not harmful, but lead to hormone imbalances, which can complicate your periods and make it difficult to get pregnant. The hormone imbalances caused by PCOS may also cause unwanted changes in the way that you look. If left unchecked, it can lead to serious health problems, such
    as diabetes and heart problems.

    Data on the prevalence of this condition in Tanzania or the rest of Africa is generally lacking. However, reports from other parts of the world show that the disease is very common. POCS has been reported to affect 1 in 10 women in some countries. The symptoms often begin in women between the ages of 14 to 20 years. Treatment can help to control the symptoms and prevent long-term problems.

    What happens with Hormones in PCOS?

    Hormones are chemical substances that are produced in the body. They act as messengers and help to trigger many different biological processes, including growth, reproduction and energy production.

    To date, researchers have not found the specific cause of the hormone imbalances seen in women with POCS. One hormonal change triggers another hormone.Here is what happens in PCOS:

    The sex hormones become imbalanced. Normally the ovaries produce a small amount of male sex hormones (androgens). In PCOS, the ovaries begin to produce slightly more androgens. This may cause you to stop ovulating, develop
    acne or grow extra facial and body hair.

    The body may develop insulin resistance. In PCOS, the body may acquire insulin resistance. This is a condition in which insulin-sensitive organs in the body including; muscles, liver and fat no longer respond to the effects of the hormone.
    When the body doesn’t use insulin well, blood sugar levels go up. Overtime, this increases your risk of getting diabetes.

    Symptoms of Polycystic ovarian syndrome

    Symptoms tend to be mild initially. You may have only a few symptoms or many.

    The most common symptoms are:

    • Acne
    • Weight gain with difficult in loosing it
    • Extra hair on the face and body, which is often thicker and darker facial hair and more hair on the chest belly and back.
    • Thinning scalp hair
    • Irregular periods
    • Fertility problems. Many women with POCS have trouble getting pregnant (infertility).
    • Depression

    Causes of PCOS

    PCOS seems to run in families, so your chance of having it is higher if other women in your family have PCOS, irregular periods, or diabetes. PCOS can be passed down from either your mother’s or your father's side of the family.

    However, there is still no proof that POCS is inherited.Treatment of PCOS Regular exercise, weight control and health diet are the main treatments for PCOS. Medicine targeting the imbalanced hormones may also be used. The above treatments can help to prevent symptoms and help to prevent long-term health problems. The first step in managing PCOS is to get regular exercise, and eat heart-healthy foods. This can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It can also help you lose excess weight.

    Targeting the specific symptoms, which constitute PCOS, is another way to manage the problem. Diabetes medications, which are used to control blood sugar, as well as infertility treatments for women who want to get pregnant, can be used to combat the effects of PCOS. Birth control pills can be used to correct irregular menses caused by PCOS. Further and more specific details regarding these treatment modalities are beyond the scope of this article. However, more exhaustive explanation of these treatments can be found in popular medical literature or may be discussed with your doctor.

    Dr Mashili is an advocate for research into policy and practice translation. Get to know him more, visit www.Afyaandfitnesstv.com
  2. Riwa

    Riwa JF-Expert Member

    Oct 16, 2012
    Joined: Oct 11, 2007
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    Good article Prof....