PCOS, or Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome, is a common condition that affects how your ovaries work. However, those with PCOS may not realise that they have it, or may think their symptoms are caused by something else. Here’s what PCOS is and how to tell if you have it.
1. So What Exactly Is Poly-Cysitc Ovary Syndrome?
PCOS is a condition that traditionally runs in families, although it is not yet known what exactly causes PCOS. If you do have PCOS, the signs and symptoms tend to show up in your late teens and early twenties. It is related to abnormal hormone levels in the body, and this includes high levels of insulin – the hormone that controls sugar in your body. As a result of this, those who have PCOS can be more likely to get Type 2 diabeties.
The three main features of PCOS are irregular periods, excess androgen or ‘male hormones’ and polycystic ovaries which contrary to the name does not actually mean you have cysts – instead, your ovaries are enlarged amd contain many follicles (fluid-filled sacs) around the eggs. If you have two of these symptoms, you may be diagnosed with PCOS.
2. Signs And Symptoms
PCOS can cause any number of signs and symptoms, and often presents differently in different people. These symptoms an include:
- Irregular or no periods
- Difficulty getting pregnant
- Excessive hair growth on your face, back, chest or bum
- Hair loss from the head/thinning hair
- Weight gain
- Oily skin/acne
- Developing other health problems later on in life, like Type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol levels
If you notice that you have these symptoms, go and see a doctor.
3. Getting Diagnosed and Treatment
If you speak to your GP and they feel that you may have PCOS they may arrange for you to have some hormone tests to check if your hormone levels are high. They will ask you about your other symptoms to see if you have another condition, and they will also check your blood pressure. You may also have to have an ultrasound scan to see if you have polycystic ovaries, and some other tests to see if you have diabetes or high cholesterol.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for PCOS, but it can be treated in a number of ways. If you are overweight and have PCOS, eating a healthy, balanced diet and losing a little weight can improve some symptoms – even just a 5% weight loss can cause some massive improvements. Medications can be prescribed to treat excessive hair growth, irregular periods and fertility issues.
If you think you may have PCOS, speak to your GP today.
Do you have PCOS? Let us know in the comments!
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