Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects women and causes them to have an imbalance of hormones (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, 2012). According to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – Topic Overview (2005-2012), “It can cause problems with your periods and make it difficult to get pregnant. PCOS may also cause unwanted changes in the way you look. If it is not treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease” (para. 1). PCOS is very common and affects 1 out of 15 women (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – Topic Overview, 2005-2012).
About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (2012), reports that: “PCOS has been recognized and diagnosed for seventy-five years. There are many signs and symptoms that a woman may experience. Since PCOS cannot be diagnosed with one test alone and symptoms vary from woman to woman, PCOS has been known as the “Silent Killer”. Early diagnosis of PCOS is important as it has been linked to an increased risk for developing several medical risks including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease” (para. 1).
PCOS is linked to changes in the hormones estrogen, progesterone and androgen. Estrogen and progesterone are the female hormones that help the ovaries release eggs and androgen is a male hormone that is found in small amounts in women (Polycystic ovary syndrome, 2012). There is no concrete answer about why hormones get out of balance in PCOS. Signs and symptoms that may indicate a woman is dealing with PCOS are:
* Weight gain and trouble losing weight.
* Extra hair on the face and body.
* Irregular periods.
* Fertility problems.
* Thinning hair on the scalp.
* Enlargement of the clitoris.
* Deeper voice.
* Decreased breast size.
* Dark or thick skin around armpits, groin, neck and breasts.
* Depression (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – Topic Overview, 2005-2012). PCOS can be passed genetically from the father or mother (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – Topic Overview, 2005-2012).
A doctor must first suspect that a person has PCOS before testing them for it. According to Polycystic ovary syndrome (2012), tests for PCOS may include: * Blood tests for estrogen, FSH, LH, and testosterone levels.
* Fasting glucose
* Lipid level
* Pregnancy test
* Prolactin level
* Thyroid function
* Vaginal ultrasound
* Pelvic laparoscopy (Signs and Tests).
PCOS is not a disease that can be transmitted from one person to another. It is an illness that affects the functioning of hormones inside the body. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can be treated with medications to assist in regulating hormone activity or through holistic methods like diet and exercise. I would advise anyone dealing with PCOS to always try natural methods first when possible before starting a regimen of medication. Medications are useful; however they usually come with some unwanted side effects.
I have experienced PCOS before. I had a child in 2009 and shortly after noticed that my menstrual cycle did not return to normal. In fact, it did not return at all. In addition to that, I was having trouble loosing the weight I gained with the baby, particularly in my abdominal region. I was also experiencing issues with symptoms related to diabetes. I had also started to see a severe decrease in my sex drive, almost to the point that I was never interested in being intimate with my husband. I was depressed and thought I may be experiencing some type of mental illness. Needless to say, I was very afraid of what was going on in my body but did not want to visit a doctor.
In 2010 my husband and I decided that we wanted another child. After almost a year of trying unsuccessfully I finally made an appointment with the doctor. After telling her the issues I was experiencing in my body she took some blood tests and looked at several parts of my body. She checked my underarms and neck for darkened rough skin, which had developed since I had my first child. She also looked at the fat that was stored around my mid section. It was then that she started to explain what PCOS was and what I could do to help myself become better.
She advised me to buy the book The New Glucose Revolution Guide to Living Well with PCOS and told me how I could make changes in my lifestyle to increase my fertility. One of the first things she explained to me was that taking care of my health would be a huge milestone on the way to becoming healthy. I needed to implement an exercise regimen to ensure I kept my body in shape and change the types and amounts of food I put into it. She also told me that PCOS deals with a resistance to insulin and therefore I needed to be especially careful to avoid things that could cause diabetes to develop. That was especially true considering that most of my family on both the maternal and paternal side have diabetes.
After reading the book, seeing the doctor every few weeks, and making some major changes to my lifestyle we did get pregnant again and had a little girl in January of 2012. Before this issue I had no idea what PCOS was or what the signs and symptoms were. After dealing with it I learned how valuable it is to listen to your body. If something feels wrong or off about the way the body is functioning a doctor should be consulted immediately. I also learned the value of eating healthy and exercising regularly.
Although PCOS is common among women it is not a disease that is frequently discussed. It affects the hormones in the body and doesn’t have a concrete cause. PCOS can cause irregular or no menstrual cycle, fertility issues, or excess weight gain. The only way for a physician to diagnose PCOS is for them to suspect it so it is important that we know the signs and symptoms of the disease and report them to the doctor immediately if there is an issue. PCOS can be treated through medication or natural remedies, like diet and exercise.
About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. (2012). Retrieved from http://pcosfoundation.org/about- pcos
Brand-Miller, J., Farid, N. R., & Marsh, K. (2004). The New Glucose Revolution Guide to Living Well with PCOS . Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. (2012). Retrieved from
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)- Topic Overview. (2005-2012). Retrieved from: http://women.webmd.com/tc/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-topic-overview