Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, affects 1 in every 10 women of childbearing age. Women with the condition experience an imbalance of their reproductive hormones, causing problems in the ovaries. It’s often characterized by many small cysts in or on your ovaries.
When your ovaries are affected, so is your menstruation and fertility. Your ovaries are where the eggs develop and are released each month. When you have PCOS, the egg may not develop as it should or isn’t always released properly during ovulation.
PCOS can be successfully managed and infertility often achieved— in many cases, women with the condition can have a healthy pregnancy. PCOS can be quite misunderstood by sufferers and even some health care providers. At Healthcare for Women, we want you to know everything about PCOS. Educate yourself about some lesser-known aspects of this condition.
PCOS goes widely undiagnosed. Fewer than 50% of women with PCOS are properly diagnosed, so millions of women have symptoms of PCOS without management. Lack of management increases your risk of chronic conditions, including heart attack and endometrial cancer. Women with PCOS are more likely to have high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels, too. Depression and anxiety are more common in women with PCOS.
2. Not everyone has ovarian cysts
You don’t have to present with ovarian cysts to be diagnosed with PCOS. Irregular periods can cause fluid-filled sacs to form on your ovaries, but the diagnostic criteria for PCOS is that you have two of the following: cysts on the ovaries, irregular periods, or signs of high androgens (male hormones).
3. Simply losing weight can help symptoms
Weight loss doesn’t have to be dramatic to have an effect on your PCOS symptoms. Research shows that if you’re overweight, losing just 5-10% of your body weight can improve the physiological, psychological, and metabolic symptoms of PCOS. The team at Healthcare for Women is happy to help you with nutrition recommendations.
4. PCOS is associated with diabetes
Up to 70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, and 10% have Type 2 diabetes. As many as 50% of women diagnosed with PCOS develop diabetes or prediabetes before age 40. Women in their middle years have a risk of diabetes that’s 6.8 times higher compared to the general population.
5. Blood tests aren’t everything
A hallmark of PCOS is high levels of androgens. This hormone balance may show up on blood tests, but it doesn’t always. A hormonal imbalance may show up as acne, weight gain, PMS, brain fog, skin tags, and hot flashes. You may experience hair growth in areas that men usually grow hair, too.
If you have symptoms that suggest PCOS and live in the vicinity of Oak Park, Illinois or have been diagnosed with PCOS, the team at Healthcare for Women offers support and treatment. Hormone therapy, lifestyle changes, and the diabetes drug metformin can help. If you’re trying to get pregnant, you may benefit from oral medications to stimulate ovulation and gonadotropin injections.
Call our office or schedule an appointment using this website to get on top of your PCOS diagnosis today.