Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects approximately 10% of women during their reproductive age. It is often characterized by obesity, irregular menses, and impaired insulin function. Obesity may play a role in the etiology, and with weight loss, there has been reported improvement in some of the clinical findings.
There is a recent large study that suggests a Carnitine supplement may be of benefit for these patients. L-Carnitine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins) that is naturally produced in the liver and kidneys. It helps the body turn fat into energy, and your body usually can make all the Carnitine it needs. In this study, the diagnosis of PCOS was made using the Rotterdam criteria. To make the diagnosis, two of the following findings needed to be present:
- Irregular menses over 35 days or less than 8 menses per year caused by a problem with ovulation
- Signs of hirsutism indicative of increased testosterone
- Polycystic ovaries with 12 or more follicular cysts in each ovary
In this study, when 250 mg of L-Carnitine was given to women with PCOS, who were also on metformin, there was a significant reduction in weight based on BMI changes. There was also an improvement in glycemic control. The Carnitine was given for over 12 weeks.
Remember to always speak to your health care provider before considering starting any supplement.
…..Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine problem in young women, and it often goes undiagnosed in the adolescent population. The patients are frequently presented with menstrual irregularity and signs of androgen excess, which includes unwanted excess hair growth and acne. These are the symptoms that usually lead the patients to visit their health care professional. The weight of the young women can range from normal to elevated, and with obesity, the androgen affects can be more advanced.
…..To make the diagnosis of PCOS, certain criteria need to be met. The most common guideline requires 2 of the following characteristics:
- Signs of androgen excess
- Irregular menses (probably secondary to problems with ovulation)
- On a sonogram exam of the pelvis, the ovaries are found to have many small cysts (polycystic ovaries)
…..PCOS can have metabolic consequences with major effects on the glucose metabolism, affecting up to 25% of these young women. There are different ways to screen for this abnormality, from obtaining fasting levels of glucose and insulin to a full glucose tolerance test. Elevated weight levels, monitored by determining the BMI, increases the risk of developing these metabolic problems.
…..Next time we will review management for the young PCOS patients.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is very common, but many times it is underdiagnosed and a misunderstood disorder in young women today. Symptoms of PCOS may include irregular periods, increased facial and body hair, alopecia, acne, and multiple cysts of the ovaries.
It is important to diagnose PCOS due to its potential metabolic and reproductive consequences. PCOS can increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, liver problems, and obstructive sleep apnea. PCOS may also increase the risk of having difficulties conceiving.
There are various treatment modalities available for PCOS patients, so speak to your health care professional if you have any of these signs or symptoms.