Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What is PCOS?

What is it?
PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian Disease affects an estimated 6-10% of all women and the majority of them don't even know they have it. It is a treatable condition, but it is not curable. It can be treated with medications, changes in diet and exercise. It is one of the leading causes of infertility in women, however it affects far more than just reproduction. It is not just a cosmetic problem, it is a true health problem.

What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom is irregular or absent periods (menses). Some of the other symptoms include numerous cysts on the ovaries, high blood pressure, acne, elevated insulin levels, Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, infertility, excess hair on the face and body, thinning of hair on the scalp (Alopecia), pelvic discomfort, and weight problems or obesity that is centered around your middle.

What do the cysts look like?
The many cysts in a polycystic ovary are follicles that have matured but, due to abnormal hormone levels, were never released. In a normal ovary, a single egg develops and is released each month. With PCOS, some of the follicles are immature but contain an egg, and others are empty. A polycystic ovary contains at least ten cysts just below the surface, and although each cyst only measures between two and eight millimeters, together they make the ovary enlarged. The covering of the ovary (the capsule) thickens, which makes release of the egg difficult.
Do I have PCOS?

One of the most important issues is determining whether or not you actually have PCOS. There are other endocrine disorders that are similar to PCOS, and it is important that you work with your doctor to determine if you have PCOS, or something else. If you have any of the symptoms above, contact your Gynecologist and let him know. He will most likely take a blood sample to check your hormone levels and may want you to have an ultrasound scan. Modern ultrasound is very sensitive and can detect even small cysts.

No comments: