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#24: “When “Her” Goes Wrong!: PCOS”

Updated: Mar 22, 2023


Morning Beauties and Happy #WomenWednesday anddddddd HAPPY 29TH BIRTHDAY TO ME!!! WOOOO HOOO!!! Thank you ladies for giving me your birthday shoutouts!! I love you all sooo much! But back into the health business though. We talked about ovarian cysts and different types of cysts last week. This week, we are going to be talking about one of the most UNpopular topics which is Polycystic Ovary (or Ovarian) Syndrome aka PCOS.

 

SO, WHAT IS PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common health problem caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones which causes problems in the ovaries. Remember how eggs are created in the ovaries? Well, with PCOS, the egg may not develop as it should or it may not be released during ovulation as it should be.

So, what is the CAUSE of them?

The exact cause of PCOS is NOT KNOWN. Most experts think that several factors, including genetics, play a role:

  • High levels of Androgens. Androgens are sometimes called “male hormones”, although all women make small amounts of androgens. Women with PCOS have more androgens than normal. Higher than normal androgen levels in women can prevent the ovaries form releasing an egg (ovulation) during each menstrual cycle, and can cause extra hair growth and acne, 2 signs of PCOS.

  • High levels of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls how the food you eat is changed into energy. Insulin resistance is when the body’s cells do not respond normally to insulin. As a result, your insulin blood levels become higher than normal. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, especially those who are overweight or obesity, have unhealthy eating habits, do not get enough physical activity, and have a family history of diabetes (usually type 2 diabetes). Over time, insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes.


GIRL, DID YOU KNOW?!

PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility in women


SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

  • Irregular menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS may miss periods or have fewer periods (fewer than eight in a year). Or, their periods may come every 21 days or more often. Some women PCOS stop having menstrual periods.

  • Too much hair on the face, chin, or part of the body where men usually have hair. This is called “hirsutism”. Hirsutism affects up to 70% of women with PCOS.

  • Acne on the face, chest, and upper back

  • Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp; male-pattern baldness

  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight

  • Darkening of skin, particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts

  • Skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area


RISK FACTORS

  • Between 5% and 10% of women between 15 and 44, or during the years you can have children, have PCOS. Most women find out they have PCOS in their 20s and 30s, where they have problems getting pregnant and see their doctor. But PCOS can happen at any age after puberty.

  • Women of all races and ethnicities are at risk of PCOS. Your risk of PCOS may be higher if you have obesity or if you have a mother, sister, or aunt with PCOS.


TREATMENT FOR PCOS?

There is no cure for PCOS, but you can manage the symptoms of PCOS. You and your doctor will work on a treatment plan based on your symptoms, your plans for having children, and your risk of long-term health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Many women will need a combination of treatments, including:


CAN I GET PREGNANT WITH PCOS?

YES! Having PCOS does not mean you can’t get pregnant. PCOS is one of the most common, but treatable, causes of infertility in women. In women with PCOS, the hormonal imbalance interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). If you don’t ovulate, you can’t get pregnant. Your doctor can talk with you about ways to help you ovulate and to raise your chance of getting pregnant. You can also use the Ovulation Calculator (go to womenshealth.gov) to see which days in your menstrual cycle you are most likely to be fertile. However, PCOS can cause problems during pregnancy for you and for your baby. Women with PCOS have higher rates of: Miscarriage, Gestational diabetes, Preeclampsia, and Cesarean section (C-section).


**For MORE awesome information, please check out womenshealth.gov! They have great insights and explanation for those who are diagnosed with PCOS.


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