Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome abbreviated as PCOS is a serious condition that can affect women from adolescents through the age of reproduction. It is a condition that should be checked for because detecting this early can help reduce the complications that PCOS can have long term. This is a hormonal issue that if left untreated, or if goes undiagnosed can have devastating impacts on our lives.
Because this is a hormonal condition, the effects vary widely. It is most commonly diagnosed when women find they have difficulty becoming pregnant, but other symptoms exist. Sadly, these symptoms are not always easy to discuss, even with a partner because they affect our self-body image. PCOS can cause unexplained weight gain, increased acne, and even dramatic hair growth. One of the common symptoms is an unusual menstrual cycle, especially in adolescents. It is important that we understand these symptoms, because often in adolescents changes in menstruation are not reported, or they are excused away as being a normal part of a young woman’s body changing. That dismissal often leads to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome going undiagnosed for decades, and that can be dangerous to our health.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is linked to many dangerous health conditions.
The danger from PCOS is that half of the women who have this syndrome become diabetic. There is an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even breathing problems like sleep apnea. There is a psychological toll, as well. Because this syndrome can affect our body image by increased episodes of acne, increased weight gain, and growing hair in places where we should not have hair, there is an increased risk that we develop depression and anxiety. We also have an increased risk of endometrial cancer due to the irregularity of menstruation.
There is no known cause for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The physical is most often represented by small cysts that form in our ovaries. The ovary may appear enlarged, and upon closer examination small cysts will be found developing in the outer edge of our ovaries. Again, because this is a hormonal syndrome, effects between women will be different. The reactions of the hormones affect all of us differently. This is why we must learn to discuss personal and embarrassing symptoms with our doctors, our partners, and for adolescents, with our parents. Detection is key in reducing symptoms and enhancing treatment.
Options for treatment are individual. We all experience this differently, but there are treatment options available. It is important that we understand that currently there is no cure for PCOS, but there are very strong management options that can help us to live better lives, reduce health risks, and even correct some or most of the effect associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
This information is provided because we need to know what is going on with our bodies. It is up to us to ask questions and find the courage to discuss issues with our doctors. There is hope for all those who suffer with PCOS. You don’t have to suffer with this syndrome. You can control it with the help of our doctors, but the key is diagnosis.