Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is quite common in women, affecting nearly 5-10% of the population, but it often goes undiagnosed. As a women-led fertility clinic, we want to help women learn more about their bodies and what is and isn’t normal.
PCOS is an endocrine and metabolic disorder that affects many functions and parts of the body, most notably the ovaries. While many people with PCOS can conceive without difficulty, it is a common cause of infertility in women.
The cause of PCOS is considered to be multifactorial; genetics, lifestyle, and environment may all contribute. If you think you might have PCOS, talk to your doctor today, as early intervention can help reduce these risks and help make symptoms more manageable. We’ve included four key things you should know about PCOS below.
Four Things You Should Know About PCOS
PCOS is a Common Condition
You’re not alone- nearly 5-10% of women have PCOS! While that seems like a very high percentage, it is because many women go undiagnosed until later in life, even with more classic symptoms such as irregular periods and excessive hair growth. There isn’t one specific test for PCOS, but your doctor can help you determine if you meet the criteria for PCOS based on several criteria.
There is No Cure for PCOS
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for PCOS, but several treatment options can help improve symptoms significantly. Once diagnosed, your doctor can review different treatment options, and together you can decide which, if any, treatment options make sense for you.
PCOS is the Leading Cause of Infertility In Women
PCOS often goes undiagnosed in women until they are ready to become pregnant and start their families. A common symptom of PCOS is having an irregular menstrual cycle - since regular menstrual cycles help you track your cycles and time intercourse with ovulation - many women with PCOS and irregular cycles have difficulty conceiving on their own. For these patients, help with your doctor can help track cycles or induce ovulation with medication.
Diet and Exercise Help Those With PCOS
PCOS has been shown to have long-term health risks associated with it, specifically Diabetes Mellitus, Elevated cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Evidence shows that maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly does help reduce the risk of these long-term health problems associated with PCOS. Both of these things can help with weight loss, which helps improve all aspects of PCOS and, ultimately, the long-term complications that may come with it. While diet and exercise aren’t the only solutions for some patients with PCOS, they can help to significantly reduce the risks of developing diabetes and heart disease in the future.
What You Can Do If You Think You Have PCOS
If you think you may have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS, the first course of action is to speak with a doctor or gynecologist. Your doctor can do additional testing and review your medical history to determine if you meet the criteria for someone with PCOS.
Once diagnosed, your doctor can help you determine the best treatment options based on your symptoms associated with PCOS. They may also encourage weight loss, increased physical activity, and healthy eating habits that can directly impact your symptoms.
If you are diagnosed and trying to conceive, your doctor may also recommend a specialist called a reproductive endocrinologist or fertility specialist (that’s what we do), who can help you learn more about your options for becoming pregnant.