Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common problem that affects one in ten women during their childbearing years and is the leading cause of infertility in women in the United States. PCOS is also a highly treatable condition and Dr. Daniel B. Channell, gynecologist at the Channell Family Medical Group in Rancho Cucamonga, California, has considerable experience in dealing with PCOS and in reducing its often unpleasant symptoms.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a condition where many small cysts form on or in your ovaries, which create an imbalance in your reproductive hormones. This imbalance can cause problems in the development and release of your eggs and the resulting cysts can be problematic and sometimes painful.
What causes PCOS?
Doctors are still unsure as to what causes PCOS, but most believe that genetics play a key role. These genetics can lead to:
- High levels of androgen
- All women produce some level of androgen, known as the “male” hormone, in their systems, but women with PCOS have higher levels of androgen than estrogen.
- High levels of insulin
- Women with PCOS often have insulin resistance, which hampers their ability to turn food into energy.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
Typically, the symptoms of PCOS tend to come on gradually, beginning when you first start menstruating. The symptoms may not be noticed for years, or they may be evident right from the start, so each case is different. However, there are common symptoms that signal PCOS, which are:
- Irregular periods: Few to no periods, to heavy bleeding during your period
- Unwanted hair growth: Facial and the body hair that is usually thicker and darker than your normal hair
- Thinning hair on your head
- Weight gain and the inability to lose weight
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with Dr. Channell for a diagnosis and treatment.
What are the treatments for PCOS?
Treating PCOS often involves a combination of medical intervention to regulate your hormones and at-home measures you can take to curb the effects of the condition.
Because insulin resistance is commonly associated with PCOS, there is much you can do at-home to combat this resistance, such as:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Lose weight
- Exercise frequently
Medically, there are several different treatments that can address the hormone imbalance, including:
- Hormonal birth control: Regulates your estrogen levels
- Anti-androgen medication: Blocks the effect of androgen
- Metformin: A type 2 diabetes drug, helps lower blood sugar and androgen levels
Dr. Channell will go over the best treatment options for you. Contact us today for a consultation.