Pcos stands for polycystic ovary syndrome which is a hormonal disorder prevalent in some women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS produce a higher-level of male hormone than the average female. This imbalance may cause irregular menstrual periods and makes fertility a bit hard.
The three main features of PCOS are:
- Cysts in ovaries
- High levels of male hormone
- Irregular menstrual periods
The exact cause of polycystic ovarian syndrome is unknown, and many women have this condition and are not aware as they might only experience one of the symptoms. However early diagnosis along with treatment and weight loss may reduce the risk of long-term complications.
PCOS side effects/ PCOS symptoms
Some symptoms can be noticed as early as your first menstrual cycle for some women, while others develop this condition as a result of significant weight gain.
Some symptoms of PCOS are:
- Excessive hair growth. Usually on the cheeks, chest, chin and stomach.
- Irregular periods/ Heavy periods. As there is no frequent ovulation this prevents the monthly shedding of the uterine lining which would result in irregular periods. In response to this when the cycle eventually begins it can be heavier than normal.
- Acne. As a result of oily skin breakouts may occur.
- Darkening of the skin. In body creases like the neck, arm pits and groin area dark patches of skin can form.
- Headaches. Some women may experience frequent headaches due to hormone changes.
How is PCOS Diagnosed
There is no specific test to downright diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome, however after a discussion with your doctor about family history and your symptoms, along with an ultrasound, a pelvic exam or blood test. Your doctor will be able to advise.
Medical treatments for Polycystic ovaries
Your treatment will differ depending on if you are ready to try to get pregnant or if you just want to regulate your cycle and treat PCOS symptoms.
If you are trying to get pregnant your doctor may prescribe medication to induce your cycle and ovulation, The PCOS fertility treatment may include:
Medroxyprogesterone one such drug is Provera to induce you cycle.
Clomiphene (Clomid) is used to induce ovulation.
Letrozole (Femara) used to induce ovulation as well.
Surgery can be an option to improve fertility if other treatments are unsuccessful. One such surgery is ovarian drilling. Ovarian drilling is a procedure which is done to trigger ovulation in women with PCOS. This works by surgically destroying the outer surface of the ovaries and lowering the amount of testosterone made. This can help the ovaries release eggs and start regular monthly menstrual cycles.
For those who just want to regulate their cycle and looking for polycystic ovaries treatment the doctor may prescribe:
Birth control which would restore hormone imbalance and reduce symptoms like excessive hair growth.
Metformin which would regulate insulin levels.
Your doctor may also recommend a daily intake of a supplement called Myo-Inositol which may help regulate the mensural cycle and assist with getting pregnant faster. Myo-Inositol regains insulin sensitivity and may be useful in treating ovulatory infertility.
Myo-Inositol & D-Chiro Inositol
Living with PCOS
It is possible for a person to manage their symptoms even though there is no cure for PCOS available currently. By becoming more physically active and changing to a healthy diet this can be achieved while living with PCOS.
A healthy diet would include high-fiber foods, lean proteins and lots of greens. Avoid pastries, sugary beverages, fried food and processed meats.
Let's stay healthy and fight against PCOS. Good luck.
Two Important Tips for PCOS
- Never shave those unwanted facial hairs. They will regrow darker and more rapidly. Shaving could also cause ingrown hairs. It is best to use a laser hair remover or get them waxed.
- This condition can be relatively hard to deal with, talk to someone about how you are feeling. Do not keep everything bottled up inside.