Scientists are closer to finding the cause of PCOS.
Research has shown that PCOS is linked to having a hormonal imbalance before birth. The hormonal imbalance is due to a hormone called anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH).
This hormone is usually considered to test for PCOS and fertility issues. It also determines our gender paths before birth.
This hormone is certainly of great importance. Understanding its role will show you why it’s associated with PCOS.
What is AMH
AMH is a hormone produced in male testes. And found in small amounts in female ovaries. During pregnancy, it inhibits the development of the female reproductive system in fetuses. 8-weeks into pregnancy our sex is determined. AMH plays a role in this development.
If little or no AMH is detected at the 8-week stage, we are termed as female. Our female reproductive system develops, and we go on to have small levels of AMH within our ovaries.
The presence of AMH at 8 weeks old terms us as male. In males, the presence of AMH promotes the development of the male reproductive system.
In childhood AMH continues to rise in males and starts dropping after adolescence. For females these levels rise steadily to adolescence and decline thereafter to menopause. Levels during childhood, adolescence and adulthood is significantly lower in females than in males.
For women, AMH is released from cells within the ovaries. It releases within a developing follicle (egg sac). Its role is to control our follicles by stopping the release of lots of eggs. This allows a dominant follicle to mature and release one egg.
I hope that gives you a little understanding of what AMH is. I believe it’s good to understand its role. Let’s move onto the study.
So the research…
The research was done on pregnant mice. The mice had high levels of AMH and gave birth to mice with PCOS.
If you can remember earlier, male fetuses have higher levels of AMH than females. This determines the sex and production of the relevant reproductive systems.
The mice were injected with the AMH hormone to have a higher than normal level. The female offspring went on to develop fertility and ovulation problems. Thereafter, they were injected with an IVF drug called cetrorelix. Cetrorelix reversed the symptoms.
This research is huge in its findings and it looks as if it will lead to future research in humans.
The presence of AMH is linked to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. This is found in PCOS sufferers. It’s caused by high levels of AMH continuously stimulating follicles.
AMH plays a role with low levels of follicle stimulating hormones (FSH). FSH levels are low in many PCOS sufferers.
FSH works on a negative feedback loop and requires the detection of AMH in a normal range. The role of FSH is to stimulate the growth of follicles before ovulation. This is in preparation to release a dominant egg. As mentioned earlier, AMH suppresses the release of lots of eggs. If AMH is continually high, FSH can’t perform its role to develop the dominant follicle. FSH requires AMH in a normal range to perform its duties.
So our fate is determined before birth. In some ways, I don’t like the findings of some of these studies. It seems to put the blame on someone else. It’s the fault of my mother why I have PCOS. And have I passed on excessively high levels to my daughters?
We mustn’t blame our mothers for having high levels. Or indeed blame ourselves that our daughters have developed PCOS. You can’t get hung up on this. This study provides an understanding of the development of PCOS. The cause and why we inherit PCOS is important. Just like research into other diseases. And this is great!
Related blog posts:
•PCOS and Me.
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Image. Miguel Bruner/Unsplash
I’m Cheryl. I’m on a quest to help and share what I’ve learnt about nutrition, yoga, autoimmune disease, hormones and joint disease.
I’m a sufferer of the above diseases and have used yoga and nutrition to manage my illnesses. Success with my health led me to become a qualified Nutritional Therapist and Yoga Teacher.