You’re only as old as you feel. And as time progresses, that old, feel-good saying might become more of a reality as new technology and research emerges As more and more women are affected every day by this extremely common hormonal imbalance and metabolism disorder, it’s good to know that you’re not alone in your fight against Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS, which is the leading cause of female infertility and affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age.
In fact, public organizations, have worked to designate the month of September as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Awareness Month, prompting more awareness and education regarding this serious disorder.
PCOS is mainly caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones and creates problems in the ovaries, which is the part of the female body that makes eggs that are released each month as part of a healthy menstrual cycle. However, with PCOS, the egg may not develop as normally as it should and may not be released during normal ovulation, which creates infertility issues for women. It also causes the ovaries to develop numerous small collections of fluid-filled sacs known as cysts.
Since this disorder is so common in women, the chances of you having it (and not knowing) or someone close to you having it, is very high. Between 5-10 percent of women between the ages of 15-44 have been diagnosed with the disorder. But there are questions that we need to get to the bottom of in order to better predict this disorder and become more knowledgeable about it. So, let’s get down to the signs and symptoms of someone who might have PCOS.
One commonality shared among women is the not-so-precious gift of monthly menstrual periods that mother nature brings to us at a young age. And when a young girl (between the ages of 10-14) gets her first menstrual period during puberty, PCOS can already start developing at that time.
While many of the signs and symptoms vary, a diagnosis of PCOS is probable if you experience at least two of these signs:
While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, several health experts have narrowed down a few known factors that might play a role:
One of the more complicated factors when dealing with PCOS is on the topic of pregnancy. Does PCOS affect a women’s ability to reproduce? Yes, unfortunately, it does. But the amount that it affects pregnancy can be treated, so let’s take a closer look at how it might affect being pregnant.
For some women, getting pregnant is easy. For others, it can be a difficult process – especially when you’re dealing with PCOS, which is the leading cause of infertility in women.
Fortunately, with a little education about how to treat PCOS (and maybe a little luck), is it still possible to get pregnant. With PCOS, the hormonal imbalance interferes with how a woman ovulates regularly, and if you don’t ovulate, you can’t get pregnant.
However, it’s best to consult with your doctor to find ways to help you ovulate and raise your chances of becoming pregnant. Here’s a few things you can do to help:
While the threatening hormonal disorder can play a role in getting pregnant, there are ways to overcome it and take control of your life. However, PCOS can also affect other health issues, not just pregnancy. It can affect your sugar levels and therefore, you have a higher risk of becoming diabetic. You also might deal with high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, sleep apnea, depression and anxiety, as well as endometrial cancer. Let’s look at a few different ways you can try to help prevent these health problems from occurring.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for PCOS. However, it can be managed with the right treatment and remedies. Here’s a few steps at home to help your PCOS symptoms:
If by chance you become pregnant and you have PCOS, another thing you might want to consider is that you and your baby are at higher risk for experiencing problems during pregnancy. Unfortunately, women with PCOS have higher rates of miscarriages, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, needing a cesarean section, and possibly spending more time in the NICU.
However, you can lower these risks by reaching a healthy weight and having healthy blood sugar levels before becoming pregnant, and by taking folic acid on a daily basis.
As researchers look to find an exact cure and reason why so many women are being diagnosed with PCOS, it’s good to consider that there might be hope in the future for answers against this serious hormonal disorder.
Presently, there is no cure and no exact reason as to why PCOS exists. As of right now, we only know how it affects our bodies and how we can effectively manage it so that it doesn’t threaten our way of life. Researchers continue to search for answers and new ways to treat PCOS.
Some researchers are looking for links between genetics and PCOS, environmental exposure and PCOS risks, ethnic and racial differences in PCOS symptoms, medicines and supplements to rejuvenate ovulation, obesity and links to PCOS, and much more.
As more women are diagnosed every day with PCOS, it’s a good idea to help spread awareness about the hormonal disorder in order to try to manage it head-on. And remember, you’re not alone in this battle. It’s important to stay positive and consult with your doctor if necessary.
For more information on how to get involved, please visitThe National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association.