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Definition Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) , Causes

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Definition Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) , Causes

(PCOS) Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome is a common endocrine disorder among women of reproductive age. It is characterized by the accumulation of numerous cysts (fluid-filled sacs) on the ovaries associated with high male hormone levels (testosterone), chronic anovulation (absent ovulation), and metabolic disturbances. Its symptoms include excess facial and body hair, acne, obesity, irregular menstrual cycles, and infertility.

Causes of (PCOS)

While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, it runs in families, so the tendency to develop the syndrome may be inherited. The interaction of hyperinsulinemia (high blood insulin levels) and hyperandrogenism (excessive secretion of male sex hormones produced by adrenal glands) is also believed to play an important role in chronic anovulation in susceptible women.

Pathophysiology 

Normally a woman ovulates when the follicle grows and releases a mature egg. But when the growth of the follicle is arrested, it builds up in the ovaries itself to form small cysts called polycystic ovaries.

Women with PCOS generally have insulin resistance (which can be hereditary or due to certain lifestyle factors) in which the body does not respond quickly to insulin.

As a result, blood levels of insulin rise as the body attempts to maintain normal glucose levels. Elevated blood insulin affects reproductive hormones, resulting in increased production of androgens by the ovary.

Androgens are “male” hormones (testosterone), which are normally produced in minor quantities in women.

If produced in excess, it results in anovulation and an increase in Luteinizing Hormone (LH) / Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) ratio in women.

This complex positive feedback of insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism arrests the follicles from growing at an early stage and causes them to build up in the ovaries to form small cysts called polycystic ovaries.

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