Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a very common endocrine disorder, it affects 5-12% of women. It can cause a lot of issues as you will see below. It can be in both normal body mass index (BMI) weight women and in overweight women.
Cause: Genetics and hormone regulation play a role, otherwise, etiology is unclear.
What happens? Our ovaries produce a lot of cysts which produce a lot of “male” hormones which causes an imbalance in our system. I put male in quotes as the hormones or androgens that are elevated are in both men AND women, but predominantly more in men. Those with PCOS continue to make estrogen which builds the lining of the uterus up, without ovulation, we do not produce progesterone, which helps to thin the lining of the uterus. We want the uterine lining thin in non-pregnant patients.
The most common signs/symptoms of PCOS, (click on title for more info):
Diagnosis: It can sometimes take some time to figure this out but you need to have at least 2 of the 3 criteria for diagnosis:
- Few periods in a year or none (not on hormonal medication)
- Hyperandrogenism, clinically and/or seen on blood work
- Polycystic ovaries (by ultrasound)
Some of the possible treatment options:
- Lifestyle Changes = healthy diet and exercise
- Combined oral contraceptives (birth control pill) (if able to take them)
- Alternative to combined oral contraceptives: cyclic progestin therapy, continuous progestin therapy or a progestin-releasing intrauterine device
- Possible use of myo-inositol can help restore ovulation
- Anti-androgen may be added (medication used to help decrease testosterone from binding to the receptors and causing hair loss and/or acne)
- Screen for anxiety and depression, sleep apnea, cardiovascular issues; treat accordingly
If you think you have PCOS or you have irregular period concerns, sign up for Weber Medical to discuss this with Dr. Lauren Weber for your personalized treatment plan.
The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and is not to be used as medical advice.