When it comes to women’s wellness, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and endometriosis hold the top 2 positions. These conditions may often seem like the same thing, but they are not. Let’s end the confusion today and discuss their similarities and differences while addressing common questions about these conditions.
PCOS vs. Endometriosis – What Sets Them Apart?
Both conditions, PCOS and endometriosis, primarily affect girls of childbearing age, typically those who menstruate between the ages of 12 and 50.
- Endometriosis occurs when living tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrial tissue) starts growing on other parts of the body.
- PCOS is characterized by hormonal imbalances, particularly an excess of male hormones. It’s crucial to understand that these conditions differ significantly beyond their impact on the reproductive system.
A Closer Look at PCOS
PCOS is characterized by the formation of small cysts on the ovaries, along with irregular periods (both or either). While the exact causes of PCOS are still unclear, several factors, including genetics, may contribute to its development.
Doctors say that individuals with a family history of PCOS are more likely to be affected. However, like many women’s health issues, much about its origin remains unknown. Here are main causes of this condition.
- Excessive amounts of insulin in the body: Insulin is produced by the pancreas, which regulates blood sugar levels. When not done properly, blood sugar levels rise, and the body compensates by producing more insulin. Prolonged high blood sugar levels and excess insulin result in resistance and an increase in androgen levels.
- High levels of Androgens: Elevated insulin triggers the ovaries to produce more androgens, leading to symptoms such as hirsutism (excess hair growth on the face and neck) and acne-prone skin.
- Body Inflammation due to polycystic ovaries: Multiple ovarian cysts can cause low-grade inflammation, attracting white blood cells to the ovaries. This signals the ovaries to produce more androgens, potentially contributing to cardiovascular and blood vessel issues.
- Genes: According to various researchers, there is a connection between certain genes and PCOS. However, maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in physical activity can often help manage the condition.
On to, Endometriosis
What are the different characteristics of this condition?
- Retrograde menstruation: The endometrial lining sheds thoroughly during a regular menstrual cycle. In retrograde menstruation, some of this tissue flows back into the fallopian tubes or other areas within the abdominal cavity, leading to a buildup that cannot exit the body.
- Induction theory: According to experts, hormonal imbalances or immune system issues may transform peritoneal cells into endometrial cells, contributing to the development of endometriosis.
- Transformation of embryonic cells: Embryonic cells that form during early life stages undergo mutation into endometrial cells during puberty due to elevated estrogen levels.
- Endometrial cell transport: Endometrial cells can travel beyond the uterus through blood vessels or the lymphatic system, potentially establishing themselves in other locations within the body.
- Immune system disorders: Issues with the immune system hinders the body’s ability to recognize and eliminate endometrial tissue located outside the uterus.
Contact San Ramon Urgent Care to learn more about women’s wellness and ways we can help you. Find us on the map at 9140 Alcosta Blvd Ste D, San Ramon, CA 94583. Call (925) 361-5959 (San Ramon), (209) 825-5155 (Manteca), or (209) 983-9000 (Lathrop) for more information.