Struggling with Symptoms of PCOS?

Find Out 3 Lifestyle Changes That Can Help to Alleviate the Symptoms of PCOS A few years back, a patient of mine came for a consultation when she had trouble getting pregnant after six months of trying. While taking her medical history, I learned about the symptoms of PCOS such as the weight gain and acne problems that went unnoticed for several years. She told me that she thought that it was the side effects of the birth control pills she was taking and thus, did not pay much attention to the symptoms. Upon hearing the diagnosis of PCOS, she got worried that she will never be able to have a baby in the future. Well, the truth is pregnancy is very much possible for women suffering from this problem. The inability to conceive is more of a myth surrounding PCOS. In reality, this condition is manageable and nearly all women with PCOS should be able to achieve their dream to get pregnant and have a baby. While it is possible for some women to conceive naturally, some may need extra help and undergo fertility treatments to get pregnant. Understanding PCOS Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal, reproductive disorder affecting women of childbearing age. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates around 116 million women worldwide are affected by PCOS. Women with PCOS normally face metabolic issues and hormonal imbalance problems that may negatively impact their overall health and appearance.  They are usually at increased risk for various medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, endometrial cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.  In addition, PCOS accounts for nearly one-third of all infertility diagnoses in women.  Features of PCOS There are three main features of PCOS, namely, irregular periods, high levels of male hormones, and polycystic ovaries. Doctors usually diagnose you with PCOS if you have at least two of the three main features of PCOS. Hence, let us understand better the three features of PCOS to gain a better understanding of this disorder. Polycystic ovaries The name polycystic ovary syndrome generally refers to the formation of small cysts or fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries. However, according to John Hopkins Medicine, not all women with PCOS develop cysts. There is a possibility for some patients to develop cysts and not be diagnosed with PCOS. On the other hand, there are cases where some women may be diagnosed with PCOS even if they do not have a cyst in the ovaries. It is because the cyst is considered to be one of the symptoms and not the main cause of PCOS. High level of male hormones PCOS usually happens when the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of the male sex hormone, Androgen. There are many problems associated with the increase in Androgen production in a woman’s body. Some of the problems associated with an elevated level of Androgen are excess facial or body hair, acne, and infertility issues.  Irregular periods PCOS typically involves hormonal imbalances. Women with PCOS tend to produce higher male hormones which can interfere with ovulation. This causes disturbance in the monthly ovulation and menstrual cycle leading to problems such as an irregular period or no periods. The actual cause of PCOS is unknown There is no concrete reason for the occurrence of PCOS. However, most experts associate PCOS with insulin resistance and genetics. Insulin resistance Insulin is a hormone that regulates your blood sugar level. It aids the glucose to enter into the body’s cells to be used as energy or stored for future use. When your body resists insulin, it causes the blood sugar level to increase and this may lead to other health complications such as diabetes or obesity. Genetics PCOS can be hereditary. It means that you have a higher chance of having PCOS if your mom or closer female relatives are diagnosed with PCOS. Becoming aware of the symptoms   You may get PCOS at any time after puberty.  Usually, the symptoms can only be observed in your late teens or early 20s. However, not all women diagnosed with PCOS will have all the symptoms listed below. Some may only have one or two symptoms and thus may overlook meeting a doctor for consultation and undergoing proper treatment.  The symptoms may also vary in terms of severity. That is the reason why some women may only be diagnosed with PCOS during fertility consultation. Here are some of the common symptoms of PCOS that you shall be aware of: Irregular period You may have missed periods or may not be having periods for a few months. It may be due to excessive androgen and high insulin levels. Irregular periods are often considered a primary symptom of PCOS. However, it can be a false alarm as it may also be a symptom of another health condition. Thus, it is best to consult your doctor and get a proper diagnosis so that you can start managing the symptoms well and take better care of your body.  Excessive hair growth You may notice heavy hair growth on the face, back, chest, and abdomen. These can be due to high androgen levels in your body. Weight Gain Women with PCOS may gain weight rapidly due to insulin resistance. This condition also may increase the production of male hormones which typically causes an increase in abdominal fat. The uncontrolled weight gain can then lead to obesity issues. Infertility Trouble getting pregnant may also be one of the symptoms. This is usually caused by the disturbance in the ovulation process and menstrual cycle. Thus, it is best for intending parents to consult the doctor earlier when they are unable to conceive after six months of trying. Proper diagnosis of the causes of infertility can help the doctor to suggest the best treatment for you to achieve your parenthood dream. Diagnosing PCOS Doctors diagnose PCOS after doing some tests and examinations. Your doctor may talk to you about PCOS symptoms, the history of the medical