Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Symptoms & Treatment

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a prevalent condition impacting women’s ovaries, often presenting symptoms during adolescence. Characterized by irregular periods, acne, and excessive hair growth on the face and chest, PCOS is a complex disorder with varied manifestations among women.

Keep reading to learn about PCOS, what symptoms to look for early on, and what treatment options are available, particularly at Your Wellness Center!

woman who looks in pain holding her stomach from PCOS symptomsWhat is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal disorder most commonly found among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods.

They’ll also typically experience lower levels of Progesterone and increased levels of hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, or insulin. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to release eggs regularly.

Importance of Early Diagnosis and Treatment

Early diagnosis of PCOS is crucial for managing its symptoms and preventing long-term complications such as diabetes, heart disease, and endometrial cancer. Recognizing the symptoms early and seeking appropriate treatment can significantly enhance a woman’s quality of life and reduce the risk of severe health issues.

At Your Wellness Center here in Cincinnati, we found that patients with PCOS may present symptoms (see below) at a young age but aren’t properly diagnosed until they’re older and might be looking to become pregnant.

Causes of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, several factors, including genetics and environmental influences, may play a role:

  1. Insulin Resistance: Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance. When cells become resistant to insulin’s action, blood sugar levels can rise, prompting the body to produce more insulin. Excess insulin may increase androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation.
  2. Inflammation: Low-grade inflammation, joint in women with PCOS, can stimulate polycystic ovaries to produce androgens.
  3. Heredity: PCOS often runs in families, indicating a genetic component.
  4. Excess Androgen Production: The ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgens (again, hormones such as testosterone).

Symptoms of PCOS

The symptoms of PCOS can vary significantly from woman to woman, making it a challenging condition to diagnose. Common symptoms include:

  • Irregular Menstrual Cycles: This is one of the hallmark signs of PCOS. Women may experience fewer than nine periods a year, more than 35 days between periods, or abnormally heavy periods.
  • Imbalanced Hormone Levels: Elevated testosterone or estrogen levels may result in physical signs such as excess facial and body hair (hirsutism) or severe acne. Women with PCOS also experience lower levels of the hormone progesterone as well, as mentioned before.
  • Polycystic Ovaries: Enlarged ovaries containing numerous tiny fluid-filled sacs surround the eggs.
  • Weight Gain: Many women with PCOS struggle with weight gain or obesity.
  • Skin Changes: Darkening of the skin, especially along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts, and skin tags can occur.looking down at feet on a scale showing weight gain on the scale

Diagnosing PCOS

Diagnosing PCOS is often complex due to the variability of symptoms and the lack of a single definitive test. A thorough medical history, physical examination, blood tests, and ultrasound are typically used to diagnose PCOS. Key diagnostic criteria include:

  1. Medical History: Detailed information about menstrual cycles, weight changes, and other symptoms.
  2. Physical Examination: Checking for signs of excess hair growth, insulin resistance, and acne.
  3. Blood Tests: Measuring hormone levels, including androgens, insulin, and other related hormones.
  4. Ultrasound: Examining the ovaries for cysts and checking the endometrial lining.

Here at Your Wellness Center, we also perform extensive bloodwork on patients, which helps us identify any potential health concerns. Often, patients will come to us with a few symptoms causing them concern but cannot identify the source or cause. Our goal is to help narrow down any possibilities through bloodwork while paying attention to what our patients tell us beyond the numbers.

Feel free to take our PCOS self-assessment quiz after reading the above symptoms!

Treatment Options for PCOS

At Your Wellness Center, we understand the impact Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can have on a woman’s life, from physical symptoms to emotional well-being. One of our specialized treatment options is Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT), a tailored approach designed to restore hormonal balance and alleviate PCOS symptoms.

What is Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)?

Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy involves using chemically identical hormones to those the human body naturally produces. Unlike synthetic hormones, bio-identical hormones are derived from plant sources and precisely match the molecular structure of endogenous hormones. This compatibility results in better absorption and fewer side effects, making BHRT a preferred choice for many women.

At Your Wellness Center, we prioritize personalized care. Our approach to BHRT involves thoroughly evaluating each patient’s unique hormonal profile and symptoms. Here’s what you can expect from our BHRT program:

  1. Comprehensive Assessment:
    • We begin with an in-depth consultation and detailed medical history. Blood tests are conducted to assess hormone levels, including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and insulin.
  2. Customized Treatment Plan:
    • Based on the assessment, we create a personalized BHRT plan tailored to your needs. This plan may include bio-identical estrogen and progesterone, and in some cases, other hormones to achieve optimal balance.
  3. Ongoing Monitoring and Adjustments:
    • Hormonal balance is a dynamic process. We provide regular follow-ups and monitoring to ensure the treatment is effective and make necessary adjustments to optimize results.
  4. Holistic Support:
    • In addition to BHRT, we offer lifestyle and dietary guidance to complement hormone therapy. Our comprehensive approach addresses all aspects of PCOS, including nutrition, exercise, and stress management.
  5. Patient Education and Empowerment:
    • We believe in empowering our patients with knowledge. We provide education on PCOS, BHRT, and overall health, enabling you to make informed decisions and actively participate in your treatment.

Check out a past testimonial here from one of our female hormone therapy patients!

Living with PCOS

Managing PCOS is an ongoing process that requires a comprehensive and individualized approach. Regular monitoring, lifestyle adjustments, and adherence to treatment plans can help women with PCOS lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

Understanding PCOS and its treatment options empowers women to take control of their health. At Your Wellness Center, we provide a supportive environment where women can receive personalized care and guidance. Again, we encourage women to take our free self-assessment test, which can be a crucial first step in recognizing symptoms and seeking professional help.

Taking the First Step Towards Treating PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a multifaceted condition that affects many aspects of a woman’s life. Early diagnosis and effective management are crucial to mitigating its impact and improving quality of life. With a combination of hormone therapy, lifestyle changes, and other medical interventions, women with PCOS can achieve significant improvements in their symptoms and overall health.

By raising awareness about PCOS and its treatment options, we aim to help women understand their condition better and make informed decisions about their health. At Your Wellness Center in Cincinnati, we are committed to providing comprehensive care and empowering women to lead healthier lives despite the challenges posed by PCOS.

If you’re struggling, know that you don’t have to go through this journey alone—we can help! Fill out our initial consultation form, and we’ll contact you to get you started on the path forward.

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