Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects up to 10% of reproductive-age women worldwide still it remains mysterious. It is a leading cause of female infertility also boosts the risk of metabolic problems like type 2 diabetes. It’s also heritable- The sister of an affected woman has 20% chance of developing it herself, and the risk for the identical twins is even higher.
Yet although there are various symptoms of PCOS— including ovarian cysts, lack of ovulation, and excess hair growth on the face and body—still no one seems to know how it starts.
But now researchers have found that the common cause of female infertility also known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can be due to a hormonal imbalance before birth.
Researchers have successfully cured it in mice, and the clinical trial in human women is still due to begin later this year says, the New Scientist reports.
It also says that PCOS affects up to one in five women worldwide.
PCOS affects how a woman’s ovaries FUNCTION – symptoms may include irregular periods as well as difficulty in getting pregnant.
“It is by far the most common hormonal condition that affects women of reproductive age, but it hasn’t received a lot of attention,” Robert Norman at the University of Adelaide in Australia told the New Scientist.
Scientists at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) have discovered that the syndrome can be triggered before birth due to excess exposure in the womb to a hormone known as anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH).
They also found that pregnant women with PCOS have 30 percent higher levels of the hormone in comparison to normal.
As the syndrome is known to run in families, researchers wanted to test the idea that the imbalance in the pregnancy may induce the same condition in daughters as well.
Researchers injected AMH into the pregnant mice, and as the offsprings grew up, they saw that they had many PCOS symptoms, incorporating infrequent ovulation and delays in the falling pregnancy.
The excess hormone seemed to overstimulate the set of brain cells that raise up the level of testosterone in mice.
After treatment with the IVF drug used to control women’s hormones, “cetrorelix”, the mice stopped exhibiting the PCOS symptoms.
“It could be an attractive strategy to restore ovulation and eventually increase the pregnancy rate in these women,” Paolo Giacobini, whose group conducted the research at Inserm, explained the New Scientist.
What is PCOS?
- irregular periods, no periods, which means that the ovaries don’t regularly release eggs
- Difficulty in getting pregnant
- excessive hair growth caused by the excess testosterone
- weight gain
- oily skin as well as acne
More than half of the women affected don’t have any symptoms.