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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 10% of women, causing irregular menstrual periods, significantly increasing their risk for infertility and negatively affecting their overall health. The skilled physicians at Georgia Obstetrics and Gynecology have helped many women overcome the challenge of PCOS, providing lifestyle and medical care that restores their health and wellness. If you have irregular periods or pelvic pain, you may need a PCOS evaluation. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Atlanta or Alpharetta, Georgia, or book online today.
PCOS is a hormone imbalance that affects your reproductive tract and many systems throughout your body. The condition develops when you have high levels of androgens, a group of male hormones that includes testosterone.
Women typically produce a small number of androgens. You need these hormones to regulate your reproductive system and maintain the health of vital body systems such as your heart, muscles, and bones.
When you have PCOS and androgen levels rise higher than normal, the hormones affect your ovaries and interfere with ovulation and menstruation. PCOS also leads to other serious health complications.
Women with PCOS have at least two of the following primary symptoms:
As the hormone imbalance affects ovulation, you have infrequent, heavy, or irregular menstrual periods. Some women may stop having periods.
Some women with PCOS develop multiple fluid-filled cysts in their ovaries. Ovarian cysts may not cause symptoms, but you may experience pelvic pain, abdominal bloating, and a feeling of fullness in your abdomen when they do.
High androgen levels cause acne, hair loss, and hirsutism. Up to 70% of women with PCOS develop hirsutism, the growth of coarse dark hair on their face, abdomen, chest, and upper thighs.
PCOS represents one of the top causes of infertility, and it can lead to a miscarriage or preterm birth. Without treatment, PCOS also increases your risk of:
Androgens have a role in regulating energy metabolism and the release of insulin. High androgen levels directly affect your body's ability to use insulin, causing insulin resistance, weight gain, and Type 2 diabetes.
PCOS treatment includes a combination of lifestyle changes and medications:
Following a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and losing weight can help reverse insulin resistance or control blood sugar levels if you already have Type 2 diabetes. The same lifestyle changes may also lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Your provider prescribes medications that regulate your hormone levels and restore ovulation and menstruation. You may need combination birth control pills, progestin therapy, or insulin-sensitizing drugs. You might also receive medicated creams to slow hair growth on your face.
If you have signs of PCOS, call Georgia Obstetrics and Gynecology or book an appointment online today.