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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a common condition that affects how women’s ovaries work. Despite the name “polycystic”, you don’t actually get any cysts if you suffer from this condition. The ovaries are filled with fluid sacs or follicles that surround the eggs, which cause them to appear enlarged. The ovaries are not released as regularly as they should and this leads to irregular periods. This condition is also characterized by excess androgen, the “male” hormone, and as a result, women with PCOS have additional masculine signs such as excess facial hair. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown but it is related to abnormal levels of hormones and genetics. If you’re experiencing menopause in Winter Park and you suspect you have PCOS, contact Contemporary Women’s Care for personalized health care.

Causes of PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome is thought to be related to abnormal hormonal levels. For instance, insulin is a hormone used to regulate the level of blood sugar in the body. If the body’s tissues are resistant to the effects of insulin, your body will be forced to produce excess insulin to compensate. High levels of insulin in the blood causes the ovaries to produce testosterone, which interferes with the development of ovarian follicles where the egg is produced. This prevents ovulation.

Apart from testosterone, women with PCOS are also found to have raised levels of luteinizing hormone, prolactin hormone, which stimulates the mammary glands to produce milk, and low levels of sex hormone-binding globulin. Although the exact reasons why these hormones change is not known, there are many suggestions that the problem might occur in hormone-producing glands.

Symptoms and Risks

PCOS symptoms will show up in your early twenties or late teens. The symptoms will vary from person to person, being mild in some and severe in others. Moreover, not all women experience all symptoms. Some might have menstrual problems while others will experience infertility or even both. Some of the most common symptoms of PCOS include irregular or no periods, difficulty getting pregnant, excessive hair growth in areas such as the face and chest, hair loss, acne, and weight gain.

Most women will not know they have PCOS until they try to get pregnant and become unsuccessful. Because of the irregular release of the ovum, many women with PCOS fail to ovulate or ovulate infrequently and therefore find it difficult to conceive. PCOS can increase your chances of developing other health complications like diabetes, and depression later in life. But with treatment, the chances of getting such problems can be minimized.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect that you’re suffering from PCOS, your doctor will check your blood sample to screen for diabetes, high levels of hormones, and cholesterol. He or she will arrange a number of hormonal tests for you and perform an ultrasound scan to find out if the number of follicles is normal. Treatment options vary depending on whether you’re suffering from multiple symptoms or just one.

The main forms of treatment involve lifestyle changes, especially if you’re overweight. You’ll need to change your diet and to exercise regularly. For irregular or absent periods, the doctor will recommend a contraceptive pill to induce ovulation. If you have infertility problems then medications such as clomiphene will be recommended. Some particular types of oral contraceptives such as Yasmin, or Dianette, can be used to control excessive growth of hair.