When you’re in your childbearing years, the health of your ovaries can be of concern. You may have heard of polycystic ovaries, and be wondering “Do I have PCOS?”
Infrequent or irregular menstrual periods are the most common symptom of PCOS. For example, you may only have eight or nine periods in a year, or go 35 to 40 days between cycles. Some women experience abnormally heavy periods in addition to or instead of irregularity of cycle.
Clearly, there are many reasons a woman might put on some weight, so don’t assume it’s due to polycystic ovaries. That said, if you’re gaining weight around the midsection, rather than elsewhere, and if it’s proving hard to lose that weight, it could be a symptom of polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Excess Facial Hair
Many women with PCOS find themselves growing facial hair in places they’d rather not find it … the chin, face, or other parts of the body where men usually are hairy. What’s behind this is the unusually high levels of male hormones, called androgens, present in women with PCOS.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome can also cause acne on the face, chest or back, thinning hair or male pattern baldness, or darkened areas of the skin, particularly in areas with creases, like along the neck or under the breasts. PCOS can also lead to difficulty falling pregnant.
How To Tell If I Have PCOS
When asking yourself that question of ‘Do I have PCOS?’, remember that despite all of these fairly clear symptoms, there is no way to self-diagnose a case of PCOS. You’ll need to see your doctor for a definitive diagnosis. A blood test to measure hormones, as well as a physical exam, will help your doctor determine the cause for your symptoms.
Treatments For PCOS
Treatment for PCOS is about managing the symptoms. Firstline management is always lifestyle – diet, exercise and weight control. Following this hormonal control of the irregular periods and the effects of high male hormone can be considered. It is possible to conceive with PCOS but you may need some help.
I’d be happy to discuss your concerns around PCOS more thoroughly in person, if you’d like. Book an appointment with me.