Health Care

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): Symptoms and Treatment Options

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What Is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

A common hormonal disorder, PCOS causes an imbalance of hormones along with the formation of multiple cysts on the ovaries. Here are the hormones that play a role in PCOS:

  • Androgens: These are often called male hormones, but women have them, too. Women with PCOS tend to have higher levels of androgens.
  • Insulin: This hormone regulates your blood sugar. If you have PCOS, your body might not react to insulin the way it should, which can lead to diabetes.
  • Progesterone: If you have PCOS, your body may not have enough of this hormone. This leads to abnormal menstrual cycles.

PCOS Symptoms

You know something isn’t quite right with your body, but sometimes, you can’t put your finger on what’s wrong. Symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Excess androgen, resulting in facial hair, body hair and severe acne
  • Infertility or fertility issues
  • Irregular periods or increased time between cycles
  • Obesity
  • Polycystic ovaries, or cysts

How Is PCOS Diagnosed?

Your doctor will talk through your medical history and perform several tests to diagnose you quickly and accurately to get a full picture. Here are some tests your doctor may run to help understand if you have PCOS:

  • Blood tests for androgen levels
  • Pelvic exam
  • Ultrasound to look for ovarian cysts and uterine thickness

PCOS Treatment Options

There is no known cure for PCOS, but your doctor can help you find relief with medication and healthy lifestyle changes. Since high insulin levels are a risk factor, diabetes management can help ease your symptoms. Your doctor may refer you to a nutritionist who can help you find a healthy balance of diet, exercise and wellness.

Birth control pills, hormone therapy and diabetes medications can help stabilize your hormone levels and menstrual cycles, giving you control over your PCOS. Other treatments and medication can include:

  • Clomiphene (Clomid) to induce ovulation
  • Eflornithine (Vaniqa) to treat facial hair growth
  • Electrolysis to remove facial hair
  • Gonadotropins, fertility drugs
  • Letrozole (Femara) to regulate periods
  • Metformin, a diabetes medication
  • Progestin therapy to control periods
  • Spironolactone (Aldactone), a hormone control medication

Whole-Person Care for PCOS

We want to help you feel your best with smoother skin, better-regulated menstrual periods and gynecological comfort. If you are experiencing PCOS or PCOS-related symptoms, our skilled women’s health specialists are ready to provide compassionate support and comprehensive care.

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