PCOS Awareness Month – Recognizing the Signs
Do you have unwanted facial hair, irregular periods or are you having a difficult time getting pregnant? This could be a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Nearly seven million women (approx. 1 in 10) in the U.S. suffer from PCOS, but almost half go undiagnosed.
This month, Houston IVF is spreading awareness of this often-misunderstood condition for PCOS Awareness Month.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a hormone-related medical condition that can impact your hormone levels, menstrual cycle, fertility, and even your physical appearance. While the exact causes of PCOS are still unclear, researchers believe that it’s related to the body’s production of too much insulin, resulting in the over-production of androgens or male hormones. These male hormones lead to the frustrating side effects that women with PCOS experience. Genetics seems to play a role as well. Women with PCOS are more likely to have a mother or sister with the condition.
The symptoms of PCOS can vary from woman to woman, which is one reason why the disorder often goes undiagnosed. Some of the signs of PCOS, include:
- Infrequent, absent, and/or irregular menstrual periods
- Hirsutism (HER-suh-tiz-um) — increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes
- Cysts on the ovaries
- Acne, oily skin, or dandruff
- Weight gain or obesity, usually with extra weight around the waist
- Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
- Patches of skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs that are thick and dark brown or black
- Skin tags — excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
- Pelvic pain
- Anxiety or depression
- Sleep apnea — when breathing stops for short periods of time while asleep
There is no available cure for PCOS, but the symptoms can be managed with guidance from your physician. If you have PCOS and you’d like to learn how we can help grow your family, please contact us today.
For PCOS Awareness Month, we are encouraging our patients to speak out and share their experience with PCOS on our Facebook page. The more women that talk about PCOS openly, the better chance we have of increasing awareness and removing the stigmas associated with this disorder.