PCOS is not quite so much of a mouthful as the official name “polycystic ovarian syndrome.” PCOS affects approximately 3 million American women each year. Often first diagnosed in the teens, PCOS can decrease fertility and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. PCOS can be treated at Genesis Women’s Health Services in Victorville and is usually a long-term condition.
It’s the Hormones
PCOS is a hormonal disorder. Men and women both produce androgens ( male sex hormones like testosterone) but women usually produce it in small amounts. Women in the High Desert with PCOS have an excessive amount of androgens. Although the exact cause is unknown, PCOS seems to have a hereditary component and often runs in families. Excess insulin – the hormone that regulates blood sugar – may increase the production of testosterone. Low-grade inflammation may also be a factor.
All About Symptoms
The symptoms of PCOS usually begin soon after a woman first begins having periods but can develop during the reproductive years. Irregular periods are the most common characteristic. In most cases a woman in Victorville with PCOS has fewer periods than the usual one a month. Periods may be scant or heavy. Elevated androgens may cause excess facial or body hair, male-pattern baldness or acne. The ovaries become enlarged, and the eggs in the ovary are surrounded by small fluid-filled sacs called cysts.
Making a Diagnosis
To diagnose PCOS, Dr. Wilburn will perform a physical exam and obtain a medical history. She will order lab work to confirm hormonal levels and an ultrasound to visualize the ovaries. Treatment usually includes weight loss and medications to balance your hormones. Birth control pills or other contraceptive medications are used to regulate your periods and relieve symptoms. Oral medications for diabetes can help you lose weight and regulate your blood sugar. Medications are also available to help reduce androgens and excessive hair growth. If your objective is to become pregnant, different medications may also be helpful.