Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Adolescent Female Swimmers

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), previously known as Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is a disorder in which numerous benign cysts form on the ovaries under a thick, white covering. It is most common in women under 30 years of age. Polycystic ovary disease is due to an abnormal production of two hormones produced by the anterior pituitary gland in the brain. These two hormones are luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). An imbalance of these two hormones prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg each month. It also results in an increased production of male hormone, testosterone, by the ovaries.

In a recent study, researchers from the University of Montpellier, France, investigated the effects of intense swimming on clinical and hormonal pubertal development in adolescent girls and to determine whether hyperandrogenism (excess secretion/production of androgens "male hormone") contributes to menstrual disorders. In this study 61 percent of female swimmers were shown to have elevated levels of androgens, as well as a significant imbalance in LH/FSH ratio, elevated sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) (often associated with PCOS), and irregular or infrequent menstrual cycles (Oligomenorrhea) (which can be associated with PCOS). Moreover, half of the swimmers in this study with hyperandrogenism were shown to have pauci- or multicyst ovaries (a strong indicator for PCOS), via ultrasound.

If you think you may have PCOS, you can identify symptoms by visiting  http://markhincheynaturopathy.com/health-topics/ and viewing the final topic on this page. If you have any questions relating to this study or a health related question please write to: info@markhincheynaturopath.com


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