My Pregnancy Guide
My Pregnancy Guide My Preconception My Pregnancy My Motherhood Pregnancy Tools & Stuff Pregnancy Shopping
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a very common condition in women, and there are a number of treatments to deal with this endocrine problem. Around 5 percent of childbearing aged women suffer from PCOS, and doctors aren't sure what causes it, although many experts think that it has to do with genetics. It occurs when the ovaries grow small cysts, and enlarge, causing irregular menstrual cycles and the production of extra testosterone. It can also cause infertility, skin problems, and thinning hair.

PCOS can be a difficult condition for women because they often grow excess facial hair, and have skin problems like acne and oily skin that can be hard to treat. There is also a tendency for women to be obese, and it can be almost impossible to see results from weight loss programs. There is a much higher risk of heart problems or high blood pressure for women with PCOS later in life. Women with PCOS sometimes produce extra insulin, which leads to diabetes or glucose intolerance. This can also lead to dangerous complications as a woman gets older.

The first step if you suspect you have PCOS is to see your doctor. PCOS can be confused with conditions like hyperplasia or thyroid disorders, so your physician will need to do a number of lab tests before he or she makes a diagnosis. Most of these tests look for various serums in your blood, and will determine if you have abnormal levels of hormones present. Your doctor may also do an ultrasound to see if you haev ovarian cysts.

PCOS can be treated in a number of ways. A low carbohydrate diet is often effective in weight reduction, combined with an exercise plan. Reducing the weight also helps reduce androgen levels, which leads to an improvement in irregular periods and skin problems. A low carb diet requires careful monitoring of the foods you eat, and timing meals and snacks just right for optimal absorption. It takes effort, but a low carb diet is sometimes the most effective treatment for PCOS.

Your doctor may prescribe the birth control pill, which have less male hormone effects. Other prescription drugs used to treat PCOS include glucocorticoids and spironolactone. In most cases, acne and thinning hair will fade with proper treatment, but your physician might also discuss a hair regrowth product, and treat the acne with oral or topical medications. If you are concerned about excess facial hair, your doctor can discuss hair removal options with you during your appointment.


Find Your Baby's Name
Free Pregnancy and Baby Website