You’ve probably heard of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but what are some of the symptoms, and what is the best treatment for PCOS?
First things first: PCOS is a common hormonal disorder that affects around one in ten reproductive-age women. While scientists still aren’t sure what causes PCOS, what they do know is that you could be more likely to have it if it runs in your family, if you are overweight (that’s a body mass index above 25 kg/m2), or if you have insulin resistance.
There are a number of symptoms associated with PCOS, but the main three are:
- Irregular or missed periods
- A high level of “male” hormones, called androgens (which can cause excessive hair growth on the body and face, as well as acne and thinning of hair on the head)
- Polycystic ovaries, which occur when small fluid-filled sacs, called cysts, develop on the ovaries
Confusingly, despite the name, you don’t always develop polycystic ovaries with PCOS. Instead, a medical professional may diagnose you with PCOS if you exhibit two of the above three symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for PCOS, and if you’ve been diagnosed with the condition, it’s completely understandable to feel upset or concerned about your health. However, please be assured that there are numerous treatment options available (whether you’re trying to conceive or not) that can help to control your symptoms.
Information is power, so to arm you with as many details as possible, we’ve taken a closer look at each PCOS symptom along with the treatments available. We’ve also spoken to Dr. Jennifer Boyle — an OB-GYN (obstetrician and gynecologist) with over 15 years’ experience — to break down everything you need to know about each.