Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common health condition that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. This hormonal disorder often causes enlarged ovaries, mood changes and other hormonal symptoms like acne and facial hair. While there is no cure for PCOS, treatment can help. PCOS management focuses on individual health concerns, such as obesity and infertility.
What Is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)?
PCOS is a condition in which the ovaries produce a high number of androgens, a type of male sex hormone that is present in females in small amounts. This hormone disorder can result in skipped menstrual periods and can make it more difficult for women to get pregnant.
While the cause of PCOS is not well understood, the condition has been linked to certain genetic and environmental factors. The main features of PCOS include cysts in the ovaries, irregular or skipped periods and high levels of male hormones.
No one test can determine whether or not you have PCOS. The condition is typically diagnosed via a physical exam and a thorough discussion with your doctor about your medical history, weight fluctuations and changes in menstrual periods.
A pelvic exam may be performed to manually check for growths or other abnormalities. An ultrasound can be used to determine the thickness of the uterine lining and the overall appearance of the ovaries. Your doctor may also suggest blood tests to analyze your hormone levels.
Treating & Managing PCOS
Treatment for PCOS involves managing the symptoms of the condition which can lower your chance of experiencing long-term health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. Lifestyle changes are often recommended for patients with PCOS.
A low-carbohydrate diet, combined with moderate exercise, can often help improve the condition and make any medications that your doctor prescribes more effective. To help jumpstart ovulation, medications like clomiphene, letrozole, metformin or gonadotropins may be prescribed.
To regulate your menstrual cycle, your doctor may recommend combination birth control pills or progestin therapy. Birth control pills, spironolactone, eflornithine or electrolysis may help reduce excessive hair growth.
Discuss Your Options With Raleigh Gynecology
Raleigh Gynecology & Wellness in Raleigh, NC offers full-service gynecologic care to women of all ages. If you suspect that you may be suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome or need help managing your condition, reach out to our team of highly-trained physicians, nurses and administrative staff for personalized care.