Do you have a history of irregular or missed periods or ovarian cysts? Do you struggle with unexplained weight gain, excessive body hair on your face, belly or back, or severe acne? Do your mother or sister have a condition called PCOS?
The ob/gyn doctors at Health Central Women’s Care Dallas urge you to seek help in identifying the underlying cause of these red flags, particularly when symptoms emerge in the teen years.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone imbalance that affects 10% of women of childbearing age. An elevated level of male sex hormones (including testosterone) negatively impacts the ovarian function of maturing and releasing eggs every month. This, of course, makes it difficult for a woman to get pregnant.
Birth control pills that regulate a woman’s cycle and control benign ovarian cysts can mask the signs of PCOS. This is dangerous because in addition to contributing to infertility, PCOS also significantly raises a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer. In addition, because of associated insulin resistance, PCOS can contribute to the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
How Does an Ob/Gyn Treat PCOS?
- If a patient with PCOS decides to get pregnant, our ob/gyns may prescribe fertility medications to regulate ovulation.
- Once it is determined that no insulin resistance exists, we may prescribe oral contraceptives to help control acne, excessive facial hair, and to regulate the menstrual cycle.
- Androgen-lowering medications can also help resolve unpleasant PCOS symptoms.
- Obesity contributes to PCOS and female infertility; so Health Central Women’s Care physicians and nurses counsel patients on a heart-healthy diet, exercise regimen, and lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation.
Before you begin a long-term course of therapy on birth control pills, talk with your ob/gyn about your risk for PCOS. A gynecologic exam at Health Central Women’s Care Dallas and discussion about family history can help rule out this hormonal imbalance and set your mind at ease.