Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome, also known as PCOS, has been diagnosed in over 5 million women in the United States alone, and that number is increasing daily. The symptoms are all too common amongst women. Infrequent irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, obesity and weight gain. Some of the more surprising symptoms are acne, oily skin, dandruff, thinning of hair on head, increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs and toes. The cause of PCOS is has not been found, although genetics plays a part in it. Most that are diagnosed with PCOS will find that their female relatives are likely to be affected too.
What is PCOS? In stripped down terms, it is a hormonal imbalance. Your ovaries over-produce androgens, which are male hormones. You can thank them for the odd hair loss, acne, as well as the increased hair in the most unwanted places. We make these hormones naturally, but in the case of PCOS, we flood our system with these manly hormones. This also causes our eggs to slow development, or not release at all, which is why some with PCOS have to have infertility treatments. Researchers have also linked over production of insulin to PCOS. This is a hormone that controls the change of sugar and starches into energy or for storage. Those that have too much insulin can find themselves diabetic. This is a real health danger, and must not be taken lightly. Especially for those that have a predisposition for diabetes through genetics.
Go to your doctor with your questions or if you think you have PCOS. The things you can expect from your visit will be a series of questions by your doctor, and to have a pelvic exam done. Your doctor may also ask for a blood test to look at your hormone levels, or a transvaginal ultrasound to check your ovaries for cysts. Please note, that even if you do not have the cysts on your ovaries, you may still be diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome. While there is no cure, most of the symptoms can be treated. One of the treatments widely used today is Metformin (Glucophage), which is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. The use of this medication has been shown in research to slow the abnormal growth of hair, help control the insulin levels, and reduce production of testosterone. It has also been known to possibly help you ovulate after months of use, and lose weight. There are several medications available to stimulate ovulation, one of the most common being Clomid. Metformin and Clomid together has been a pretty effective treatment in infertility caused by PCOS.
There is much more information out there in regards to this increasingly common condition. Studies have also shown that besides infertility issues, women with PCOS appear to have higher rates of miscarriages, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and premature delivery. It is imperative more than ever to make sure you are going for your yearly check-ups with your doctor, as well as being honest the while talking to your doctor. It is better to know and be treated, then to wonder why.