Causes of PCOS are not clearly known and there are several opinions concerning PCOS causes. Here we try to demonstrate different approaches to PCOS causes.
PCOS causes according to “FertilityFactor.com”
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) tends to be caused by a chain of events. Insulin resistance causes obesity, which in turn, causes a hormonal imbalance. In 2000, the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that upwards of 40% of all women with PCOS will be found to have impaired glucose tolerance or Type 2 Diabetes by the time they turn 40. These findings suggest a crystal clear link between insulin resistance and PCOS.
The high levels of insulin experienced by those with PCOS stimulate women’s ovaries to produce too much testosterone, which is a male hormone.
PCOS and Excess Testosterone
This overproduction of testosterone can prevent the usual release of eggs each month which translates to infertility. In addition to infertility, excess testosterone may be responsible for symptoms such as hirsutism (excessive hair growth), acne, and male pattern baldness. Of course, the main symptom in PCOS is the presence of multiple ovarian cysts.
Scientists have been able to link PCOS with metabolic conditions such as high blood pressure, high levels of LDL (the harmful type of cholesterol), and obesity. All of these conditions are known risk factors for heart disease and something called Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X; a disorder that can raise a person’s risks for developing cardiovascular disease. Because of all of these research findings, physicians are now looking at PCOS in a new and more serious light.
In insulin resistance, the pancreas is fooled into producing too much insulin. This in turn impairs the ability of the body to turn food into energy. As a result, too much fat is stored in the body. The way it works is that the insulin resistance causes glucose to be prevented from entering the cells in an efficient manner so that it stays in the bloodstream. These elevated blood sugars on reaching the liver, convert to fat where it remains dispersed throughout the body.
As a woman takes in calories, her body is faced with two choices: burning these calories for a source of energy or turning them into fat for future storage. In those with PCOS, insulin resistance tells the body to always turn calories into stored fat and to increase the production of testosterone.
Right now, no one knows how to effect a permanent cure for PCOS. Even removing the ovaries will not wipe out the syndrome. However, it is possible to treat the issue of insulin resistance. The treatment of PCOS tends to be multilayered but can be quite effective in managing symptoms.
(information from – http://www.fertilityfactor.com/causes-of-pcos.html)
PCOS causes according to “NHS choices”
Resistance to insulin
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to control the amount of sugar in the blood. It helps to move glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it is broken down to produce energy.
Insulin resistance means that the body’s tissues are resistant to the effects of insulin. The body therefore has to produce extra insulin to compensate.
High levels of insulin cause the ovaries to produce too much testosterone (see below), which interferes with the development of the follicles and prevents normal ovulation.
Insulin resistance often makes you overweight, as raised insulin levels can lead to weight gain. Being overweight makes the symptoms of PCOS more pronounced because excess fat causes the body to produce more insulin.
Many women with PCOS are found to have an imbalance in certain hormones:
- Raised levels of luteinising hormone (LH), which is created in the pituitary gland to stimulate ovulation and hormone production in the ovaries. This excess is thought to have an abnormal effect on the ovaries.
- Raised levels of testosterone and other male sex hormones, which results in many of the symptoms of PCOS (all women produce testosterone, but normally in much lower levels than men).
- Reduced levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and progesterone.
- A thyroid gland that does not function normally. The thyroid gland produces hormones that keep the metabolism functioning effectively. In PCOS, levels of these hormones may be lower than normal.
- Raised levels of prolactin (only in some women with PCOS). This hormone usually stimulates the breast glands to produce milk in pregnancy.
(information from – http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Polycystic-ovarian-syndrome/Pages/Causes.aspx)
PCOS causes according to ”PCOS no more”
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome has a similar root cause to over-sized cysts in that it is a condition caused by hormonal imbalance. The immediate reason for the symptoms of PCOS is that your body is producing more male hormone androgens than is healthy for a female. Androgens are male hormones that naturally occur in women and are essential for many things but when elevated these hormones like testosterone and others lower estrogen production which in turn means that eggs are often not released, stopping the progesterone production from a burst egg sack which causes the cysts to continue to grow.
This severe hormonal imbalance is the cause of the symptoms but not the root cause of PCOS. To know more about this we need to dig a little deeper and look at something called insulin resistance.
PCOS and insulin resistance
What is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin is another hormone in your body that is mainly responsible for converting glucose (sugars) in your blood stream into energy to be used for everything our body does! Insulin resistance is when the body does not recognize much of your insulin and so it become ineffective at changing glucose into energy. Your body reacts by secreting more and more insulin so that the glucose eventually will be converted due to the large amount of insulin but at the cost of escalating your insulin levels to a huge number!
This has consequences.
