An ovarian follicle that doesn’t release its egg may form a cyst on the ovary. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition. In women who have it, it can affect ability to have a child (fertility). It can also:
- Make periods stop or become hard to predict
- Cause acne and unwanted hair
- Raise chances for other health problems, such as; diabetes and high blood pressure
PCOS affects up to one in five women worldwide, majority of who struggle to fall pregnant. The condition is typically characterized by high levels of testosterone, ovarian cysts, irregular menstrual cycles, and problems regulating sugar, but the causes have long been a mystery. Recently research has linked PCOS to neuroendocrine dysfunction. It may be caused by hormonal imbalance at early stage of development. The new discovery will pave way for pharmacological intervention.
In a nature medicine publication by Paolo Giacobini et al.,(2018), It has been highlighted that prenatal antimullerian hormone exposure causes subsequent aberration in the Gonadotropin releasing Hormone (GnRH) receptor signaling.
Paolo Giacobini et al., have found that the syndrome may be triggered before birth by excess exposure in the womb to a hormone called anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH). This becomes transgenerational because researched fact states that most pregnant women with polycystic ovary syndrome have 30 per cent higher levels of anti-Müllerian hormone than normal, so this hormonal imbalance in pregnancy might induce the same condition in their daughters. This has been confirmed experimentally.
Proposed mechanism: The excess hormone (AMH) seemed to trigger this effect by overstimulating a set of brain cells that raise the level of testosterone. Testosterone is also produced by the ovaries in small amounts along with estrogen and progesterone. Testosterone is in a broad class of hormones called androgens, and it is the dominant sex hormone in men. Between 4% and 7% of women produce too much testosterone in their ovaries. These women have a pattern of symptoms called polycystic ovary syndrome.
“Anti-Müllerian hormone levels are known to decline with age, usually signalling reduced fertility. But in women who start out with high levels, age-related declines may bring them into the normal fertility range”: statement issued by Norman interview on new scientists platform – This may explain why most women with PCOS may get pregnant at their late 30s or early 40s. Although this still needs to be tested, says Norman.
reference: DOI: 10.1038/s41591-018-0035-5
New scientist article