Some common signs of PCOS include:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 459K]
Birth control pills are a very common form of treatment for PCOS. Birth control pills contain hormones that can:
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.
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.
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