Polycystic ovary syndrome can disrupt your life in a number of ways. Not only does it affect your menstrual cycles, but it also makes it hard for you to conceive a child — a scenario that can be devastating. So what can you do to manage your symptoms so you can get your life back on track?
At New England Women’s Healthcare, our team is here to help you tackle your PCOS symptoms by getting you the treatment you need. Our team of doctors not only helps you understand your diagnosis, but gives you the tools to overcome PCOS so you can take hold of your life.
PCOS: What is it?
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a disorder that affects your hormones and your menstrual cycle. This disorder causes your body to produce higher-than-normal levels of male hormones like testosterone, which in turn causes you to skip your periods for months at a time. It also leads to other symptoms, such as:
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Heavy bleeding
- Irregular cycles
PCOS affects your ovaries, causing fluid-filled cysts to form. These cysts lead to pain and infertility in some cases. If it’s left untreated, PCOS also leads to other medical conditions, like diabetes and heart disease.
It’s not completely understood what causes PCOS, but certain conditions like inflammation and genetics could be contributing factors.
Diagnosing this disorder
PCOS is sometimes hard to diagnose, since the symptoms are often vague, and other outside factors can also contribute to your symptoms.
At your appointment, our doctors ask you questions about your symptoms so they get a clear picture of what’s going on. After getting a detailed history, they also perform a pelvic exam to check for abnormalities.
If they suspect that you’re suffering from PCOS, our doctors may also recommend bloodwork to check your hormone levels. Your bloodwork includes tests that look for higher levels of male hormones, along with tests to check for other hormonal abnormalities.
Because PCOS also can lead to diabetes and heart disease, your bloodwork may also include tests to check for diabetes and high cholesterol.
A transvaginal ultrasound is another test that helps our doctors determine if PCOS is behind your symptoms. The ultrasound shows the lining of your uterus and your ovaries, and identifies any problems such as ovarian cysts. It also measures the thickness of the lining in your uterus.
If any or all of these tests point toward PCOS as the culprit to your symptoms, our doctors discuss treatment options to help you get your body back on track.
Treatments that help
PCOS is not a curable disorder, but lifestyle changes and certain medications can help to manage your symptoms.
If you’re overweight, shedding some pounds can significantly help you manage your PCOS. A healthy diet can help you lose weight, and also helps lower your chances of developing diabetes or high cholesterol.
Along with these lifestyle modifications, our doctors may also recommend hormonal birth control to help you regulate any hormonal imbalances. The birth control usually is a combination of both estrogen and progesterone to help your cycle become more regular.
When PCOS has caused infertility, medications that stimulate ovulation can make it easier for you to conceive.
If you’ve been dealing with PCOS, a combination of these treatments can help to get your cycle back on track, and your symptoms under control.
Are you worried you’re suffering from PCOS symptoms? If so, you can make an appointment with us by calling our offices in Woburn or Wilmington, Massachusetts, at 781-787-3003. You can also request an appointment online with our booking tool.