PCOS in Teens: Is it Common?

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance in women. It arises when the ovaries (the organ that produces and releases eggs) create excess hormones.  The hormones produced by the ovaries are called androgens which are male sex hormones. This hormonal imbalance causes your reproductive system to malfunction.

The people with PCOS have the following symptoms:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles:

Adult women with an irregular menstrual cycle have eight or fewer menstrual cycles per year, menstrual cycles shorter than 21 days or longer than 35 days or missed periods

  • Excess hair growth:

Hair growth on the face, chest and buttocks, affects most women with PCOS.

  • Difficulty getting pregnant:

These people have a hormonal imbalance that interferes with their ovulation. Therefore, since they do not ovulate, they cannot get pregnant.

PCOS can occur in women at any age after the onset of puberty and before menopause. It often occurs after the first menstrual cycle at the age of 11 or 12. 

PCOS in Teenagers:

Puberty begins in the pre-teen or teenage years for a girl. Most teen girls will not get PCOS but some will. The symptoms of PCOS in teens – irregular periods, hair growth and acne – are also found in adults.

The healthcare provider may recommend certain lifestyle changes will help you manage the effects of your condition:

  • Weight loss:

Reducing weight can lower some of the hormonal imbalances for some people who have PCOS. This can be done through changes in diet and by exercising.

  • Birth control pill:

Your healthcare provider may prescribe birth control pills to make your periods regular.

  • Medication:

The doctor may prescribe medicines that contain certain female hormones such as estrogen or progesterone or medicines to make your body use the insulin produced in a better manner.

PCOS is a difficult condition to live with as a teenager but can be managed through proper treatment.

How Common is PCOS in Teenagers:

Almost 10% of teen girls and young women have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The majority do not. 

It is not yet known what is the direct cause of PCOS. However, there are certain factors that increase the risk of developing the syndrome:

  • Family history:

PCOS often runs in families. Therefore, if someone in your family has it, you might be more likely to develop it.

  • Obesity:

Obesity is a cause of PCOS because being overweight can also contribute to insulin resistance. Higher insulin levels cause your ovaries to make and release male hormones (androgens). Increased androgens suppress ovulation and contribute to other symptoms of PCOS.

  • Low-grade inflammation:

People with PCOS tend to have chronic low-grade inflammation. Your healthcare provider can perform blood tests which can indicate the level of inflammation in your body.

When to see a Doctor:

The symptoms of PCOS in teenagers are often found in healthy pubescent girls as well such as hair growth, acne, etc. Therefore, most women are only diagnosed in their 20s and 30s when they have difficulties in becoming pregnant.

However, there are symptoms that show when a teenage girl has PCOS such as irregular periods, new hair growth on her face and body, acne and male-pattern baldness. If your daughter has these issues then you need to take her to a doctor.

Chennai PCOS Clinic has many years of experience in treating PCOS in teenaged girls. We will happily help your child with effective treatments at an affordable cost. So come to us if you need PCOS treatment for your teenager.

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