As part of PCOS awareness month, I am going to be writing a couple of posts on PCOS and how it can affect individuals.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is thought to affect approximately 5-10% of women of reproductive age – so every 1 in 20 to 1 in 10 women. Of these, as many as 30% do not actually have PCO (Polycystic Ovaries) as a symptom (I would be an example of this). Of course this is not a definitive number, as many women go undiagnosed for years. For example, I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 24, and this was after 10 months of investigation. Some women can also just have PCO without any other symptom of PCOS.
There are many symptoms of PCOS, some are visible to other people, some are not.
- absent or irregular periods
- no ovulation/infrequent ovulation
- high levels of testosterone
- being overweight or obese
- excess hair
- depression/mood swings
- cysts on the ovary/ies
I think I may have PCOS, what should I do?
Go to see your GP, and explain your symptoms. If they rule out other problems and agree with you, they will probably send you for tests such as blood tests and an ultrasound scan. If you are then diagnosed with PCOS, you may be referred to a specialist.
Yes it can, both through self help (eating a healthy balanced diet, exercise, managing stress levels, and various hair removal methods for excess hair) and medical help (such as the contraceptive pill, metformin, and fertility medicines such as clomifene (also known as clomid). In other cases, surgery may be required). The thing to remember is that although it can be treated, it cannot be cured.
- type II diabetes
- high blood pressure
- weight gain
The good thing is, that infertility caused by PCOS can be treated in many cases, and couples can come away with a perfectly healthy baby. Unfortunately, some are not so lucky. This will be covered in another blog post.