8 Important Facts Every Woman Should Know About Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

If you’re unfamiliar with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you’re not alone. Many women don’t know much about it, although it affects as many as 10% of those of childbearing age. And, unfortunately, women with PCOS, which can interfere with fertility, may not realize they have the condition until they try to get pregnant.

To make sure you understand this lifelong health condition, your health care providers at Virtuosa GYN in San Antonio, Texas, would like to share some helpful information about PCOS. Here are eight important facts about this condition.

Fact #1: Hormonal imbalances cause PCOS

The ovaries or adrenal glands of women with PCOS produce more male hormones than normal. PCOS can cause multiple fluid-filled cysts in the ovaries, which can affect how the ovaries work.

Fact #2: PCOS can lead to reproductive problems

Women with PCOS may have trouble getting pregnant. In fact, PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility in women. PCOS may prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs.

Fact #3: PCOS is linked to a variety of health problems

Compared with women who don’t have PCOS, women with the condition have higher rates of Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, unhealthy cholesterol, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, and endometrial cancer.  

Women with PCOS often experience insulin resistance, which means their bodies can’t use insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose from your blood into your cells. Insulin resistance is linked to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Fact #4: PCOS can cause a range of different symptoms.

Some of the symptoms of PCOS include:

Irregular menstrual cycles

Compared with women who don’t have PCOS, you may have fewer periods, you may skip or miss periods, your periods may come more often, or you may stop having periods completely.

Excess hair or thinning hair

The hormone imbalances of PCOS can cause excess hair to grow on a woman’s face or chin, or elsewhere on her body. Alternately, women with PCOS may experience hair loss, thinning of their hair, or male-pattern baldness.

Weight gain

Women with PCOS may gain extra weight, and they may have more trouble than other women losing weight.

Skin problems

PCOS can cause acne on your face, chest, or upper back. It can also lead to darkening of the skin on your neck, beneath your breasts, and in your groin area. Skin tags, which are tiny flaps of extra skin, may develop on your neck or in your armpits.

Fact #5: Women with PCOS often don’t know they have it

Although PCOS can show up at any time after a woman goes through puberty, many women don’t realize they have it until they discover they can’t get pregnant in their 20s or 30s.

Fact #6: Any woman can get PCOS

Women of all races and ethnicities develop PCOS, but the risk of PCOS goes up for women who have another family member, such as a mother, aunt, or sister, with the condition.

PCOS is also more likely to occur in obese women, although it’s unclear whether obesity causes PCOS or vice versa.

Fact #7: Treatment can help women with PCOS get pregnant

Although PCOS is a common cause of infertility, it is treatable, and many women with PCOS go on to have healthy babies. Treatment options for women with PCOS-related infertility include:

Fact #8: If you have PCOS, you can find help

Your care providers at Virtuosa GYN can talk with you about the best treatment for PCOS-related symptoms. Medications, hormones, and lifestyle changes may help ease many symptoms. We can also treat infertility caused by PCOS. Call today for an appointment or book one online through this website.

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