PCOS can be hard to treat, but North Scottsdale Women's Care is here to help.
PCOS is a common hormonal disorder that affects people with ovaries. It is characterized by an imbalance in sex hormones, specifically elevated levels of androgens (male hormones) in relation to estrogen and progesterone. PCOS often leads to irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, and a range of symptoms that can include acne, hirsutism (excessive hair growth), and difficulties with fertility.
Common symptoms of PCOS include irregular or absent menstrual periods, heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, acne, hirsutism (excessive facial and body hair growth), weight gain or difficulty losing weight, and hair thinning on the scalp. Many individuals with PCOS also experience mood changes and may have difficulty conceiving.
The exact cause of PCOS is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Insulin resistance, a condition in which the body's cells do not respond effectively to insulin, is often associated with PCOS. This can lead to elevated insulin levels, which in turn can stimulate the ovaries to produce more androgens.
To find out if you have PCOS, doctors usually look at your medical history, do a physical exam, check your hormone levels with blood tests (like testosterone and insulin), and use a pelvic ultrasound to see your ovaries. To get a PCOS diagnosis, you usually need to show signs like irregular periods and higher levels of certain hormones or ovarian cysts.
Treatment for PCOS is tailored to individual needs and goals. It may include lifestyle modifications, such as weight management through diet and exercise, hormonal birth control to regulate menstrual cycles and control androgen levels, and medications to manage insulin resistance. Fertility treatments, such as ovulation-inducing medications or assisted reproductive technologies, are options for those trying to conceive. Management also involves addressing specific symptoms, such as acne or excess hair growth, through medications or other interventions.