One of the main culprits that drags couples to the fertility clinic all around the world is polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS). It accounts for about 15 percent of all cases of infertility-related issues. It can happen anytime after menarche; ranging between 15 to 44yrs in most cases. Fertility is the main currency that lingers on the minds of anyone who hears the name, PCOS but this condition has a cross cutting effect on other areas such mental health and a risk factor for a number of non-communicable diseases.

Still in the month and wave of awareness creation for PCOS, we continue from where we left off the last time. Today, we’ll delve into the causes and associated effects that comes with PCOS.

The cause of PCOS

The cause of PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome is idiopathic meaning there is no known cause. However, postulates and authorities have it that it is a genetic association with chromosome 15. It is also familial because it can be transferred from one generation unto the other. It comes as no surprise that biological sisters have PCOS even if they are not twins. Twinning increases the chances more than the average population.

In the same vein, and I state emphatically that the fact that a biological mother or sister has PCOS does not necessarily connote that you are definitely next in line to be diagnosed of the condition. It simply means you should visit the gynaecological clinic if you have the following symptoms in the subsequent paragraphs because PCOS may be lurking. People with PCOS can have children of their own. Infertility caused by PCOS is correctable and can be managed well in this country.  

Concrete researches over the past few decades asserts that it is also linked to insulin resistance. Insulin is one of the main hormones that controls our blood sugar levels. This is why PCOS is a risk factor of diabetes – a good number of females with PCOS develop diabetes after some time.

Symptoms

No one symptom vividly points out PCOS. A number of symptoms must be present to give you the high index of suspicion that PCOS is knocking at the door. These include menstrual irregularities, difficulty to conceive a child, unintensional weight gain, acne and hirsusitism(growth of thick dark hair on the face, chest,limbs and back).

The psychological aspect of PCOS

Often going unnoticed is the psychological blow PCOS comes with. Males at puberty start developing facial hairs; from the side burns, to the goatee, to the moustache and soul patch. This is what we’ve grown with. It is even an issue when a male for some time fails to develop these hairs. The African society is not used to a female with such masculine hair pattern. You often will hear statements like “hwε, barima na ͻreba no” meaning “look at the man coming” knowing very well she is a female. These and many more of such statemnets are unhealthy. Let us be supportive as a society.

Some have acne(facial breakouts) so bad that it dissipates self-confidence. I seize this opportunity to bring to the public knowing that these women need support emotionally and psychologically. You don’t want to ridicule people going through the hard time of dealing with infertility, facial breakouts and deflated confidence.

How infertility is caused by PCOS

Infertility is simply the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sex. In the case of PCOS, the main issues hampering the capacity to be pregnant is difficulties in ovulation due to hormonal imbalances. Every month in the reproductive life of a woman, she releases eggs in anticipation for a sperm to be released through sex to achieve pregnancy. Spontaneously and unpredictably in the PCOS, certain months may be ovulation-free. Your guess is as good as mine that when sexual intercourse takes place during these month of no show(no ovulation), then pregnancy will not occur.

Is there a cure for PCOS

There isn’t any. It can be controlled with the right treatment at many fertility clinic across the country, depending on the symptoms, but it cannot be cured. It can be managed to improve her appearance and chances of getting of conceiving a child. Acne can be taken care off by a dermatologist.

When to see the doctor

Unprovoked medical checkupcannot be underestimated. Menstrual irregularities, infertility issues and uncontrollable symptoms should prompt you to see the gynaecologist. Remember, a stich in time saves nine. Thanks for reading. Have a lovely day.  

MICHAEL BAAH BINEY

(@_papabiney on twiiter & Instagram)

[email protected]

Final year Medical Student

University For Development Studies

Member of curious minds Ghana and activ8

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