I am sure PCOS sounds familiar, you may have heard this letters put together before, but what is PCOS? PCOS stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS is a very common condition in women of reproductive age, but exactly what is it? PCOS is a hormone imbalance, which may cause many small follicles (fluid filled sac) on the ovaries. Women with PCOS typically have irregular menstrual cycles. Cycles may come very infrequently or be prolonged. Additionally, a women may notice increased acne (especially around the chin), excessive hair growth, or male pattern hair loss. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. However, obesity, which is a body mass index greater than 30, and heredity may increase the risk of developing PCOS.
PCOS on ultrasound
Having PCOS may cause a variety of different health complications. PCOS can increase the risk for development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, PCOS can put a women at increased risk for elevated cholesterol. Also, PCOS can also cause difficulty with fertility.
PCOS causes difficulty with fertility because people with PCOS do not regularly release an egg for fertilization, also known as ovulation. Since ovulation does not always occur each month it can be more challenging to conceive. Having PCOS does not mean you can not conceive, but it could make it more difficult. If you do NOT wish to conceive you still need to use protection for pregnancy.
Currently, there is no treatment for PCOS. However, if you are overweight or obese a reduction of weight can be helpful. If you are not trying to conceive, birth control can help to regulate your cycle and help regulate the hormones. If you are trying to conceive, starting metformin or clomid can helpful in the right candidate.
Understanding that you have PCOS is the first step! If you think you may have PCOS or have questions about PCOS come in the office and we can further discuss your concerns.