PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of all ages, although it is slightly more common in women of reproductive age. According to a study around 10 – 15 percent of all women worldwide, suffer from PCOS. At Dr. Banker, we understand that PCOS can be hard on women, and as parents to manage PCOS Symptoms in Teenagers may be more confusing. That is why it is important to discuss this topic, as there can be many misconceptions or lack of awareness. In this blog, we will walk you through symptoms that teens with PCOS exhibit and talk about PCOS care and treatment.
Table of Content
1.0 Prevalence of PCOS
2.0 What is PCOS?
3.0 How is PCOS diagnosed?
4.0 What causes PCOS?
5.0 PCOS Symptoms in Teenagers
5.1 Irregular Periods and egg production
5.3 Acne and Hirsutism
5.4 Insulin resistance and Glucose Metabolism
5.6 Acanthosis Nigricans
6.0 Management of PCOS Symptoms in Teenagers
7.0 PCOS care or PCOS treatment
7.1 Regularise periods
7.2 Antiandrogens to control hirsutism and acne
7.3 Family counseling to control weight and calorie intake for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
Prevalence of PCOS
PCOS is characterized by a range of symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles, elevated levels of androgens (male hormones), and small fluid-filled sacs (cysts) on the ovaries.
Its prevalence has been steadily increasing, making it one of the most common endocrine disorders affecting people assigned female at birth.
Let us delve deeper into the prevalence of PCOS, exploring its incidence, risk factors, and the challenges it presents to individuals striving for reproductive health and well-being.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a syndrome of dilemmas having a wide range of clinical, biochemical, and sonography features and there are challenges in diagnosis due to its varied symptoms and contrasting manifestations in different women. A Polycystic Ovary Syndrome diagnosis can only be made after careful evaluation of a patient since the presenting symptoms vary in each patient. While teens with PCOS would include irregular periods or heavy menstruation and acne. Lack of PCOS care may cause infertility, hirsutism in young adults and cardiovascular problems, and type 2 diabetes in aging women. This is why in a large number of women having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, diagnosis can often take time as symptoms can go unnoticed. This is why it is vital to recognize and diagnose the issue and manage PCOS before it can lead to other complications.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
PCOS is often characterized by irregular menstrual cycles, excessive hair growth, and small fluid-filled sacs or cysts in the ovaries. Diagnosing PCOS can be complex, as its symptoms can vary widely from one individual to another. However, early, and accurate diagnosis is crucial for effective management and to minimize potential long-term health risks associated with PCOS. This blog post will delve into the various methods and tests employed by healthcare professionals to diagnose PCOS, shedding light on the diagnostic process and its significance in addressing this condition.
What causes PCOS?
PCOS is believed to have a multifactorial origin, meaning it can result from a combination of genetic, hormonal, and lifestyle factors. While the exact cause remains the subject of ongoing research, several key factors are known to contribute to the development of PCOS:
- Insulin Resistance
- Hormonal Imbalance
- Lifestyle Factors
PCOS Symptoms in Teenagers
Since the ovaries start full function at puberty and menarche, the syndrome starts manifestations only after that. The very first sign or warning in teens with PCOS would be premature pubarche or the early appearance of pubic hair. An average girl will get her first period at around 12 years of age, but this differs from one girl to the other. One of the main symptoms of PCOS is irregular periods or the absence of a period. However, since periods are widely irregular in the first two years of puberty, PCOS care is not provided in many cases, as symptoms may go unnoticed.
As some of the above symptoms like acne and weight gain are also characteristics of normal puberty, the diagnosis of PCOS is often overlapped, delayed, and misinterpreted.
If your daughter or somebody is showing these symptoms then it is required to visit a doctor immediately for PCOS care. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made many doctors inaccessible so you can search on the internet for “PCOS care near me or gynecologist near me”.
