Understanding polycystic syndrome (PCOS) is complicated. It affects your menstrual cycle and has some strange symptoms. Many women actually have PCOS, yet have never been diagnosed. It’s possible one of them could be you.
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.
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:
- Select whole fruits like bananas or mangos
- Potatoes, corn, and other starch-filled vegetables
- Beer or juice
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:
- 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.