First, allow me to say that I am in no way a medical professional or expert on PCOS. This article is the research that I have found while struggling to understand PCOS and how it affects not just myself, but 1 in 10 women around the world.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS affects millions of women throughout the world. PCOS is a hormonal disorder that's highly common among women that are of reproductive age. Women who have PCOS can expect periods that are infrequent and/or prolonged and even experience an excess of androgen levels or male hormone levels.
The exact cause of PCOS is currently unknown, but it's believed to be a mix of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Early diagnosis and treatment (such as medications and weight loss) can greatly reduce the risk of complications that PCOS can cause.
- Polycystic ovaries. A woman's ovaries might become enlarged and contain follicles that surround the eggs. This can cause fertility issues, pain, and/or a hormonal imbalance.
- Irregular periods. Infrequent, irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles are the most common signs of PCOS. A woman can have very few periods per year with as much as 35+ days between their periods. PCOS can also cause irregular flows and/or extremely heavy flows.
The symptoms of PCOS can be worse or may continually worsen if you are obese. Complications from the symptoms of PCOS can include but are not limited to:
- Gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
- Miscarriage or premature birth
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
- Metabolic syndrome
- Type 2 diabetes/prediabetes
- Sleep apnea
- Depression, anxiety and eating disorders
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Cancer of the uterine lining
Currently, there is no cure for PCOS so the treatment focuses on managing the symptoms. The most common treatment involves lifestyle changes and/or medication(s).
The most common medications to regulate your menstrual cycle:
Letrozole and Metformin
The most common medications to reduce excessive hair growth:
Birth control pills and Spironolactone
To help decrease the effects of PCOS, try to:
1. Maintain a healthy weight. This will help diminish with the symptoms of PCOS
2. Limit carbohydrates. A high protein, low carb diet is the most recommended for women with PCOS
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can be hard for a lot of women, but you are not alone and there are many support networks and medical professionals that can help. Please don't hesitate to reach out and get help.