Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
If you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you’re not alone — about 5-10% of women of childbearing age have this condition. Board-certified OB/GYNs, NPs and the team at Advanced Women’s Healthcare in Bloomington, Illinois, diagnose and treat women with PCOS. For compassionate treatment of PCOS, call to make an appointment today.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Q & A:
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome, sometimes called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age (approximately 15-44 years old). This hormonal imbalance may cause problems with your ovaries and menstrual cycle, including:
- Irregular, infrequent, or prolonged menstrual periods
- Development of numerous ovarian cysts
- Failure to release an egg (ovulate)
When you don’t ovulate, you can’t get pregnant. PCOS is one of the most common (and treatable) causes of female infertility.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
Signs and symptoms of PCOS usually begin around the time of your first menstrual period, but this condition can develop any time after puberty. Common PCOS signs and symptoms include:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Weight gain and difficulty losing weight
- Elevated levels of male hormones (androgens) that cause physical signs like facial hair
- Thinning hair at the top of the scalp
- Fluid-filled sacs (cysts) on the ovaries
Many women learn that they have PCOS when they have difficulty getting pregnant in their 20s or 30s. You should schedule an appointment at Advanced Women’s Healthcare any time you have concerns about your menstrual cycle or fertility.
What other health problems are related to PCOS?
Studies show links between PCOS and other health problems, including:
- Sleep apnea
- High blood pressure
- Unhealthy cholesterol
- Endometrial cancer
Obesity can make signs and symptoms of PCOS more severe and increase your risk of complications.
How is PCOS diagnosed and treated?
PCOS has no cure, but early diagnosis and treatment at Advanced Women’s Healthcare may improve your chances of getting pregnant and reduce your risk of long-term complications like diabetes.
To diagnose PCOS, your provider begins by asking about your symptoms and medical history, including your menstrual periods and weight changes. They also perform a complete physical and pelvic exam and may take tests, such as blood tests to check your hormone levels and an ultrasound to examine your ovaries.
Then, they develop an individualized treatment plan to manage your PCOS symptoms. This may include:
- Lifestyle changes like weight loss
- Medications to regulate your menstrual cycle
- Medications to help you ovulate
They may also recommend treatments to reduce excess hair growth.
If you have irregular periods, difficulty getting pregnant, or other symptoms of PCOS, call us to schedule an appointment with one of our providers.