PCOS Awareness :: What You Need to Know

PCOS Awareness:: What You Need to Know | Houston Moms Blog

September is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome {PCOS} Awareness month. If you suffer from this condition, then you are all too aware of the ramifications it can have on your life. However, if you’ve never heard of PCOS, this is a good month to heighten your awareness of it.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal condition that impacts approximately 1 out of every 10 women. There is no age range for this condition but usually becomes apparent around puberty. It is caused by an imbalance in female reproductive hormones. It is suspected to be hereditary but what causes this imbalance is unknown.

What is known, however, is what a large impact this syndrome can have on a woman’s life. The most common symptoms are ::

  • Cystic growth on your ovaries
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Issues with fertility
  • Insulin resistance and weight gain
  • Acne and/or oily skin
  • Unwanted body hair in places like your face, chin, stomach, breasts, feet, or hands
  • Hair Loss
  • Hormonal headaches
  • Extreme fatigue

How is PCOS Diagnosed?

Unfortunately, PCOS can be a hard condition to nail down. Despite its name, not all women with PCOS experience cysts on their ovaries which is why it often takes years to diagnose. Also, many women do not experience the full impact of PCOS until their middle aged years. Even then, PCOS looks different for every woman impacted.

If you do have polycystic ovaries, this is very easily found by your doctor during an exam. This means there are many tiny growths on your ovaries. While these can wreak havoc on your hormones, they are benign and do not require removal.

Diagnosis usually comes as a result of elimination. Visit with your doctor, discuss your symptoms and rule out any other possible causes. If you are negative for everything else, then you likely have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Don’t put it off. The sooner you put a name to the issue, the sooner you can start treatment.

How is PCOS Treated? 

This is a tricky one because it depends on what issue you want to treat. There are many remedies that treat the side effects of PCOS, like skin cream for acne and pain relievers for headaches but there is no outright cure. Women not attempting to conceive can use hormonal birth control to help correct the hormonal imbalance of PCOS.

However, if you are trying to conceive many of these options will not work for you. The universal recommendation for PCOS is to eat well, lower your carbohydrate intake {to reduce the sugars impacting your insulin resistance}, and exercise. It is often said that even a 5% drop in body weight can stimulate ovulation.

If that does not work or you’re in need of a little boost along the way, there are other options {like Metformin for insulin resistance} that can be discussed with your healthcare provider.

Why Should You be Aware of PCOS?

As the leading cause of infertility in women, knowing about PCOS is important. Despite it’s commonality, it is not often discussed. Approximately half of the women with the condition do not even know they have it.

Unfortunately, late detection can also put you at risk for many, even more serious, problems like::

  • Type II Diabetes
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Heart Disease
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Endometrial cancer {cancer of the lining of the uterus}

Awareness of PCOS helps bring the condition to the spotlight and increases the chances of effective treatment for all women. It also helps increase the likelihood of being tested and starting early treatment. Knowing more means doing more and that is something that can help all women.

If you’d like to be involved in helping spread awareness, share this post so that others can become more educated on the issue. Also, the color of PCOS awareness is teal so show your support of #TeamTeal! For more information, please visit the PCOS Awareness Awareness Association.

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