Half of Women Who Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Don’t Know It

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, PCOS,  North Atlanta Women’s Care

If you’re like many women, you may consider the irregularity of your menstrual cycle or your struggle with weight simply part of who you are. However, these may be symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Many of the symptoms associated with PCOS are often thought to be due to something else, which is why so many women who have this hormonal condition don’t know it.

Here, the North Atlanta Women’s Care team sheds some light on PCOS so you know what to look for and can get the treatment you need early on.

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a disorder that creates an imbalance in your reproductive hormones. It’s estimated that one out of every 10 women of childbearing age has PCOS. You can develop PCOS at anytime, even during puberty, but most women don’t realize they have it until they run into issues with fertility when trying to get pregnant.

Researchers aren’t sure exactly what causes women to develop PCOS, but your genetics may play a role. You may also be at risk if your body produces too much insulin, which is a hormone made in your pancreas that helps transport sugar from your blood into your cells. If your cells are resistant to insulin, meaning they won’t let the insulin usher in the sugar from your blood, your blood sugar levels increase, along with insulin levels.

Women with PCOS also produce higher amounts of androgens, which are male hormones that cause facial hair and acne.

Clues that may indicate PCOS

If left untreated, PCOS can lead to other health issues, such as infertility, diabetes, heart disease, and a fatty liver. As previously mentioned, most women don’t know they have PCOS until their 20s or 30s when they have difficulty when they try to start a family. Knowing what to look for early on may help you get the treatment you need to prevent long-term complications associated with PCOS.

 

Signs and symptoms of PCOS include:

An irregular menstrual cycle is one of the telltale signs of PCOS. The hormonal imbalance may cause you to skip months, so you have fewer than eight periods a year. Or, you may menstruate every 21 days, so you have more than 12 periods each year.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, we can determine if you have PCOS after a thorough examination — including a pelvic exam, blood tests, and, if necessary, an ultrasound.

Getting the help you need

While there’s no cure yet for PCOS, we can provide treatment to help manage your symptoms and reduce your risk of PCOS-related complications. One of the most important aspects of PCOS management is your lifestyle. If you’re carrying excess weight, losing as little as 5% of your weight can significantly improve your symptoms. We can help you develop a diet and exercise program to improve your health and help you lose weight.

Hormonal birth control may improve the regularity of your menstrual cycle and clear up your skin. We may also recommend medication that improves how your insulin works, which may help regulate ovulation to improve fertility and help in your weight-loss efforts.

 

PCOS is a common health issue for women, but most women have no idea they have it. Knowing what to look for may help you get the help you need to improve your health. To learn more about PCOS, call the women’s health experts at North Atlanta Women’s Care, or use the online request button to schedule an appointment.

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