The Symptoms Of PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is not something you can or should ignore. If left untreated, the syndrome can cause diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. In order to avoid these risks, women must be treated for all the manifestations of this complicated, multifaceted condition.

Just Infertility?

While PCOS equals infertility in most people's minds, its effects and symptoms have much wider implications. Women who suffer from PCOS can expect to experience any or all of these symptoms:

*Insulin resistance or diabetes

*High blood pressure

*Obesity with much of the weight concentrated in the area of the waist

*Changes to the appearance such as patches of dark skin, excessive hair growth, and skin tags

*Persistent, severe, or late onset acne

*Higher rate for miscarriage

*Difficulty conceiving

*Chronic pelvic pain

*Ovarian cysts

*Irregular periods

*Heavy periods

*Spotting or staining

*Irregular or no ovulation (anovulation)

Any woman who experiences two or more of these symptoms should seek medical advice.

Diagnostic Tests

If your doctor suspects you may have PCOS, he will administer a general physical exam plus a pelvic examination. He will also order an ultrasound to check for the presence of ovarian cysts. Lab tests will be administered to determine your glucose levels and the levels of hormones such as testosterone. A high level of this male hormone in women is an indication of the presence of this condition. He will also want to see the ratio of LH:FSH or the luteinizing hormone in relation to the follicle stimulating hormone, since when the balance of these two are out of whack, there is the suggestion of PCOS. Even when all signs point to PCOS, your physician may still want to rule out other causes for abnormal results before making a final ruling.

Treatment Plan

Once PCOS is diagnosed, your physician will draw up an individualized treatment plan based on your symptoms. If you suffer from infertility, your physician may wish to treat you with clomiphene citrate or letrazole. Anti-adrogens, for instance spironolactone can be useful in treating symptoms such as male pattern baldness or acne. Meanwhile, patients suffering from insulin resistance must be treated with insulin-sensitizing medications, for instance Metformin.

In order to give you appropriate treatment, your doctor will need input from you regarding the symptoms you experience. It may be helpful to keep a symptom journal which you can share with your physician. After careful consideration of your symptoms, your doctor will best be able to offer appropriate measures by which your condition can be managed. This is the way to ensure the avoidance of serious complications.  

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