Women should be alert to the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome so they can seek treatment before the disorder causes serious damage, physician Hung Chien-te (洪建德) said.
Excessive acne, thick leg hair and very irregular menstrual periods in women of any age may be indicators of the syndrome, said Hung, the head of Taipei Shutien Clinic’s Department of Metabolism.
Women who contract the disorder tend to develop a resistance to insulin, which can lead to hyperglycemia, increasing their chances of developing diabetes by 30 percent, he said.
The syndrome can also cause high blood pressure, excess blood fat levels, obesity, cardiovascular disease and infertility, Hung added.
He said that the key symptoms doctors look for to diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome are an irregular menstrual cycle, high androgen levels and a large amount of immature ovarian follicles.
Hung said that sometimes, the ovarian follicles are too small to be detected, so if the patient is exhibiting the other two key symptoms, they will likely be diagnosed with the disorder.
The syndrome could be considered to have its roots in modern times, with between 5 percent and 10 percent of women in the world having developed it at some point, he added.
More than half of patients with polycystic ovaries will see an amelioration of the syndrome’s effects within three or four months by changing their diet and exercising regularly, Hung said, adding that others can control the disorder through medication.
As long as a patient gets their endocrine system back to normal and loses weight, all the symptoms will be alleviated naturally, without any medicine, he added.
Hung said that to avoid developing the syndrome, women should abstain from sweets and fried foods, while making sure to drink clean water and eating more organic food and vegetables.