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PCOS

What is PCOS ? ...

 

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a problem in which a woman's hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with your periods and make it difficult to get pregnant. PCOS also may cause unwanted changes in the way you look. If it isn't treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease

What are the signs of PCOS ? ... 

Some common signs of PCOS include:

  • No periods, irregular periods, or very heavy periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Extra hair on your face or other parts of your body, called “hirsutism”
  • Acne
  • Weight gain or trouble losing weight
  • Patches of dark, thick skin

 

If you have some of the above signs, you might have PCOS. There may be other reasons that you have one or more of these signs. See a doctor to find out the cause.

What causes PCOS ?...

 

While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, doctors believe that hormonal imbalances and genetics play a role. Women are more likely to develop PCOS if their mother or sister also has the condition.

Overproduction of the hormone androgen may be another contributing factor. Androgen is a male sex hormone that women’s bodies also produce. Women with PCOS often produce higher-than-normal levels of androgen. This can affect the development and release of eggs during ovulation. Excess insulin (a hormone that helps convert sugars and starches into energy) may cause high androgen levels.

What tests are used to diagnose PCOS ?...

If you think you may have PCOS, it’s smart to see your doctor. And knowing what to expect during the appointment can make it less stressful. Here’s a list of some of what you might experience:

 

  • Questions from your doctor about your menstrual cycle and your health
  • Questions about whether other people in your family have similar symptoms
  • A physical examination that includes checking your skin and measuring your body mass index (BMI) and waist size
  • An examination of your genitals and possibly other parts of your reproductive system
  • A blood test to check your hormone levels and blood sugar levels

    Will PCOS affect my ability to have children someday ?..

    PCOS can cause problems with fertility (ability to get pregnant), but these problems usually can be treated. Treatments include medications to lower your insulin levels and to help you ovulate — or release an egg — each month. If you are concerned about your ability to get pregnant in the future, talk to your doctor.

 

What is the treatment for PCOS ?...

There is no cure for PCOS, but there are lots of ways to treat it. You may use a few of them or different ones at different times, depending on your symptoms.

Lifestyle changes are great ways to deal with PCOS.Eating well and staying active are important if you have PCOS. If you are overweight, losing weight may help with symptoms and may reduce health risks related to PCOS. Don’t smoke — or try to quit if you’ve started. Learn more in our guide. [pdf icon PDF 459K]

Birth control pills are a very common form of treatment for PCOS. Birth control pills contain hormones that can:

  • Correct the PCOS hormone imbalance
  • Lower the level of male hormones, which will lessen acne and hair growth
  • Regulate your menstrual periods
  • Lower the risk of endometrial cancer (which is higher in young women who don’t get their periods regularly)

Metformin is another medicine that may help with irregular periods and other PCOS issues. Metformin is sometimes used to help treat diabetes and may help keep your blood sugar closer to normal levels.

Anti-androgens work to reduce the effects of the male hormones on girls with PCOS. They can help clear up acne and hair growth. You can also deal with unwanted hair through electrolysis, hair removal creams, and laser treatment. There are lots of other options for treating acne.

Over the last decade, myo-inositol has been used more and more as a natural insulin sensitizer.

Treating women with myo-inositol has been shown to reduce androgen levels, help restore ovulatory function, lower blood pressure, and decrease triglyceride levels.18,19 This study confirms prior studies that have shown that myo-inositol or DCI administration improves endocrine parameters and insulin sensitivity, more so in women with higher fasting insulin levels, defined by a fasting insulin level greater than 12 µU/mL.20 Although weight loss and dietary interventions are also known to improve insulin sensitivity and hyperandrogenism and restore ovation in women with PCOS, 21– 23 studies investigating the potentially additive benefit of combining lifestyle interventions with myo-inositol would be beneficial. Myo-inositol is a safe and effective natural medicine for improving insulin resistance and it should be recommended in conjunction with other positive lifestyle modifications for the management of PCOS and insulin resistance.

 

 

References

 

  1. Legro RS, Finegood D, Dunaif A. A fasting glucose to insulin ratio is a useful measure of insulin sensitivity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1998;83(8):2694–2698.
  2. Carlomagno G, Unfer V: Inositol safety: clinical evidences. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2011;15(8):931–936.

 

What if I have worries about PCOS ?...

If you have been told you have PCOS, you may feel frustrated or sad. You may also feel relieved that at last there is an explanation for the problems you’ve been having. At the same time, having a diagnosis without an easy cure can be difficult.

Keep in mind that there are treatments for many of the problems that PCOS can cause. It is important to find a doctor who knows a lot about PCOS. You also want to feel comfortable with that person. Also, try to keep a positive attitude. And working on a healthy lifestyle, even when results take a long time, can help a lot, too!

Remember that you are not alone. Many girls with PCOS say that talking with a counselor about their concerns can be very helpful.

Having a healthy lifestyle through ups and downs is the first step to living well with PCOS!

 

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