Your daily grind may cause you to ignore some subtle signs of health concerns most especially if there are no painful symptoms. For women, irregularities in your menstrual cycle can be your body’s way of telling you that something’s wrong. It’s easy to just shrug off missing your monthly visitor as a result of stress or weight gain—but it can also be a sign of a more serious health problem.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome or more commonly referred to as PCOS, is a hormonal disorder among women. Most women go through their lives not knowing that they have PCOS—until they try to get pregnant and find it difficult to conceive. Women diagnosed with PCOS usually have infrequent or longer menstrual periods which may lead to complications like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They are also at risk of developing other diseases like gestational diabetes, sleep apnea, depression, and cancer.
The signs of PCOS may vary and can arise when you first have your period or later on in life. If you are unsure if you have PCOS here are some of the symptoms you should watch out for:
- Irregular menstrual cycles – according to Mayo Clinic, another indicator of PCOS is “when you have fewer than nine periods a year, with more than 35 days between periods and abnormally heavy periods.”
- Sudden changes in menstrual cycle – if you notice that your periods are unusually heavier or longer than usual, then you may be at risk.
- Excess androgen – Unusually high levels of this male hormone is manifested through excess hair growth and male-pattern baldness. Having excess insulin in your body may also increase androgen production which can also disrupt the ovulation process.
Symptoms of PCOS can get complicated and severe especially if you are obese.
There is currently no singular test to properly diagnose PCOS so your gynecologist may perform several diagnostic examinations like an ultrasound to check the appearance of your ovaries, a pelvic exam to rule out any masses, and blood tests to gauge hormone levels.
What you can do
As mentioned, being overweight can make your symptoms worse so your doctor may ask you to shed some pounds. Try to exercise daily to lower blood sugar levels and never resort to unhealthy diet programs which can potentially do more harm than good. Eat foods which are rich in fiber that helps promote good digestion.
Your gynecologist may also prescribe birth control pills and progestin therapy to regulate estrogen and control androgen levels in your body. Always consult your doctor before drinking any kind of medication, including vitamins. Keep in mind that your physician is in the best position to prescribe the right kind of treatment for your condition. Immediately stop using a product if you experience negative side effects.