My gynecologist got back to me today with the results of my blood work that I had done yesterday. I still have to go for an abdominal ultrasound next week and a biopsy April 2nd. However, the blood work showed that I have what’s called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). According to womenshealth.gov, it is a health problem that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. Woman with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance and metabolism problems that may affect their overall health and appearance. PCOS is also a common cause of infertility.
Symptoms of PCOS:
- Irregular Menstrual Cycle. Women with PCOS may miss periods or have fewer periods (fewer than eight in a year). Or, their period may come every 21 days or more often.
- Too much hair on the face, chin, or parts of the body where men usually have hair. This is called “hirsutism.” Hirsutism affects up to 70% of women with PCOS.
- Acne on the face, chest and upper back
- Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp; male-pattern baldness
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Darkening of skin, particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts
- Skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck
Causes of PCOS:
- High levels of androgens. Androgens are sometimes called “male hormones,” although all women make small amounts of androgens. Women with PCOS have more androgens than normal. Higher than normal androgens levels in women can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation) during each menstrual cycle, and can cause extra hair growth and acne, two signs of PCOS.
- High levels of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls how the food you eat is changed into energy. Insulin resistance is when the body’s cells do not respond normally to insulin. As a result, your insulin blood levels become higher than normal. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, especially those who have overweight or obesity, have unhealthy eating habits, do not get enough physical activity, and have family history of diabetes (usually type 2.) Over time, insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Other Health Problems Linked to PCOS:
- High Blood Pressure
- Unhealthy Cholesterol
- Sleep Apnea
- Depression and Anxiety
- Endometrial Caner
Treatment of PCOS:
There is no cure for PCOS, but you can manage the symptoms of PCOS. There are steps to take at home to help relieve symptoms. Medication is another option.
PCOS and Pregnancy:
PCOS can cause problems during pregnancy for mom and baby. Women with PCOS have higher rates of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and cesarean section.
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