Could you have PCOS – Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – PCOS is a complex condition that has many components. Often the first thing that’s identified is poly, which is the Latin term for many, cysts in the ovaries. This is how PCOS got its name.
I like to explain to my patients that it’s important to think of the cysts in the ovary as only 1 aspect of a complex endocrine disorder that includes:
- Insulin resistance
- An increased risk of pre-diabetes and diabetes
- Heavy bleeding
- Excessive hair growth
- Weight gain
With a proper diagnosis, treatment options can be offered to suppress the male type hormones, known as androgens which cause acne and hair growth, correct the insulin resistance and help relieve the irregular bleeding, which puts a woman at risk for uterine cancer.
What women with PCOS may notice:
- No periods for 3 or more months
- Irregular, heavy periods after a long interval without a period
- Too much hair in places you don’t want it, like the upper lip, chin, chest, and abdomen
- Hair loss around the temples
- Weight gain and difficulty losing weight despite restrictive diets and exercise
- Darkened skin around the neck and/or in the armpits
- An inability to become pregnant.
What your provider may see
- Elevated levels of LH (Luteinizing hormone)
- Lowered FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone)
- Using an ultrasound, finding 11 or more cysts in one or both ovaries
- There may be a slightly increased androgenic (male type ) hormone levels such as testosterone, DHEA or DHEAS levels
- Elevated triglycerides, blood sugar, and cholesterol
- Elevated Hemoglobin A1 C and other signs of insulin resistance
If you suspect that you have PCOS
If you have the symptoms listed above, then do find a health care provider who is familiar with the evaluation and treatments for PCOS.
2 Great resources for women with PCOS