So you’ve heard about it with other fertility posts but what is is? What is polycystic ovarian syndrome ( PCOS )
What is PCOS?
PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder and affects about 1 in 10 women. Experts think that about seventy percent of women with PCOS go undiagnosed. It affects women of all ages from puberty to postmenopausal. It causes a variety of signs and symptoms. PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility. Even though it’s the most common cause of infertility, it doesn’t mean a woman with PCOS can’t conceive on their own or without the use of fertility medications.
What are the symptoms?
PCOS comes with a variety of symptoms. Some of these symptoms include excessive hair growth on the face or body, known as hirsutism. That is when your body produces hair in the male pattern, meaning females can have facial hair; like upper lip hair or chin hairs, or increased hair growth around the nipples or belly button. Other symptoms are increased weight gain due to hormone imbalances, irregular or absent menstrual cycles, male pattern baldness, acne and oily skin, mood changes and poor sleep. The cause of Polycystic ovarian syndrome is unknown but the more that researchers study it the more they think improper insulin and androgen levels may be part of the cause of it. There is no cure for PCOS but you can help manage some of the symptoms by taking birth control pills.
It has been found that more than half the women with PCOS will be insulin resistant to some level or a diabetic. It is very important that you follow up with an endocrinologist if you are diagnosed with PCOS so they can keep a check on your glucose and A1C as well as all of your other hormone levels.
How do I get diagnosed?
To be diagnosed with PCOS, your doctor will go through the symptoms and signs with you and see what you experience. You will then have blood work done and they will check many hormone levels and finally you will have a pelvic ultrasound to look at your ovaries and uterus. It is a common ultrasound finding to have a “ring of pearls” on one or both ovaries seen. Contrary to the name of the condition, it is not a requirement for your ovaries to be showing an excessive amount of follicles or cysts.
PCOS is a genetic condition and knowing your family history if very important. My mother and I both have PCOS. Knowing that it runs in my family was very helpful on my journey to becoming a mother. Want to read more about that? Check out this Post. It hasn’t been an easy journey but knowing how I can manage the symptoms has helped tremendously. Knowing that even though I have been eating great and exercising while the scale and measurements aren’t going anywhere reminds me that I’m not losing my mind or going crazy– it’s just another lovely side effect. Having the support of my husband and family with this condition has been great.
If you want to share your experience with PCOS or have questions feel free to comment or send me a message!