5 Signs You May Have PCOS

Experts think that as many as half of women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) do not know that they have it. Detecting PCOS is important because of the effect it can have on your fertility and your health. Any of the following can be a sign that the symptoms you are experiencing are PCOS:

1. You’re gaining weight and don’t know why.

Have you noticed weight gain without explanation? Or, have you tried losing weight but have found that it stubbornly sticks no matter how closely you watch calories and exercise?

PCOS is closely associated with insulin resistance. This happens when your body does not process sugar the way that it is supposed to. The result is a change in your metabolism that can cause you to gain weight or make it harder to lose weight if you are already overweight.

2. Your menstrual cycle is irregular.

Most women, on average, have a period every 28 days. Women who have PCOS may have cycles that vary in length. Some months you’ll have a heavy period, others it will not show up at all.

Women with PCOS have higher levels of male hormones than normal. Additionally, their ovaries may not produce enough progesterone to stimulate normal ovulation. Together, these can add up to irregular periods.

3. You’re growing hair in unexpected places.

Most of us deal with the occasional stray chin hair. The excess male hormones associated with PCOS, however, can lead to significant hair growth on your chin, upper lip, sides of the face and other areas where you would not normally grow noticeable hair. Talk to your doctor about this symptom, known as hirsutism. It is one of the major signs of PCOS.

4. You’re having trouble getting pregnant.

On average, 95 couples who are trying to have a baby will successfully conceive within two years. This includes about 70% who conceive within the first six months.

PCOS is associated with large numbers of cysts on the ovaries. These cysts are partially formed follicles that contain an egg that should otherwise be released. Because eggs do not mature and release normally, regular ovulation does not occur. When you are not ovulating, you are not able to become pregnant.

5. You’re an adult but you are still plagued by acne.

Acne is not at all uncommon during adolescence. The new influx of hormones at puberty can lead to the imbalances that contribute to pimples, blackheads and other blemishes. Most people are able to shake these by the time that they are adults. However, when you have PCOS, hormone irregularities can contribute to acne on your face, back and other areas of your body.

Treating PCOS

There is no cure for PCOS and we still do not fully understand its cause. However, we have identified many factors that can contribute to PCOS.

Many medical professionals respond to PCOS by prescribing medications to manage symptoms. They might, for instance, recommend a specific breast cancer medication that can cause you to ovulate regularly. Or, they may recommend hormonal birth control to stop ovulation and regulate your hormones altogether.

How We Treat PCOS

We prefer to address the underlying issues that can make PCOS more severe. For instance, PCOS’s causes and symptoms are closely associated with obesity. PCOS is exacerbated by unhealthy insulin levels. When you are overweight or obese, this can make insulin resistance worse. We help you create a strategy that can help you lose weight and make PCOS symptoms milder.

PCOS symptoms can also be affected by the foods that you eat. Since there is evidence that PCOS is inflammatory, avoiding inflammatory foods and choosing those that help fight inflammation can help you feel healthier and more energetic while easing some of the symptoms of PCOS.

We believe that people who are personally engaged in their healthcare see better outcomes. We are passionate about working with our patients to understand their symptoms and to craft personalized care that helps them enjoy the best possible health.

Do you have symptoms that could be PCOS? Get in touch for an appointment. We are ready to listen as you describe your symptoms and ready to do the testing that can help confirm a diagnosis and set us on the path to the right treatment for you.