Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common hormonal problems affecting women. It affects 5-18% of women.
Factors that may play a role in developing PCOS:
- excess insulin
- low grade inflammation
- excess androgen
Health concerns related to PCOS include infertility, metabolic issues such as obesity, increased risk for type II diabetes, increased rick for coronary heart disease, sleep apnea, abnormal uterine bleeding, uterine cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver and mood disorders. If a woman becomes pregnant after being diagnosed with PCOS, she can be at an increased risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy. She may also be at an increased risk of the birth resulting in a miscarriage or premature birth.
In order to be diagnosed with PCOS, women must display two of the following three symptoms:
- Irregular bleeding or infrequent bleeding (greater than 35 days before periods)
- Signs of hyperandrogenism (acne, male patterned hair growth or hair loss)
- Polycystic ovaries (diagnosed with ultrasound)
Management of PCOS is often dependent on the patient’s concerns. Below are some of the most common ways to manage PCOS and its’ symptoms.
- Lifestyle modifications/weight loss 5-10% weight loss can show benefit in PCOS
- Exposure to progesterone to counteract excessive estrogen exposure and decrease the chance of getting uterine cancer
- Medications to help control symptoms
- Medications can slow or stop male pattern hair growth.
- Medications can help control improve insulin sensitivity
- Medications to induce ovulation
Early diagnosis can reduce the risk of long term complications associated with PCOS. If you think you may have PCOS, a consult with Boston IVF at The Women’s Hospital may be important to decide the best plan of care for you. If you have any further questions you can call Boston IVF at The Women’s Hospital or speak with your OB/GYN.