Many women today have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a reproductive and metabolic disorder that is still not even completely understood in the medical world. PCOS affects 7 to 10% of women of reproductive age. This disorder manifests itself in a variety of ways, can cause cysts in the ovaries, and ultimately can be the root cause of infertility in women. Though not curable, the important thing to know is that PCOS is absolutely treatable.
There are a few different symptoms to be on the look out for if you think that you may have PCOS. Among those symptoms are:
- Irregularity in your menstrual cycle. This can include missing periods or having a shorter cycle between periods.
- Excessive hair growth on the face, chin and other parts of the body where it is more common for men to grow hair.
- Thinning hair or hair loss on your scalp.
- Acne present on the face, chest and upper back.
- Gaining weight and/or having trouble losing excess weight.
- Skin darkening along the neck, groin and underneath breast, as well as skin tags in the armpits or on the neck.
There is probably more than one cause for PCOS amongst women, but the exact causes are still unknown. A couple of factors that play a role in potential causes are high levels of androgens (referred to as “male hormones”) and having high levels of insulin. It is also thought possible that PCOS is an inherited gene.
Most treatments are focused on managing symptoms and trying to reduce long-term health risks such as Endometrial Cancer and Type 2 Diabetes. A doctor can prescribe you appropriate medications, such as birth control pills for hormonal imbalances or medications to help your body absorb insulin more easily.
You will also want to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes if you have not already. You may not be able to cure your PCOS, but you can help your body manage it! Start by making sure you are eating a healthy diet and eliminate the sugary foods that your body has a hard time breaking down. Another good habit to form is making sure you are getting adequate exercise on a weekly basis. It can be as simple as taking a walk on your lunch break at work or lifting some 5 pound dumbells while watching your favorite show.
And while you are adding things to improve your life with PCOS, you will also want to eliminate some habits, as well:
- Smoking. It is going to increase your long-term health risks.
- Ignoring your symptoms. If something new surfaces, bring that concern to your doctor. Women with PCOS are more likely to suffer from depression, as well.
- Not getting enough sleep. Your body needs rest in order to repair itself, so make sure you are getting 6-8 hours of sleep a night
- Taking your medicine irregularly. Skipping your prescribed doses can make the medicine ineffective or dangerous.
- Forgetting to track your period. It is important for you to know your cycle so you can ensure that your menstrual cycle is regular. This can help you avoid developing Endometrial Cancer.
- Doing this on your own. Having a good support system with others who know the struggles of PCOS will be vital on this journey.
Make an Appointment
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above or have any other concerns, schedule an appointment with one of our Gynecologists here at Community Access Network. If your diagnosis is PCOS, we are ready to help you figure out your next steps.