Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects as many as 1 in 10 women during their childbearing years. The condition results from metabolic issues and an imbalance of reproductive hormones that causes dysfunction in the ovaries.
What it means to have PCOS
Having PCOS may mean the egg your ovaries release each month as part of your menstrual cycle may not develop properly or be released during ovulation. The root cause of PCOS isn’t well understood, but you may be at increased risk for the condition due to your genetic background.
You may also develop PCOS if you have high levels of androgens, or male hormones, or your insulin levels are high. Insulin is responsible for converting food into energy, but women with PCOS tend to be insulin resistant, causing higher than normal levels of insulin in the blood.
Your risk for insulin resistance increases if you’re overweight, aren’t physically active, or have a family history of diabetes.
Warning signs of PCOS
There are several warning signs that may indicate you have PCOS, and the physicians at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group may recommend you get a full medical evaluation if you experience issues, such as:
Irregular periods are often a hallmark of PCOS. Many women with PCOS miss periods or have fewer periods each year. In some cases, periods may stop altogether.
Because PCOS can be influenced by androgen hormones, you may notice that your hair is thinning out or that you’re losing more hair than normal. Some women may develop male-pattern baldness, hair loss that starts at the crown of the head and recedes backwards.
Abnormal hair growth
In addition to losing hair on your head, PCOS can also cause hair to grow on areas of your body where only men usually grow hair, such as the chin and face.
PCOS can cause color changes in your skin, with areas of darkened skin appearing along the creases of your body, such as on your groin, neck, and below your breasts. Furthermore, skin tags and excess pieces of skin can develop on skin creases around your neck and armpit areas.
Acne is common with PCOS, likely due to the imbalance in hormones. Acne often affects the face, chest, and upper back, and can range from mild to severe.
Because these symptoms can be related to many other underlying health conditions, your physician at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group can perform diagnostic testing to confirm PCOS or rule out other medical issues. Diagnostic testing usually involves a physical and pelvic exam as well as blood tests to evaluate your hormone levels.
PCOS can also cause cysts to form in your ovaries, and your evaluation may also include a pelvic ultrasound to identify cysts and problems in the lining of your uterus.
Polycystic ovary syndrome and infertility
You may struggle with infertility for a number of reasons, but having PCOS can also play a factor in your ability to conceive a child. However, an early diagnosis of PCOS can help you get the treatment you need to regulate your menstrual cycle and increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
The medical team at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group offers several treatment options, including medication therapy, to enhance your chances of getting pregnant. The supportive staff will work closely with you to achieve your family planning goals.
They also offer customized management plans to rebalance your reproductive hormones. The team at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group will also help you make lifestyle modifications, such as increasing exercise and eating a healthy diet, to prevent a worsening of PCOS-related side effects.
If missed periods and facial hair growth have you worried about PCOS, schedule a consultation today by calling The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group or by using the convenient online booking feature.