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What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition where cysts to develop on the ovaries leading to hormonal imbalances. PCOS causes abnormal periods and fertility issues in addition to a variety of other troubling symptoms. The ovarian cysts that develop with PCOS are benign, but lead to other symptoms associated with the hormonal imbalance and can make it difficult to become pregnant. The causes of PCOS are not fully understood, although genetics are a common factor.

What Are the Symptoms of PCOS?

PCOS causes a variety of symptoms that can range in severity. The symptoms of PCOS are often ignored or attributed to another condition. The most common symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Acne
  • Depression
  • Extra hair on the face and body
  • Fertility issues
  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Heavy bleeding during periods
  • High blood pressure
  • Thinning hair on the scalp
  • Weight gain and trouble losing weight

How is PCOS Treated?

Diagnosis is the first step in treating PCOS. The doctors at Legacy OB/GYN will ask you questions about your health, symptoms, and menstrual cycle. They will also perform a physical exam to check for the physical symptoms of PCOS like high blood pressure, extra body hair, or being overweight. They will also order blood work to measure your hormone levels and other metrics that could rule out other conditions like thyroiditis, which can cause similar symptoms. In some cases, the doctor may order an ultrasound to see if cysts are forming on the ovaries. Once your doctor is able to accurately diagnose PCOS, she will recommend a course of treatment to alleviate your symptoms and heal your body. While hormone treatment with birth control pills or bio-identical hormones can help to restore hormonal balance to your body, you will also be recommended to exercise regularly and to lose any excess weight. Regular, moderate exercise is shown to help restore balance to the body and stimulate functionality. Even taking a brisk 30-minute walk each day can provide some improvement. Being overweight can also contribute to hormonal imbalances and even losing 10 pounds can help restore hormonal balance and regulate your menstrual cycle.