Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. What is it? So many women don’t know what this is, including myself until my blood work came back positive about a week ago and I began my research. PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects the ovaries and ovulation. PCOS causes cysts in the ovaries. Turns out, according to womenshealth.gov, 1 in 10 women have PCOS. In one study, 70% of women with PCOS hadn’t been diagnosed. This means many women world-wide have PCOS, and don’t even realize it! Although most women find this out when they are trying to conceive, PCOS can also occur during puberty. What causes PCOS? The exact cause is unknown, although specialists say genetics play a huge role. Such as, high levels of androgen's. Higher than average androgen levels in women can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation) during each menstrual cycle and may cause extra hair growth and acne. Another genetic role would be high levels of insulin. It is common for women with PCOS to have insulin resistance, especially those who are overweight, have unhealthy eating habits, do not get enough physical activity, and/or have a family history of diabetes (usually type 2 diabetes). Outside factors can also give you PCOS,
Common symptoms can include –
- Irregular or no period
- Heavy bleeding. This is due to the uterine lining building up from skipping periods
- Hair growth (back, belly, chest)
- Eating disorders
- Dark patches on skin
Even though PCOS is one of the main leading causes in infertility with women, it is still possible to get pregnant. There is no cure for PCOS, but it is treatable. Treatment depends on if you are trying to conceive or not. If you are, consult with your OBGYN to see the best treatment for you personally. If you are not trying to conceive, treating PCOS is still highly recommended as PCOS puts you at a higher risk for cancer, diabetes, and infertility in the future. How can I treat PCOS? Birth control (this will help regulate your periods, and provide estrogen and progestin to restore a normal hormonal balance, regulate ovulation, relieve symptoms like excess hair growth, and protect against endometrial cancer), Metformin (this will help with lowering blood sugar), a healthy diet and exercise, and if you are trying to conceive Clomiphene is recommended as it is a fertility drug.
See a doctor if you have missed periods, show symptoms, been trying to get pregnant for 12 months and are unsuccessful, or if you have symptoms of diabetes. Lifestyle changes are the first thing doctors recommend, it does go a long way. Medicines are an option if lifestyle changes do not work. Do not be discouraged if you come back positive, you are not alone.