5 Signs You May Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Coral Gables, Florida

Research reveals that 1 in 10 women of childbearing age suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The exact cause of PCOS is not clear. Possible factors that lead to the development of PCOS are genetics, excess androgen, and excess insulin.

Studies indicate that the presence of certain genes may make a woman more likely to have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Androgen is a type of male hormone that can cause some symptoms of PCOS like hair growth and acne. Excess insulin in your body can affect ovulation, which impacts your menstrual cycles.

PCOS can have many different symptoms. Sometimes, symptoms appear after puberty, but for many women, the condition goes undiagnosed for many years. Michelle Starke, MD, and her team at The Center for Gynecology & Restorative Medicine help women understand PCOS and find treatment that works for their lifestyles. You may have polycystic ovary syndrome if:  

1. Your periods are irregular

Menstrual period irregularity is one of the most common signs of polycystic ovary syndrome. With PCOS, ovulation is disrupted and your menstrual periods are not as regular. Women with PCOS can experience short, irregular menstrual periods or have periods that are heavier and longer than average. For some women with PCOS, their menstrual periods disappear completely.

2. It’s difficult to maintain a healthy weight

Half of women with PCOS struggle with weight gain and obesity. High levels of insulin and androgen in your body can impact your ability to lose weight and make it more likely that you will gain weight. Because PCOS can make losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight difficult, you may be more likely to develop other chronic conditions associated with obesity. These can include metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea.

3. You notice increased hair growth on your face and body

Male-pattern hair growth, called hirsutism, can be a symptom of polycystic ovarian syndrome. You may notice hair growth in areas that men typically have hair, such as your face, arms, back, chest, or abdomen. Elevated levels of androgen in your body can lead to excess facial hair or even acne on your face, chest, and back.

4. You’re fatigued

Many women with PCOS report low energy and chronic fatigue. Among other complications, PCOS can cause sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing as you sleep. Your breathing passages can be blocked as your throat muscles relax, causing you to snore or stop breathing. Sleep apnea can also lead to insomnia and poor sleep.  

5. You’re struggling with infertility

Polycystic ovary syndrome is one of the leading causes of infertility for women. Hormonal changes impact your body’s ability to ovulate, affecting your menstrual periods. This can make getting pregnant difficult. Some women with PCOS are more likely to experience miscarriage or premature birth.

While having PCOS can make it difficult to get pregnant, it’s not impossible. Some women can get pregnant naturally even with PCOS, while for others, fertility treatment can lead to successful pregnancy.

A number of other symptoms like mood swings, acne, and thinning head hair can indicate polycystic ovarian syndrome, too. There is no test to confirm polycystic ovarian syndrome, but many women who are diagnosed with PCOS have at least two common symptoms.

If you think you may have PCOS, Dr. Starke can diagnose your condition by reviewing your medical history and symptoms, and performing a physical exam and/or pelvic exam.

Treatment for PCOS depends on your individual symptoms. If you struggle with obesity, a nutrition plan and moderate exercise may help manage your condition. Medication can help regulate your menstrual cycle and reduce excessive hair growth.

Dr. Starke’s office is located in Coral Gables, Florida. Call today to make your first appointment and learn more about PCOS.

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