Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Treatment in Santa Monica, CA
In addition to the female hormones estrogen and progesterone , the ovaries produce small amounts of male hormones. In some instances, the ovaries produce larger quantities of these chemicals, leading to a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome.
This condition affects one out of 15 women generally in their 20s or 30s, although in some cases the symptoms may begin in the teen years or as soon as a girl begins menstruating .
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can lead to a number of symptoms that include:
- An irregular menstrual cycle
- Unwanted hair growth on the face, chest, belly, or nipples
- A thinning of the hair on the head
- Acne breakouts
- Weight gain
- Numerous small cysts along the outer edge of the ovaries. This tell-tale symptom is also what lends PCOS its name.
Medical professionals are still uncertain as to what the causes of PCOS are, but the condition is most likely genetic, passed down from mother to daughter.
What to Look For
The most common sign of PCOS in very young women is an infrequent menstrual period, or no period whatsoever. This can begin at the onset of puberty if a girl experiences one or two regular cycles, and then her periods go away entirely. The periods may return, but they will fluctuate between very light to extremely heavy. They may also last longer than 35 days or disappear completely for four or more months.
Adult women suffering from PCOS may discover their condition when they find that they are unable to get pregnant. This is usually coupled with excessive weight gain. The reason for fertility problems is due to the fact that increased levels of male hormones make it difficult for the ovaries to release eggs.
Diagnosis and Treatment
When diagnosing PCOS, doctors look for two of the three main symptoms:
- Abnormal menstruations
- Unwanted body and facial hair, or a loss of scalp hair due to an excess of male hormones
- Multiple cysts on the ovaries
Your doctor will likely perform a visual pelvic exam, a blood to check your hormone levels, and a vaginal ultrasound to seek out cysts on the ovaries.
Before your visit, it is recommended to keep a log of your symptoms, as well as a list of any medications or supplements you may be taking.
PCOS treatment plans usually include a balance of healthy eating and exercise along with hormone therapy and specific care for individual symptoms.
If you are showing any symptoms of PCOS, do not hesitate to contact a health care professional. If left untreated, PCOS can lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. An increase of male hormones in a woman's body will also hinder the use of insulin which raises blood sugar levels, putting you at a higher risk for developing diabetes .
Vitality Integrative Medicine
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