Are PCOS and Endometriosis The Same Thing?
If you are much into women’s wellness and health, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis might not be new terms for you. You might wonder if these conditions differ or if they are the same. While both have uncomfortable symptoms, it is essential to grasp the unique aspects of each. Let’s shed some light on the PCOS vs. endometriosis debate.
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PCOS vs. Endometriosis
Both conditions, PCOS and endometriosis, target the reproductive systems of women in their childbearing years. However, the root causes and effects of these conditions are different.
Endometriosis is when cells similar to the lining of your uterus (known as endometrial tissue) start growing outside the uterine cavity. On the other hand, PCOS primarily disrupts the hormone system, often leading to an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone. Unfortunately, both conditions are chronic.
What Is PCOS?
PCOS is short for polycystic ovary syndrome. It is majorly characterized by the formation of small cysts in your ovaries, hence the name. One sign serves as the hallmark of this condition, and that is irregular periods.
While there is no proper evidence on the exact cause, some studies suggest a genetic predisposition, indicating that those with a family history are more prone to it.
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Potential PCOS triggers
- Excess Insulin: Your body has insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. However, when blood sugar levels go high, there is an increased insulin production. This, in turn, leads to insulin resistance and elevated androgen levels.
- Excess Androgens: The surplus insulin in response to high sugar levels boosts the production of androgens by the ovaries, leading to unwanted hair growth and acne.
- Inflammation: The presence of numerous ovarian cysts triggers inflammation in your body, prompting increased white blood cell activity. This signals ovaries to produce more androgens, potentially contributing to heart and blood vessel problems.
- Genetics: According to experts, a genetic link to PCOS is mainly the cause of this problem. However, a healthy lifestyle, including physical activity and a balanced diet, can help manage its effects.
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Endometriosis, unlike PCOS, is due to the growth of endometrial tissue to places outside the uterus. Some of the signs include:
- Retrograde Menstruation: During a standard menstrual cycle, endometrial tissue exits the body with your period. Retrograde menstruation is a phenomenon when some of this tissue flows backward into the fallopian tubes or other abdominal areas, accumulating but unable to pass out.
- Induction Theory: According to some experts, hormonal changes or immune system issues can transform peritoneal cells (cells lining the abdomen) into endometrial cells that typically start growing outside the uterus rather than on the inside.
- Embryonic Cell Transformation: Embryonic cells that develop in early life have the ability to transform into endometrial cells during puberty due to elevated estrogen levels.
- Endometrial Cell Transport: Endometrial cells may travel outside the uterus through blood vessels or the lymphatic system.
5. Immune System Dysfunction: Immune system problems hinder the body’s ability to identify and remove tissue from the endometrium located outside the uterus.
In a nutshell, thoroughly understanding the differences between PCOS and endometriosis is crucial for properly managing these conditions. If you suspect you may have either condition, consult with women’s wellness experts at Lewisville Women’s Care. We are just a call away to help you. Call us at (972) 956-8008 to schedule an appointment today.