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PCOS: What You Need to Know


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If you are struggling to get pregnant, with acne and irregular periods you might have heard of PCOS. PCOS may make women insecure about their appearance and state of physical health. Either can take a turn for the worse if not treated by a doctor. It’s suggested with PCOS, the earlier the diagnosis the better in hopes of reducing the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and stroke. 


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age causing complications in overall health and appearance. Inside the ovaries, multiple benign growths are formed either semi-solid or filled with fluid. Due to the many cysts, the ovaries may be enlarged with follicles that surround the eggs affecting its function. 


Causes and Symptoms


Although the cause of PCOS isn’t specified, it can be attributed to high androgen and insulin levels. The ovaries not only produce estrogen and progesterone to regulate menstruation, they also produce androgens. Androgen is a small amount of male hormone already present in women, however, an excess level can affect the skin and hair. Women with PCOS may encounter cystic acne, facial hair, and male-patterned baldness. Darkening of the skin can also occur on the back of the neck and underneath the breasts.


The excess of insulin might increase those levels of androgen negatively impacting the process of ovulation. According to the CDC, PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility, affecting 6 to 12 percent (as many as 5 million) of women in the United States. There is also an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.


Treatment


PCOS can be treated through losing weight to decrease the amount of insulin in the body. If you already have type 2 diabetes, weight loss can help your body use its insulin more effectively. 

Medications that combat PCOS are:

  • Clomifene helps with fertility and the release of the egg during ovulation. 

  • Metformin is used to treat type 2 diabetes, triggers the regulation of monthly periods, and even lowers high cholesterol.

  • The contraceptive pill regulates the menstrual cycle and lowers the risk of endometrial cancer.

If these symptoms apply, please consult your doctor for more information about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Doctors may conduct a pelvic exam, blood test or ultrasound if you are suspected to have PCOS. 



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