Talking About PCOS

There are many common health conditions that people suffer, readers, but don’t realize there is help for. This is true of all of us, and today, I’m going to talk about one that impacts women–polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

What, exactly, is PCOS?

This is a hormone imbalance that happens when a woman’s ovaries start to make more androgens–the male sex hormone–than is normal. This is a somewhat confusing condition because it can impact a woman’s body in multiple ways.

What are the signs of PCOS?

As noted above, this condition can cause a multitude of symptoms. Some signs include ovarian cysts, excessive body and face hair growth, thinning hair on the scalp, acne, irregular periods and weight gain. A person with PCOS is usually insulin resistant, and this means their body can no longer use insulin effectively, putting them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Ovulation may happen less often in a woman who has PCOS, so many people with this condition have trouble getting pregnant. It’s also genetic, so it’s important to find out your family history if possible.

You must keep in mind that people with PCOS experience different symptoms. You may have a lot of these signs or only one, which is why PCOS is difficult to diagnose. If you are having any of these symptoms, consider seeing a doctor for tests to help determine whether you have this condition.

What should you do if you have PCOS?

Being diagnosed with any condition can be scary, but you have options. Your doctor may, for example, have you take medications to help reduce the androgens to minimize hair loss on the head, excess body hair and acne.

Some people have managed symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes. According to the Mayo Clinic, losing weight can help lower insulin and androgen levels, improving your symptoms, and may help any medications you’re prescribed for PCOS work more effectively (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353443).

If you think PCOS is impacting your fertility, it’s a wise move to visit a gynecologist or infertility specialist, depending on the severity of your condition. These doctors can help you make a plan to address the issues you are having when you are trying to become pregnant.

The important thing to remember about PCOS is that it is treatable. If you think you could have this condition, don’t hesitate to see your doctor!