PCOS is a group of symptoms that are caused by an imbalance in hormones, primarily excessive levels of androgens, such as testosterone. Women normally produce a small amount of androgens, but when hormone levels get too high, they interfere with normal follicle development in your ovaries. As a result, your ovaries stop releasing eggs and, in some cases, ovarian cysts develop.
If you have PCOS, you’ll develop at least two of the following symptoms:
You may stop having periods or your periods may become irregular and unpredictable. You may also develop heavier bleeding.
Despite its name, you may or may not develop multiple ovarian cysts. If cysts develop, you may experience a dull ache or pelvic pain.
About 70% of women with PCOS develop hirsutism, which is excessive hair growth on their face, chest, upper thighs, or abdomen. High levels of androgens may also cause acne.
The hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS can affect many parts of your body, increasing your risk for ongoing health problems, such as:
When you have PCOS, your ovaries may stop releasing eggs or you may ovulate randomly, which causes infertility.
PCOS is associated with high levels of insulin and insulin resistance, which increases your risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Metabolic syndrome includes a group of conditions, such as high blood sugar, hypertension, high cholesterol, and excess fat around your waist. Having just one of these conditions increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, but the more you have, the higher your chances.
The team at Westmoreland Obstetrics and Gynecologic Associates take a whole-person approach when treating PCOS. They develop treatment plans that combine various lifestyle and medical options, depending on what each patient’s individual needs. PCOS causes diverse problems and each one requires different treatment and customized care.
If you have irregular periods or notice excessive hair growth, call Westmoreland Obstetrics and Gynecologic Associates or schedule an appointment online for a complete evaluation.