PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which is a condition characterized by the ovaries producing an unusual number of male sex hormones called androgens. Usually, the number of androgens a woman’s body produces is quite small, but when levels get too high, an array of health changes can develop.
Women with PCOS will typically develop small cysts on their ovaries, but this isn’t a PCOS requirement. Some patients don’t develop cysts while other individuals who don’t have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome will still have ovarian cysts.
The high androgen levels that accompany PCOS tend to affect the patient’s menstrual cycle, including the inability to ovulate (the process of releasing a mature egg from the individual’s ovary).
What Causes PCOS?
Medical science is still somewhat unsure about the exact cause of PCOS, but the development of this condition can sometimes go hand in hand with insulin resistance. Many women who have PCOS may also struggle with the effects of poor insulin usage. When the body doesn’t use insulin properly, it builds up in the body, which may lead to an increase in androgen levels.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can produce an array of unpleasant symptoms, including the following:
Acne or Excessively Oily Skin
Thinning Hair or Balding Patterns That Resemble Male-Pattern Baldness
Missed Periods, Light Periods, or Irregular Period
Cysts on the Ovaries
Excess Body Hair (ex: on the chest, abdomen, or back)
Weight Gain (especially around the abdomen)
Darkened or Thickened Skin Patches on the Back of the Neck, in the Armpits, or Under the Breast Tissue
PCOS Risk Factors
Insulin resistance and/or obesity can contribute to the development of PCOS, and these conditions can also increase the severity of symptoms an individual experiences.
In addition, people who have a family history of PCOS (ex: a mother, cousin, or aunt who has the condition) may be at an increased risk of developing PCOS.
PCOS can also increase a patient’s risk of developing a selection of serious health issues. Such conditions include hypertension (high blood pressure), heart issues, uterine cancer, and Type 2 Diabetes.
As mentioned above, PCOS can also result in problems with a patient’s fertility.
Treatment for PCOS
Though PCOS is a difficult condition to live with and manage, there are several treatment options that stand to produce positive results. However, choosing the right treatment approach will depend on the individual’s age, the severity of the condition, overall health condition, and whether the patient wants to become pregnant in the future.
For patients who want to conceive children in the future, PCOS treatment protocols might include:
Dietary Changes: Adopting healthy dietary changes can make it easier for individuals with PCOS to maintain a recommended weight range, which helps reduce the severity of the symptoms they experience.
Exercise Routines: In addition to dietary changes, getting mild to moderate exercise can aid weight loss, help the body utilize insulin stores more effectively, and lower glucose levels in the patient’s blood.
Medications: Certain medications that induce ovulation can help the ovaries release eggs on a routine basis. However, these medications increase the odds of a pregnancy resulting in multiple births, and they can cause the ovaries to experience hyperstimulation. This condition might cause abdominal discomfort, bloating, and pelvic pain.
For patients who do not plan to have children in the future, PCOS treatment protocols might include the following:
Birth Control Medications: Birth control pills may be useful in controlling the patient’s menstrual cycle. Regular menstruation can help lower androgen levels and decrease acne breakouts.
Diabetes Treatment: Diabetes medications can help reduce the insulin resistance that’s common in PCOS patients. This treatment option might also reduce excess hair growth, regulate ovulation, and reduce androgen levels.
Medications to Manage Other Symptoms: Medical professionals might also recommend medications used to treat acne, reduce body hair growth, increase the thickness of hair on the head, reduce pain, and manage other symptoms.
Diet & Exercise: This treatment method is appropriate for patients who want children in the future and those who don’t. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine can be helpful in enabling the body to use insulin effectively, maintain a healthy weight, and balance an individual’s nutritional intake.
See What Our Patients Are Saying
Your New Life Starts Now
Book your Discovery Consultation!