This is the first part in a multi-part series on PCOS. I care for many women with PCOS and they’ve told me that they can’t find information that’s easily understood available.
Finding out that you have PCOS can be overwhelming. I’ll be posting multiple articles on how to understand what’s going on, what you may notice and why. I’ll also cover weight loss strategies, fertility and how to combat acne and hair growth.
What women with PCOS may notice:
- Too much hair in places you don’t want it, like the upper lip, chin, around the breasts and tummy
- Difficulty losing weight
- No periods, irregular periods or 1 -2 each year
- Darkened skin around the neck and/or armpits, and
- Inability to become pregnant.
What your provider may notice:
- Elevated levels of LH (Luteinizing hormone)
- Lowered FSH (Follicle Stimulating hormone)
- On an ultrasound, 10 or more cysts on one or both ovaries. This is how PCOS got it’s name. Poly means many – when there are many cysts, there are Poly Cysts, and
- There may be a slightly increased testosterone level.
If you suspect that you have PCOS
If you have the symptoms of infrequent or absent periods and/or the other symptoms listed above, then ask for an ultrasound and the following blood work to rule out other causes:
- A thyroid test – as 10% of women have some type of issue with their thyroid gland
- A prolactin test – this measures a hormone from the pituitary gland that can interfere with normal ovulation and period
- An FSH (Follicle Stimulating hormone) and LH (Luteinizing hormone), and
- You may also ask for a Testosterone and DHEA level if you’re concerned about hair growth.