14, Sep 2023
Have you heard of Polycystic ovary syndrome?
Also known as PCOS, it is a metabolic and hormonal disorder that affects women and girls during the reproductive years.
In the U.S., nearly 6 million women have PCOS.
It causes female infertility and other long-term disease conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, obesity, heart disease, sleep apnea, gestational diabetes, fatty liver, depression, anxiety and endometrial cancer.
Early diagnosis and treatment and focusing on weight loss may sometimes lower the risk of long-term complications.
Many tiny sacs of fluid called cysts and follicles develop around the outer edge of the ovary, making the ovaries not optimally work the way they should.
The exact cause of PCOS remains unknown.
Factors such as heredity, insulin resistance, low-grade inflammation, excess weight gain and excess androgen can all play a role in causing the condition.
If you have PCOS, the follicles fail to release eggs, affecting regular menstrual periods or periods lasting many days.
You may have trouble getting pregnant. You may also have too much androgen hormone, resulting in excess facial and body hair.
The condition is known as hirsutism. Male-pattern baldness and severe acne may happen, too.
If you suspect PCOS, you must consult your healthcare provider for a pelvic examination and pelvic ultrasound.
Your provider may also recommend some blood tests to check your cholesterol level and measure your body's response to sugar.
Regular blood pressure monitoring is also needed, along with screening for depression and obstructive sleep apnea.
Once diagnosed with PCOS, you will likely be recommended weight loss through eating a healthier, low-calorie diet and moderate exercise.
Certain medications, such as birth control pills and progestin therapy, are prescribed to regulate the menstrual period.
Your healthcare provider might recommend medications like clomiphene to help you ovulate.
Metformin helps with ovulation and improves insulin resistance. Spironolactone blocks the androgen effects, thereby reducing excessive hair growth and acne manifestations of PCOS.
September is PCOS Awareness Month with goals to help improve the lives of those affected by the disease, help overcome their symptoms, and reduce the risks of allied life-threatening complications.
If you are experiencing infertility issues, irregular periods, weight gain, or excessive hair growth, call your healthcare provider to discuss the treatment plan today.
Dr. Sue Mitra and her staff strive to offer their patients the best care, advice and services available in the medical field with the goal to keep patient healthy & happy.
Dr. Sue Mitra is board certified in international medicine. She is seen here with a Cologuard, which is a noninvasive colon cancer screening test. (Photo by: Tim Shortt/Florida Today)