PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is the result of too much testosterone being produced in a woman’s ovaries. The hormonal imbalance causes a disruption of the menstrual cycle and can lead to unwanted side effects like excessive weight gain, acne, growth of body hair and facial hair, even hair thinning or hair loss (head).
Unfortunately, women with PCOS can also develop very serious health problems if they do not receive proper treatment for their condition. The first is the development of cysts on the ovaries. These cysts develop when eggs prepare to be released but are not given the right hormones at the right time. Essentially, the eggs become confused and little fluid-filled sacs develop on the ovaries. These cysts can become painful, can further lead to menstrual problems, and can even shut down ovary function all together.
Women who have PCOS will also find they gain weight very easily. Despite diet and exercise, the weight keeps coming on. It is incredibly frustrating for these women who make a huge effort to eat healthy and stay active but cannot lose weight. Especially in our society where being overweight is shamed, larger women are oftentimes treated poorly or teased for how they look. This can lead to self-esteem issues and depression which I consider very serious issues.
Another issue women with PCOS face is risk of diabetes. Diabetes.org suggests that there is a relationship between androgens and insulin which needs to be taken very seriously. PCOS tends to cause high glucose levels, so it is incredibly important for women who suspect they have PCOS or have a confirmed diagnosis to get in touch with a nutritionist or dietitian and learn how to manage glucose levels and prevent diabetes. Additionally women with PCOS have higher rates of developing gestational diabetes.
If you suspect you have PCOS please do not delay getting treatment. My office is here to help.