PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is an endocrine disorder that affects 5 million women in the U.S.
Our gynecologists have the expertise and experience to diagnose and treat polycystic ovary syndrome. This condition usually occurs during a woman’s reproductive years, but it can affect girls as young as 11. Physicians and researchers haven’t determined exactly what causes PCOS, but they have attributed the condition to several factors working together, including: insulin-resistance, which may be linked to the body’s higher production of androgens, or male hormones; hereditary factors; and inflammation.
Symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome
PCOS causes various symptoms, and each woman’s experience may vary. Women with PCOS may experience:
- Irregular or infrequent periods or a complete cessation of menses
- Excessive hair growth or hirsutism, which occurs on the chest, stomach, face or other areas of the body usually associated with male hair growth
- Hair loss
- Moderate or severe acne
- Obesity or weight gain
- Acanthosis ingrains—black or brown, velvety textured, thickened skin patches
- Pelvic pain
- Multiple ovarian cysts
- Problems with infertility
No tests exist that specifically detect and diagnose PCOS, so the skill and knowledge of your physician is particularly important when you seek a diagnosis. Our Grapevine gynecologists have the necessary experience to conduct a thorough diagnostic process.
After taking a complete medical history, our physicians perform a physical examination, and may proceed with blood work or tests such as a pelvic ultrasound to determine whether ovarian cysts or other signs of PCOS are present. In particular, we look for important symptoms such as elevated androgen levels, menstrual irregularities and polycystic, enlarged ovaries.
Our gynecologists create individualized treatment plans
Every woman with PCOS is unique, and her symptoms require individualized treatment plans. Our gynecologists may recommend a plan that combines different treatment options.
- Combined hormonal birth control pills, which contain both estrogen and progesterone—These pills address symptoms such as menstrual irregularities, acne, hair growth and excess male hormones, or androgens.
- Drugs used to treat diabetes, such as Metformin—This helps address insulin-resistance and can improve ovulation.
- Lifestyle changes—Weight loss and a healthy diet plan that leads to at least a 5% weight loss can help with PCOS symptoms.
Women need to address the symptoms of PCOS as soon as possible because the condition, left untreated, creates several health risks.
- Increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke and endometrial cancer
- Risk for metabolic syndrome
- Endometrial hyperplasia, a condition that causes a thickened uterine lining
- Infertility due to the annovulation (ovulation fails to occur)
Our gynecologists diagnose and treat PCOS with compassion and care. If you suspect you may have this condition, contact us for an appointment.