Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a leading cause of infertility in the world. Having PCOS does not mean a childless future; there are treatment options available to women suffering from this condition.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition where a woman has problems in her endocrine system. Some estimations say that as much as 10% of all women have this syndrome in one form or another. It is common that the first symptoms of PCOS appear at the beginning of the reproductive years of a girl. It is important to diagnose PCOS early, before it cause more severe symptoms, such as infertility.
What Are The Symptoms?
Symptoms begin early and are very subtle and may go unnoticed for many years. Normally a woman only begins to think there is a problem if she is trying to conceive and is not getting pregnant. Other symptoms include:
- Obesity and difficulties to lose weight.
- Hair growth in areas that are typical for men, but not for women. These include, for instance, chin and chest.
- Your hair start to thin.
- Irregular to absent periods. Some women also experience heavy bleeding when menstruating.
- Symptoms of depression.
What Tests Can Be Done?
Before making any tests, a doctor examines the patient in case of some physical signs of PCOS. As mentioned above, one symptom of PCOS is hair growth in unusual areas of your skin. They will also ask your own feelings about the symptoms you experience.
If your symptoms and externally visible signs indicate the possibility of PCOS, your physician orders you to go to more precise medical tests. The tests may include:
- Blood laboratory work checking for insulin, thyroid and hormone levels.
- Determining the presence of ovarian cysts using ultrasound device.
However, sometimes a woman does not have any cysts on her ovaries, and yet she has PCOS. That is why the condition can be diagnosed even without ultrasound examination. In those cases the syndrome is diagnosed based on the blood test and other symptoms.
Diet and exercise play an important role in controlling PCOS. Statistics show that excessive weight exacerbates PCOS symptoms. Since PCOS often leads to insulin resistance and ultimately diabetes type 2, it is important to adjust the diet to help with this. An approved diabetic diet, low in refined carbohydrates and heart healthy is preferred.
In some cases, the addition of medications might be necessary. Some medications given might be birth control pills, which can help regulate a woman's cycle. Androgen-lowering medications might be given to help with acne and facial hair growth. Another medication that might be given is metformin. This medication is used in diabetics, but studies have shown it is effective also in women with PCOS.
PCOS is a very common disorder all around the world. Even though you have been diagnosed with PCOS, it doesn't have to affect too much to your life. With a proper medication and lifestyle changes the condition can be kept under control.