By: Nikki Nies
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is more common of an issue for women than you might think. Not familiar with this acronym? Neither was I until a few days ago. Scroll through this blog post to learn more about this debilitating syndrome. It’s more common than you may think.
PCOS is a common hormonal disorder with enlarged, small cysts located along the outer edge of each ovary.
Common symptoms: infrequent, irregular menstrual periods; excessive hair growth; sleep apnea; pelvic pain; depression; acne; cysts on ovaries; weight gain or obesity. Beyond adolescence, difficulty becoming pregnant can be an indicator of PCOS.
Causes: The exact cause of PCOS is not conclusive, but an accumulation of factors, including excess insulin, low grade inflammation, abnormal fetal development, genetics or first relative has had a history of PCOS.
Seeing your local physician for a pelvic examination, blood test or pelvic ultrasound can help diagnose PCOS.
Treatment: To help regulate menstrual cycles, a physician may recommend birth control pills if you’re not trying to become pregnant. An alternative is taking progesterone for 10-14 days monthly. If trying to ovulate, one may be given medications to help ovulate (i.e. Serophene). One of the best treatments is weight loss through diet and exercise, as obesity can make insulin resistance worse. Weight loss can occur through dietary changes, such as consuming a low carbohydrate, low fat diet. When choosing carbohydrates, opt for whole grain, whole wheat products. Little simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, cookies, candies and fruit.
Take advantage of your surroundings and go outside for a walk if possible. Make a lap around your block after dinner. If needed, start slow and progress a few minutes each week.
Early diagnosis can alleviate future long term complications, such as cholesterol and lipid abnormalities, increased levels of c-reactive protein, sleep apnea, metabolic syndrome, abnormal uterine bleeding, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, diabetes and/or heart disease.