For many women this leads to PCOS as this insulin imbalance causes the ovaries to produce more androgen which leads to all of the problems you suffer with this condition.
(information from – http://www.pcosnomore.com/what-causes-ovarian-cysts-pcos/)
PCOS causes according to “suite101.com”
Women with PCOS typically experience a range of unwanted health issues, including irregular periods, weight gain, excessive hair growth, acne, and trouble conceiving. The problem is a common one, affecting an estimated 5-10% of all women of childbearing age. As with many health issues, understanding the causes behind polycystic ovary syndrome can help you better manage it, and inspire you to make lifestyle changes that can lower your risk. Unfortunately, the causes of this syndrome are not 100% understood, so getting to the bottom of what caused your PCOS can be a challenge.
What causes PCOS symptoms?
The majority of women with PCOS can trace their symptoms to abnormally high levels of androgens being produced by their bodies. Androgens are often referred to as “male hormones”, but it is normal for a woman’s ovaries to produce these hormones at low levels. Hormones in the androgen family, such as testosterone, are responsible for the maintenance of sex characteristics associated with men – not only their sperm production, but also their body hair, muscle mass, and deep voices.
This is why many women with PCOS experience unwanted facial hair, acne, dandruff and weight gain. Additionally, when a woman’s ovaries produce more androgens than they should, it can interfere with egg production and lead to a failure to ovulate properly. Thus, too much androgen may explain what causes your PCOS symptoms, but what causes this pesky hormone imbalance in the first place?
Genetic causes behind PCOS-associated hormone imbalance
The simple answer is that the causes of PCOS are not fully understood yet, but there are important clues to help explain why some women but not others develop PCOS. There is evidence that certain genes may play a role in your PCOS risk. Researchers first noticed that women who have a mother or sister with PCOS are more likely to develop PCOS than those who did not. Since then, a number of genetic factors have been reported to contribute to PCOS.
Problems in genes such as CYP19, SHBG, FST, INS, INSR, CAPN10, and PAI-1 have all been found to be associated with polycystic ovary syndrome. It is likely that some women with PCOS have a defect in one gene (say CYP19) while others have a defect in a different gene (say PAI-1), but the result is the same in both cases–a hormone imbalance that leads to the development of PCOS. Because there are so many different genes possibly involved in causing the hormone imbalance, it’s difficult for medical researchers to determine exactly which genes may be to blame. That said, there is not much you can do about what genes you inherit. However, there are some causes of PCOS over which you do have some control.
Which causes of PCOS can I control?
Many researchers also think that insulin may play a role in causing or aggravating PCOS. Insulin is a hormone you may be familiar with–it helps change the sugar you eat into energy that your body can use. Many women with PCOS have too much insulin in their bodies, which can lead to excess androgen production. Therefore, one important way to reduce your PCOS risk, or manage the syndrome once you have it, is to watch how much sugar you consume. Limit processed foods with refined sugar and replace junk food with healthier fare.
Another lifestyle change that can have a big impact is maintaining a healthy weight. It’s common for women with PCOS to be overweight, and because fat cells actually produce hormones, losing weight can go a long way in restoring normal hormone balance. A ten-percent reduction in body weight has been shown to restore normal periods in some women with PCOS, making getting healthy a worthwhile venture for women living with polycystic ovary syndrome. As is the case with so many health issues, a healthy diet and regular exercise can go a long way to combat the unwanted symptoms of PCOS.
(information from – http://www.suite101.com/content/what-causes-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-a329379)
PCOS causes according to ”MedicineNet.com”
No one is quite sure what causes PCOS, and it is likely to be the result of a number of both genetic (inherited) as well as environmental factors. Women with PCOS often have a mother or sister with the condition, and researchers are examining the role that genetics or gene mutations might play in its development. The ovaries of women with PCOS frequently contain a number of small cysts, hence the name poly=many cystic ovarian syndrome. A similar number of cysts may occur in women without PCOS. Therefore, the cysts themselves do not seem to be the cause of the problem.
A malfunction of the body’s blood sugar control system (insulin system) is frequent in women with PCOS, who often have insulin resistance and elevated blood insulin levels, and researchers believe that these abnormalities may be related to the development of PCOS. It is also known that the ovaries of women with PCOS produce excess amounts of male hormones known as androgens. This excessive production of male hormones may be a result of or related to the abnormalities in insulin production.
Another hormonal abnormality in women with PCOS is excessive production of the hormone LH, which is involved in stimulating the ovaries to produce hormones and is released from the pituitary gland in the brain.
Other possible contributing factors in the development of PCOS may include a low level of chronic inflammation in the body and fetal exposure to male hormones.
(information from – http://www.medicinenet.com/polycystic_ovary/article.htm#causes)
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