Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Q & A
What is polycystic ovary syndrome?
Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is a condition that influences women’s hormone levels. If you have it, your ovaries produce too many male hormones called androgens. This results in irregular menstrual periods and can make it very difficult for you to get pregnant. Additionally, you might develop small fluid-filled cysts on your ovaries.
Experts don’t know the exact cause of PCOS, but there are a few contributing factors that can play a role in the condition’s development. Your genetics can contribute to PCOS as well as factors like low-grade inflammation throughout your body and excess insulin levels.
What are the signs and symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome?
Polycystic ovary syndrome can cause many different symptoms; individual collections of symptoms vary from person to person. If you have PCOS, you might have first noticed symptoms around the time you got your first menstrual period. If not, your first indication could be weight gain or trouble getting pregnant.
A few of the most common signs and symptoms of PCOS are:
- Irregular periods
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Dark skin patches
- Hirsutism (coarse hair growth in areas like your face or chest)
- Being overweight or obese
- Male-pattern baldness
- Frequent headaches
The team at Ally Endocrinology takes a full evaluation of your symptoms and performs a physical exam to make an accurate diagnosis.
What are the potential complications ?
Without a treatment or management strategy, polycystic ovary syndrome can lead to numerous complications that can affect your health severely. As a result of having PCOS, you might experience:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Pregnancy complications
- Metabolic syndrome
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleep apnea
- Endometrial cancer
During your initial assessment at Ally Endocrinology, the team evaluates your risk for complications like these and finds out whether or not you already have any. They address complications from PCOS while forming your treatment plan.
What are the treatment options for polycystic ovary syndrome?
There currently isn’t a cure for polycystic ovary syndrome, but the team at Ally Endocrinology can address your symptoms and complications with an individualized management plan. Some treatments work by regulating your hormones and menstrual cycle, while others address specific symptoms like hirsutism. Your personalized plan may include:
- Contraceptives (birth control)
- Progestin therapy
- Anti-estrogen medications
- Long-term hair removal methods (e.g., electrolysis, laser hair removal)
Lifestyle factors are perhaps the most important part of your PCOS management plan. The team may recommend losing weight, limiting carbohydrates in your diet, and exercising more often as strategies to lower your insulin and androgen levels.
If you have symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome and want to develop a treatment plan to reduce them, call Ally Endocrinology or schedule an appointment online at your nearest location today.