What Is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder found in otherwise healthy women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS rarely ovulate on their own, which often leads to infertility.
When it was first discovered in the 1930s, doctors believed PCOS occurred only in obese women who didn’t have periods and presented symptoms of acne and excess hair growth. Today, we know that’s not the case. PCOS can affect women at any size, from overweight to average to thin. Symptoms vary widely and can be subtle.
Symptoms may include:
- Irregular, infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods
- Elevated levels of insulin
- High levels of male hormone (androgen), which may cause acne and excess body hair
- Enlarged ovaries that contain multiple small cysts (polycystic), which may look like a “string of pearls” on an ultrasound
To determine if you have PCOS, our expert physicians will take down your complete history, check your hormone levels, and use an ultrasound to detect any cysts on your ovaries.
We’ll also do tests to rule out other conditions that mimic PCOS, such as thyroid abnormalities, high prolactin levels, primary ovarian failure (which leads to premature menopause) or diabetes.
How It’s Treated
For women trying to get pregnant, ovulation-inducing medications such as Clomid or Letrozole can stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs on their own. We may also prescribe drugs like Metformin to lower your insulin levels. Hormonal birth control is the easiest way to regulate periods in women who are not trying to conceive.
While being overweight is not necessarily an indication of PCOS, women who are obese are at higher risk for complications. Losing 10% of your body weight has been shown to “reset” hormone and insulin levels, which may naturally regulate your period and ovulation cycles.
If you are having irregular periods and can’t get pregnant on your own, contact us to find out more about PCOS. We’ll do a complete evaluation to determine the best treatment for you. Contact us at (502) 897-2144 or email us.