PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Treatment in Elizabethtown KY

What is PCOS?

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is the most common endocrine disorder in females. There are various signs and symptoms that women can experience. PCOS cannot be diagnosed with one test alone and symptoms may appear differently from female to female. Early diagnosis of PCOS is crucial since it has been linked to an increased risk of developing several metabolic diseases such as diabetes and high cholesterol. While the name indicates “cysts in the ovaries”, this is a misnomer. About 50% of patients have cysts in their ovaries. This Syndrome is all about “insulin resistance” and a significant hormonal imbalance that all play off of each other.

Common Symptoms

  • Irregular menstrual cycles (oligomenorrhea)
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Hirsutism- excess hair growth on face and body
  • Sleep apnea
  • High cholesterol and high triglycerides
  • Darkened patches of skin (acanthosis nigricans)
  • Multiple follicles (cysts) on the ovaries
  • Increase in stress levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Skin tags
  • Infertility
  • Fatigue
  • Thinning hair (male pattern balding)
  • Insulin resistance
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Pelvic pain
  • Depression (often requiring medication)
  • Anxiety (often requiring medication)
  • Decreased sex drive

Health Risks

  • Diabetes
  • Infertility
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Lipids
  • Apnea
  • Liver disease
  • Higher risk of endometrial cancer and breast cancer.
  • Higher risk of Gestational diabetes
  • 4 to 7 times higher risk of heart attacks
  • Higher rate of Miscarriages
  • High Blood Pressure or Hypertension
  • Obesity

This hormonal imbalance causes Insulin Resistance, which is also a prime indicator of PCOS. Females suffering from PCOS may experience high testosterone levels, which leads to other symptoms such as Hirsutism (excessive hair growth), male pattern baldness and acne. In addition, this increased level of testosterone can stop the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation). The hormonal imbalances can become quite complex, involving multiple hormones.

Most women and adolescents experience weight gain or obesity, while others may have issues gaining weight. Multiple follicles (cysts) on ovaries in a “string of pearls” pattern are also an indicator for PCOS, but do not always appear is all cases (only about 50%)

An estimated 7 million women and adolescent girls are affected by PCOS, with less than 50% diagnosed. PCOS is responsible for 70% of infertility issues in women who have difficulty ovulating. Teens and post-menopausal women can also suffer from PCOS. This is often not diagnosed and sets the younger female up for very significant long term health problems and risk of cancers.

Studies have shown that approximately 40% of patients with diabetes between the ages of 20-50 may have PCOS. In addition, some studies have found that if a mother has PCOS, there is a 50% chance that her daughter will have PCOS.

With an early diagnosis and proper education, treatment can help adolescents and women lower their risk factors and live a happy, healthier life

If you noticed a severe recent change in behavior in the teen years, I always recommend testing for PCOS. There may be no outside signs, but significant and “way out of norm” change in behavior, CAN be associated with the significant hormonal imbalances and can be treated.

Dr. Hargan is passionate about diagnosing and treating PCOS, as it is a significant problem that frequently goes undiagnosed, but is readily treatable and can make a profound life change.

Contact our office to find out about testing and treatment.

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