What is PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormonal condition. In women who have it, it can affect your ability to have a child (fertility). It can also:

Make your periods stop or become hard to predict

Cause acne and unwanted hair

Raise your chances for other health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure

There are treatments for the symptoms, and if you want to get pregnant, that’s still possible, though you may need to try different methods.

Many women who have PCOS don’t have cysts on their ovaries, so “polycystic” can be misleading. You might have cysts, and you might not.

Hormones and PCOS

With PCOS, your reproductive hormones are out of balance. This can lead to problems with your ovaries, such as not having your period on time, or missing it entirely.

Hormones are substances your body makes to help different processes happen. Some are related to your ability to have a baby, and also affect your menstrual cycle. Those that are involved in PCOS include.

Androgens: Often called “male” hormones, women have them, too. Those with PCOS tend to have higher levels, which can cause symptoms like hair loss, hair in places you don’t want it (such as on your face), and trouble getting pregnant.

Insulin: This hormone manages your blood sugar. If you have PCOS, your body might not react to insulin the way that it should.

Progesterone: With PCOS, your body may not have enough of this hormone. That can make you to miss your periods for a long time, or to have periods that are hard to predict.

Causes

You might be more likely to have PCOS if your sister or mother also has it. It could also be related to problems that make your body produce too much insulin, which can affect your ovaries and their ability to ovulate (release eggs).

Treatments can help you manage the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and lower your odds for long-term health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

You and your doctor should talk about what your goals are so you can come up with a treatment plan. For example, if you want to get pregnant and are having trouble, then your treatment would focus on helping you conceive.

Healthy Habits

One of the best ways to deal with PCOS is to eat well and exercise regularly. Many women with PCOS are overweight or obese.. Losing just 5% to 10% of your body weight may ease some symptoms and help make your periods more regular. It may also help manage problems with blood sugar levels and ovulation.

Since PCOS could lead to high blood sugar, your doctor may want you to limit starchy or sugary foods. Instead, eat foods and meals that have plenty of fiber, which raise your blood sugar level slowly.

Staying active helps you control your blood sugar and insulin, too. And exercising every day will help you with your weight.