A January 28th article in the Wall Street Journal looks at the latest research into the links between polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, obesity and infertility. PCOS, the most common cause of irregular menstrual cycles, largely still remains a mystery. Researchers are trying to better understand the disorder, which is generally defined by an excess production of the hormone testosterone, irregular ovulation and cysts—fluid-filled sacs—within the ovaries. Some teams are trying to improve its treatment to lessen its impact on women’s reproductive health and metabolism, or how the body uses or makes energy.
Even the diagnosis of PCOS can be tricky because the syndrome doesn’t look the same in everyone. What is called PCOS is likely a number of different diseases that manifest similar symptoms, such as acne, excess facial- and body-hair growth in reproductive-aged females, insulin resistance and abnormal menstrual periods.
Insulin resistance, an inability to properly process sugar, is common, regardless of body weight. This can greatly raise the risk in PCOS patients of developing diabetes. The uterine lining may build up excessively, which is related to the lack of ovulation, and endometrial cancer risk appears to be increased as well. And women with PCOS often have trouble conceiving because they may not ovulate regularly, and may be more likely to miscarry.
All of the latest information and treament options for PCOS are available at Reproductive Partners Medical Group.