What is PCOS?
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a leading cause of female infertility and is responsible for a number of symptoms that can affect the body physically and emotionally. The exact cause is unknown, but it is considered a hormonal condition. Those with PCOS often have higher levels of androgen (male hormones), aren’t as responsive to insulin as their body should be, and lack progesterone which contributes to irregular periods.
What are the symptoms?
PCOS symptoms can start showing right after puberty, but can also develop during later teen years and early adulthood. The most common symptoms include irregular or missed period, and some women with PCOS develop cysts on their ovaries. Other symptoms include acne, mood changes, pelvic pain, weight gain, insomnia, and thinning of hair on the head or unwanted hair growth. Often, PCOS may go undiagnosed for some time because the symptoms can be easily attributed to other factors.
How is it treated?
There is currently no cure to PCOS, but there are many ways to treat or decrease the symptoms caused by the condition. Hormonal birth control is the standard treatment for women with PCOS. Birth control pills regulate periods and improve excess hair growth and acne. However, women that are wanting to get pregnant must seek other options. Metformin is commonly prescribed to those diagnosed, which helps regulate hormone levels and can improve menstrual patterns. Also, Clomiphene (Clomid) is a common treatment used to induce ovulation. Lifestyle measures can be taken as well to offset specific symptoms, such as weight gain. An active lifestyle is also proven to regulate ovulation and periods.
There is not one special test that identifies PCOS. In order for your doctor to effectively evaluate your case, your medical history and symptoms must be examined and sometimes a number of tests may need to be taken. If you are experiencing some or all of the symptoms associated with PCOS and are seeking medical attention, contact the Cool Springs Obstetrics & Gynecology today.