Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 1 in 10 women, causing irregular menstrual periods and putting them at risk for infertility and serious chronic health conditions like Type 2 diabetes. Providence Women’s Healthcare in Roswell, Suwanee, and Atlanta, Georgia, specializes in treating PCOS, providing holistic care that includes nutritional support, weight loss management, and medical treatments. If you need help with PCOS, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Call the nearest office or use the online booking feature today.
PCOS develops when you have an imbalance of hormones called androgens, which are male hormones like testosterone. Women normally produce a small amount of androgens.
Androgens have a role in regulating women’s reproductive system, heart health, muscle tone, and bone mass. But when androgen levels get higher than normal, they interfere with normal ovulation and menstruation and cause a wide range of symptoms.
PCOS is defined by having two of the three primary symptoms:
Your hormone imbalance may cause heavy, irregular, or infrequent menstrual periods. Some women may not have any periods.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop in your ovaries. These cysts may lead to enlarged ovaries and cause pelvic pain or abdominal bloating.
In addition to the negative effect on your ovaries, high levels of androgens cause symptoms such as acne, hair loss, and hirsutism. Hirsutism is the excessive growth of dark, coarse hair on your face, chest, abdomen, and upper thighs. Up to 70% of women with PCOS develop hirsutism.
If you have PCOS, you have a higher risk of problems such as:
High insulin levels and insulin resistance (the causes of Type 2 diabetes) are directly associated with abnormal androgen levels.
Your provider reviews your medical history and symptoms and completes a thorough physical and pelvic exam. Then they run blood tests to verify hormone levels and other potential problems like high blood sugar and cholesterol. In some cases, they may do an ultrasound to see if you have ovarian cysts.
Treatment for PCOS focuses on improving your symptoms with lifestyle changes and medications. Following a healthy eating plan, getting exercise, and losing weight improves insulin levels and eases some symptoms. You may also need treatment to remove excess hair or slow hair growth.
Hormonal birth control methods regulate your menstrual cycle and improve acne and hirsutism. If you have Type 2 diabetes, some of the medications for managing blood sugar also help with weight loss, lowering cholesterol, and restarting ovulation.
When PCOS causes infertility, you may need minimally invasive surgery to trigger ovulation. If all other treatments fail to help, in vitro fertilization may be a good option.
If you need help with PCOS symptoms, call Providence Women’s Healthcare or book an appointment online today.