PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, also known as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome, is one of the most common hormonal endocrine disorders in women. Early diagnosis of PCOS is important as it has been linked to an increased risk for developing several medical risks including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The good news is that early diagnosis and proper education can help women lower all these risk factors and live a happy, healthier life.
- 5-10% of women of childbearing age are affected by PCOS, with less than 50% of women diagnosed.
- PCOS is responsible for 70% of infertility issues in women who have difficulty ovulating.
- Post menopausal women can also suffer from PCOS.
- Studies have shown that approximately 40% of patients with diabetes and/or glucose intolerance between the ages of 20-50 have PCOS.
- Studies have found that if a mother has PCOS, there is a 50% chance that her daughter will have PCOS.
There is no single test to diagnose PCOS. Only a doctor can test for it, but some common signs and symptoms to look for are:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Weight gain
- Difficulty losing weight
- Excess hair growth on face and body
- Darkened patches of skin
- Skin tags
- Thinning hair
- Insulin resistance
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High cholesterol and high triglycerides
- High blood pressure
- Cysts on the ovaries (multiple)
- Pelvic pain
- Sleep apnea
- Decreased sex drive
- Increase in stress levels
Because there is no cure for PCOS, medical management and lifestyle modification are the best ways to treat the syndrome. Medical treatment should be based on your symptoms and goals. Treatment can depend on whether a woman is considering pregnancy, is menopausal, or does not want to conceive.
- Birth control pills
- Metformin (Glucophase)
- Fertility medications
- Surgery or procedures
- Medications for increased hair growth or extra male hormone
- Lifestyle modifications
- Weight loss
- Other treatments for symptoms such as facial hair, depression, or sleep apnea
Read more about PCOS online at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/polycystic-ovary-syndrome.html
If you have concerns or are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Strebel or Dr. Grolle. They can answer your questions and request the appropriate tests for you.