Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition caused by hormonal imbalances in the body. In recent years, research has shown that PCOS is what’s described as a multisystem disorder – but the primary issue is the poor regulation of hormones by the hypothalamus (a small part of the brain that’s responsible for helping to manage both your hormones and your nervous system).
The most common (and notorious) symptoms of PCOS are the cysts that can develop along the outer edges of your ovaries. These cysts are filled with fluid and contain immature eggs. However, there are a number of other symptoms which can affect women in many different ways. There are also a multitude of ways to treat polycystic ovary syndrome!
Keep reading for more details…
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
As we mentioned, the main symptoms of polycystic ovaries are the fluid filled cysts that develop around your ovaries. The other main features of PCOS include irregular periods, due to the fact that your ovaries are not regularly releasing eggs each month, as well as excess androgen. Androgen is a “male” hormone, and high levels in women can result in physical signs such as excess facial or bodily hair.
There are a variety of other symptoms of polycystic ovaries, which many people also experience:
As well as irregular periods, many women will find they experience no periods at all.
Women may find they have difficulty getting pregnant due to the irregularity of their ovulation – if you’re experiencing this, talk to a medical professional for help and advice!
Some women experience weight gain or have trouble with losing weight due to PCOS.
Hair loss, or thinning hair on your head can also be a symptom of polycystic ovaries (although it’s worth noting that this can be a symptom of lots of different conditions).
Oily skin or problems with acne have also been reported as symptoms of polycystic ovaries.
If you relate to several of the symptoms that we’ve listed (especially the more major ones, like irregular periods, and physical signs of excess androgen), it might be helpful to speak to a doctor about a PCOS diagnosis – you can book a consultation with us here!
Is PCOS treatable?
There’s a lot of fear and misunderstanding centered around PCOS. Obviously, it’s a serious condition, and should be treated as such, but if you are diagnosed, it’s not the end of your life!
“A lot of women hear a PCOS diagnosis and then immediately think ‘infertile’. While it’s true that polycystic ovaries can cause problems with fertility, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t ever be able to conceive. A diagnosis like this can feel very scary and isolating, but it doesn’t have to be. There are lots of ways you can treat PCOS, and you can start today, at home! If you’re not sure what to do or where to turn, come and see us, and we’ll support you every step of the way.”
Dr Sarah Cadwallader at the Marion Gluck Clinic
Where do I start?
The best approach to treating PCOS is multifaceted – many doctors will start by advising that patients ensure they are eating healthily and exercising regularly. This can help with the severity of some symptoms, and also ensures that you are staying healthy overall, as polycystic ovaries are often linked to other health conditions such as diabetes (due to the body’s excess production of insulin in reaction to the condition).
There are also medications that you can take to help deal with some of the symptoms, and at the Marion Gluck Clinic, we also use BHRT to treat polycystic ovaries. By using hormone treatment, we can combat the root of many of the symptoms, which is excess androgen in the body. Since everyone is different, and will have a different hormone profile, no two treatment plans will be exactly the same.
If you’re struggling with any (or all of) the symptoms we’ve mentioned in this blog, it’s possible you’re suffering with polycystic ovaries. Alternatively, if you’ve already been diagnosed, and you’re not happy with your current treatment, we might be able to help.
Get in touch with us today and book a consultation to speak to a specialist.