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Medical Offices of Manhattan

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, known as PCOS, is a hormonal issue that mostly impacts women of reproductive age. It makes the ovaries larger with small cysts and causes problems like irregular periods, extra male hormones, and insulin resistance. PCOS can lead to diabetes, heart problems, and infertility

What Are The Causes of PCOS?

PCOS results from genetic variations, family history, health conditions (like diabetes and obesity), and lifestyle factors. Genetic variants that affect hormones and androgen, or male sex hormone, production are linked to PCOS. If a family member has PCOS, your risk is higher due to shared genes and lifestyles. Conditions like diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle can also play a role in PCOS development.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can manifest with a range of symptoms, such as:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Excessive hair growth (hirsutism)
  • Acne
  • Hair thinning or baldness
  • Enlarged, polycystic ovaries
  • Insulin resistance
  • Weight gain
  • Skin issues
  • Difficulty getting pregnant (infertility)

What Are The Risk Factors of PCOS?

Some possible risk factors of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome are:

  • Genetics and Family History: This means if your close family members have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, you might be at higher risk too because it can run in families.
  • Obesity: If you’re carrying extra weight, especially around your belly, it could increase your chances of getting PCOS.
  • Insulin Issues: Some people with PCOS have trouble with insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar. This can make your body produce too much insulin, and that might be linked to PCOS.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: PCOS messes with your hormones, especially androgens, which are like male hormones. This can lead to various symptoms.

PCOS can look different from person to person, and it’s not the same for everyone.

How is PCOS Diagnosed?

Diagnosing PCOS involves looking at your health history, asking about your periods and fertility, checking for signs like extra hair growth and acne, and doing tests. These tests include blood work to measure hormones and an ultrasound to see your ovaries. Sometimes, they also consider other factors like insulin levels and weight. PCOS diagnosis and treatment are personal, so it’s best to talk to a healthcare pro for the right help.

What Are Possible Treatments For Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

PCOS treatment focuses on managing the problems that are concerning patient the most.

This includes reproductive problems (irregular menstrual cycle, infertility), metabolic abnormalities (obesity, insulin resistance, prediabetes) or male hormones excess (hirsutism and acne).

Specific treatment of PCOS includes lifestyle modification/weight loss along +/- medications.

Reproductive problems can be addressed with combination birth control pills to regulate menstrual cycle), or anti-estrogens and/or metformin to help you ovulate.

Metabolic abnormalities should be primarily addressed by low-calorie diet and moderate exercises with the help of registered dietitian. Even a mild weight reduction of 5% may positively affect your condition. Occasionally weight loss medications can be helpful to promote more sustainable weight loss.

Excessive hair growth and acne can improve from using combination birth control pills and/or antiandrogens.

Metformin is a medication widely used in PCOS. Its benefits include weight loss, reduction in insulin resistance, and prevention of diabetes.

Are There Preventative Steps or Measures To Avoid Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Preventative steps cannot completely avoid Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), but certain measures can help manage the condition and reduce risks. To reduce the risk or manage PCOS:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: By staying active and eating well, you can help your body manage PCOS better.
  • Eat Nutritious Foods: Include whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your diet to support your health.
  • Stay Active: Regular exercise can help with your weight and keep insulin levels in check.
  • Manage Stress: Techniques like meditation or yoga can help you cope with stress, which can impact PCOS.
  • Regular Check-ups: Keep an eye on your hormone levels with regular check-ups to catch any issues early.

While these lifestyle changes can help manage PCOS and lower your risk, it’s important to know that you can’t always prevent it entirely. Things like genetics and lifestyle choices play a role too. So, living a healthy life is key, and talking to your healthcare team for personalized advice is a smart move to manage PCOS effectively.

What Are The Risks If PCOS Is Left Untreated?

Untreated PCOS can result in complications like an increased risk of type 2 diabetes due to insulin resistance, cardiovascular problems, fertility issues from hormonal imbalances, and emotional impact due to physical symptoms. Early medical attention is essential to reduce these risks and improve overall health.

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Medical Offices of Manhattan is one of NYC's leading multi-specialty medical groups. Located in Midtown East, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Medical Offices of Manhattan specializes in Primary Care, Cardiology, Dermatology, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, and Podiatry. Medical Offices of Manhattan uses the most innovative methods... Learn More »