What is PCOS Awareness Month?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 10% of women, but half of the women with the syndrome don’t know they have it. This is a problem because PCOS is associated with an increased risk of health problems, including infertility. Our Virginia fertility center recognizes PCOS Awareness Month to help those affected by PCOS lead healthier lives and achieve their family-building goals.
Learn about the syndrome during PCOS Awareness Month
PCOS is a disorder that affects the way a woman’s body regulates insulin and androgens. Insulin helps regulate a person’s blood sugar. Androgens impact the body’s secondary sexual characteristics. Many women with PCOS have higher levels of both insulin and androgens in their bodies. These elevated hormone levels cause the symptoms of PCOS.
- Irregular periods. Excess androgens can disrupt the balance of estrogen, progesterone and other female hormones that trigger a natural menstrual cycle and ovulation.
- Infertility. When the menstrual cycle is disrupted by an imbalance of hormones, the ovaries may not release mature eggs that can be fertilized.
- Polycystic ovaries. Eggs that only partially mature remain in cysts in the ovaries and can be identified on a transvaginal ultrasound.
- Insulin resistance. Insulin helps cells turn food into energy. High levels of insulin in the blood can indicate that the body’s cells are not as receptive to insulin as they should be. This means it takes more insulin than it should to get cells to absorb glucose for energy.
- Hirsutism. Excess androgens can cause women to develop hair on the face or body.
The hormonal imbalances of PCOS can cause greater disruption in the body over time. PCOS is associated with weight gain, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety and endometrial cancer. Pregnant women with PCOS also have a greater risk of pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes, miscarriage and premature birth.
The team at our Virginia fertility center wants to emphasize during PCOS Awareness Month that the symptoms of PCOS can be managed. By losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, reducing simple carbohydrates in the diet and using hormone therapies, women with PCOS can overcome infertility and many of the other symptoms of the disorder.
To learn more about PCOS, schedule an appointment with our office today.