PCOS Q & A
What is polycystic ovary syndrome?
Polycystic ovary syndrome, sometimes called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. PCOS involves problems in the ovaries, which are responsible for releasing an egg every month as part of your menstrual cycle.
When you have PCOS, the egg may not develop or be released as it normally should. This can cause you to skip periods or experience irregular periods that make it difficult to become pregnant. PCOS may also cause your ovaries to develop numerous cysts, or small, fluid-filled sacs.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
Signs and symptoms of PCOS vary from person to person, but may include:
- Irregular menstrual cycles that may involve less than eight periods per year or periods that occur every 21 days or more
- Excessive hair growth on the face, chin, or other areas men typically have hair
- Thinning of hair on the scalp
- Acne that may be severe
Symptoms of PCOS tend to be more severe if you’re obese.
What are some complications of PCOS?
PCOS may increase your risk for certain complications and health problems, such as:
- Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes
- Sleep apnea
- Metabolic syndrome
- Depression and anxiety
- Endometrial cancer
- High blood pressure
- Unhealthy cholesterol
Although PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility, it’s also treatable. If you want to get pregnant, Dr. O’Heron can discuss treatment to help you ovulate and increase your chances of pregnancy.
How do you diagnose and treat PCOS?
First, Dr. O’Heron performs a comprehensive physical exam and asks questions about your symptoms and medical history. She may also perform a pelvic exam and diagnostic tests such as a blood test to check your hormone levels or in-office ultrasound to examine your ovaries for cysts.
Then, she develops an individualized treatment plan to best suit your needs. Although there’s no cure for PCOS, lifestyle changes and medications can help manage your symptoms. Depending on your unique situation, Dr. O’Heron may recommend:
- Weight loss
- Hormonal birth control
- Hair removal treatment
- Hormonal medicines
If you think you may have PCOS, call Lifeboat Medical Associates or book an appointment online.