Exposure to excessive amounts of hormones in the womb found to be the cause of PCOS
September 15, 2018
The root cause of PCOS has always eluded scientists, some putting it down to poor lifestyle choices and diet others believing it to be a problem with the thyroid. There has not been one accepted theory until now. An article recently published in the NEW SCIENTIST journal states that scientists now believe they have found the root cause of PCOS.
How Does PCOS Affect Women?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome affects up to 1 in 5 women globally. That is a staggering 10% of the world’s population. Symptoms of PCOS appear at the onset of puberty and include excessive levels of testosterone in the blood, cysts on the ovaries, excessive levels of hair on the face and back, acne, weight gain, mood disorders and the list goes on.
Many women are left feeling less of a woman, feeling frustrated that they possibly cannot have a family or that it may take many years of trying and a variety of medications to even come close to that dream.
“It’s by far the most common hormonal condition affecting women of reproductive age but it hasn’t received a lot of attention,” says Robert Norman at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
Success rates of current treatment options are typically less than 30 per cent and often come with their own unwanted side effect. For example, Metformin which is typically used to treat insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics can bring on nausea, vomiting, night sweats, mood swings and other stomach problems.
Changes in the Womb
Researchers at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research have found that the hormone anti-Müllerian could be responsible for the development of PCOS in the womb. The research suggests that pregnant women who have PCOS have on average 30% higher levels of anti-Müllerian hormone in their bodies. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is thought to be genetic and passed from mother-daughter.
To test whether this theory could explain the cause of PCOS, researchers injected mice with excess anti-Müllerian as the offspring of the injected mice reach maturity they displayed signs of PCOS such as infertility, little to no menstruation, infrequent ovulation and fewer offspring.
The hormone was also found to stimulate brain cells to produce excessive amounts of testosterone.
Clinical trials are now being planned in women for the end of 2018. The drug that has been found to reverse PCOS in mice is available to women during IVF treatment.
The findings also explain why women with PCOS are more likely to become pregnant in their late 30’s. This is due to the decrease of anti-Müllerian hormone bringing hormones back into the normal ranges; therefore reintroducing normal ovulation and menstruation.
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