Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder affecting women of reproductive age. As a subspecialty reproductive medicine practice, we see women with PCOS every day. While many of these patients are seeing us for fertility related issues, many others are not.
Understanding what PCOS is and is not.
- PCOS is hormonal disorder in which there is a problem with ovulation along with elevated levels of (or symptoms of elevated levels of) male hormones such as testosterone.
- Some criteria (such as the Rotterdam criteria) allow for the diagnosis of PCOS based on ultrasound appearance with either ovulatory dysfunction or excessive levels of "male" hormones.
- Other hormone disorders (such as thyroid and prolactin abnormalities) must be ruled out.
- There is no definitive test that tells you that you do or do not have PCOS. The doctor makes a diagnosis based a combination of signs, symptoms and blood tests.
- PCOS is fundamentaly a metabolic problem that involves how your body reacts to sugar and other carbs, showing up as gynecologic problem.
PCOS can cause a number a problems.
- irregular bleeding
- weight gain
- skin issues (acne, hair loss, oily skin)
- hair issues (abnormal growth or loss)
- long term health risks (diabetes, heart disease, uterine cancer)
in order to properly treat pcos, you and the doctor will first have to establish the goals of treatment. many of these treatment goals cannot be addressed at the same time. they may include:
- restoration of fertility
- prevention of miscarriages
- regulation of menstrual cycles
- clearing up acne or oily skin
- treating or preventing unwanted hair loss or gain
- weight loss
- prevention of long term health risks
There are a number of treatments available for PCOS:
- lifestyle modifications
- fertility drugs, IUI and IVF (for fertility and recurrent miscarriage issues only)
- birth control pills
- testosterone blockers
- metformin or other diabetes drugs