Author: VA Womens Health

5 Signs of PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome, abbreviated as PCOS, is a female hormone disorder. This syndrome is caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones, which can lead to many issues involving the ovaries.

Common PCOS Struggles

The biggest difficulty that most ladies face with PCOS is the inability to become pregnant. Not every person with polycystic ovary syndrome will be unable to become pregnant, but it is a possibility if PCOS keeps your ovaries from releasing eggs (ovulating).

PCOS is actually a very common condition that affects millions of women, but approximately half of them are not even aware that they have it. Much of this confusion has to do with a lack of knowledge surrounding symptoms that specifically point to polycystic ovary syndrome, which is why you should pay careful attention to the next few paragraphs below.

Irregular or Heavy Periods

Lots of women have imperfect periods, but if your period is often late or has a really heavy flow, then it could be a sign of PCOS. These irregularities happen because the syndrome is preventing your body from ovulating, which can really throw your menstrual cycle off schedule.

Carb Cravings

We all crave junk food on a fairly frequent basis. However, if you have PCOS then you may begin to notice that you desire foods that are especially high in carbohydrates, such as:

  • Pasta
  • Select whole fruits like bananas or mangos
  • Yogurt
  • Potatoes, corn, and other starch-filled vegetables
  • Beer or juice

Constant Fatigue

If you often feel tired, even after getting a recommended 8 or more hours of sleep, then this could be another hallmark of PCOS.

Sleep apnea is another symptom of this condition, which is characterized by a breathing interruption that you experience while asleep. This pause in breathing can be particularly dangerous, as it prevents your brain from receiving necessary amounts of oxygen.

More Male Hormones

Because PCOS affects the way your hormones work, it can occasionally lead to a decrease in feminine hormones like estrogen, and increase masculine hormones like testosterone.

Many individuals will see this symptom present itself in new facial hair to areas such as the lip, chin, or sideburns. Such hormone imbalances can also cause the onset of adult acne, as well as thinning hair that is consistent with male-pattern baldness.

Additional Health Concerns

Along with troublesome conditions like acne and sleep apnea, many women with polycystic ovary syndrome also fall victim to other common health issues like:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol

The Good News

Although there is no cure for PCOS, there are many ways in which you and your OBGYN at Virginia Women’s Health Associates can work together to find suitable solutions for you and your lifestyle. Lots of the conditions associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (adult acne, high blood pressure, and even infertility) are extremely treatable using healthy habits and prescription medications.

To speak with a specialist at Virginia Women’s Health Associates about your PCOS concerns, please call (703) 435-2555 and schedule your appointment today. 

 

How Heat Can Affect Your Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, summertime may not be your best friend.

You already know how uncomfortable you feel even with the AC cranked up, and how quickly any kind of activity wears you out. You are familiar with the humidity and the hot temperatures, but be aware also that the heat of summer can result in many unhealthy effects for you and your baby.

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How to Prevent Prenatal Infections

Pregnancy is a joyful time for moms-to-be, but as you decorate the nursery and plan for the baby’s arrival, don’t forget to take precautions to prevent prenatal infections. They can be dangerous for both mother and baby.

Talk to your physician at Virginia Women’s Health Associates about neonatal infections and stay aware of how to prevent any infections that can harm you or your child.

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Breast Cancer Risk Testing: Is the BRCA Test Right for You?

You may have seen the term “BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 testing” being used on the internet in regard to breast cancer, but are you unsure about what it means? The simple explanation is this: BRCA1 and BRCA 2 are genes that help repair damaged DNA. Damaged DNA can lead to tumor growth. When either of these genes do not function properly, cells are more likely to develop genetic alterations that can lead to cancer.

It is possible to test for BRCA 1 & 2 mutations, but is it necessary for you? Having all of the information can help you make an informed decision.

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July is Uterine Fibroids Awareness Month

As common as uterine fibroids are, it was only a matter of time before a month was dedicated to it in an effort to help raise awareness, research, and funding. If you’re not familiar with the condition, you may be surprised to learn that by age 50, as many as 70% of white females and 80% of African American females have had fibroids. And if you are familiar with it, you most likely know there are many powerful and successful treatment options available to conquer the condition.

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Could My Infertility be Caused by Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a much more prevalent issue than many people might think. In fact, fewer than 1/3 of women know what endometriosis is, despite it affecting approximately one out of every ten women in the United States. 

Endometriosis occurs when uterine tissue begins to grow outside of the uterus. Because this tissue responds to a woman’s menstrual cycle, symptoms can be confused with period pain. Since the tissue has no way of leaving the body, lesions, scar tissue and inflammation can occur. All of these symptoms could potentially lead to infertility.

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