Common problems faced by teens with PCOS
Irregular Periods and egg production
When there is a disturbance in the proper production of hormones from the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, it leads to absence or irregularity in egg production. It is noticed that for teens with PCOS, the menstrual cycle gets delayed or even completely stops. Since the ovary does not produce and release an egg every month, the small follicles get converted into multiple small cysts giving rise to the typical appearance of enlarged ovaries during PCOS.
One of the main hyperandrogenism symptoms for teens with PCOS is producing excessive male hormone androgen in females. This imbalance then contributes to irregular periods, face and body acne, thinning of hair on the head, increased body and facial hair, and other PCOS symptoms.
Acne and Hirsutism
Since the male sex hormones are abnormally high in women with PCOS, the androgen hormone contributes to excessive and thick body and facial hair along with mild to severe acne in teens with PCOS.
Insulin resistance and Glucose Metabolism
Insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance are common in a large percent of women suffering from PCOS. Around 30-40 per cent of women with PCOS also have insulin resistance and have trouble processing glucose into energy. Insulin resistance is a key contributor to metabolic disturbance and is a condition that causes high glucose levels that lead to type 2 diabetes. One of the first signs noticed with teens with PCOS is insulin resistance, which contributes to the production of results in excessive male hormones called androgen. These hyperandrogenism symptoms also contribute to irregular or absence of periods.
PCOS symptoms in teenage girls may not directly cause obesity, but the condition is most likely to worsen with it. About 40-80% of women who suffer from PCOS are reported overweight and obese. Obesity further contributes to type 2 diabetes and other heart ailments. According to a study, even a 5% weight reduction can regularise periods and control PCOS to a large extent.
With high levels of hormones and insulin along with obesity, many adolescent girls develop dark velvety patches of darkened skin in the back, underarms, and groin can be experienced by teens with PCOS. These discolored skin patches are called Acanthosis Nigricans and affect around 22-44% of women with the condition.
Management of PCOS Symptoms in Teenagers
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex hormonal disorder that not only affects adults but can also manifest in teenagers. While PCOS management in teens shares some similarities with adult treatment, it presents unique challenges due to the ongoing growth and development of adolescents. Addressing these challenges effectively is crucial to ensure the well-being of young individuals dealing with this condition. In this guide, we’ll delve into the management of PCOS symptoms in teenagers, focusing on strategies tailored to their specific needs and stages of development. Understanding and managing PCOS during adolescence can pave the way for healthier, happier futures for these young individuals.
PCOS care or PCOS treatment
Unfortunately, there is no single permanent cure for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The condition can, however, be greatly managed and controlled through a healthy lifestyle, positive mindset, and support from loved ones. Some of the ideas included in the steps of PCOS care.
One of the significant aims of PCOS care is to regularise the menstrual cycle. Since irregular periods are quite common in the first two years of puberty, adolescent girls with PCOS are given either a combined oral contraceptive (CoC) or only progesterone to help maintain the cycle.
Antiandrogens to control hirsutism and acne
Antiandrogen drugs are usually prescribed as PCOS care to treat severe acne and hirsutism in adolescent girls with PCOS. Spironolactone and Flutamide are some of the most common antiandrogens that help lower the levels of androgens which controls hair growth and improves acne in teens with PCOS.
Family counseling to control weight and calorie intake for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
Usually PCOS in Adolescents or teens with PCOS are found commonly. After diagnosis, the next best step is to guide the family into taking all the necessary steps and precautions for PCOS care to ensure that the girl incorporates healthy lifestyle choices. It is observed that a timely and early diagnosis helps women largely control the condition. If proper care and steps are taken to regularise the cycle, the girl is less likely to suffer from infertility, miscarriage, and other cardiovascular and diabetic diseases. A daily exercise routine, 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and a positive body image will help the girl tackle the physical and mental trauma of the condition.
An early Polycystic Ovary Syndrome diagnosis in adolescent girls can be of great advantage in controlling the PCOS Symptoms in Teenagers and PCOS in Adolescents. If you or your relatives or friends show any of the above signs of PCOS, consult a doctor immediately to help understand and manage the condition.
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