Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Posted on: Nov 30 2016
For many women, issues such as PMS can make it seem that our hormones are continually in a state of flux. But the reality is that this isn’t the case. Levels may rise and fall, but they are as they should be.
When a woman’s hormones are actually out of balance that can be a real problem. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one issue with hormonal imbalance and it can affect your periods and make it difficult to become pregnant. A link has also been established between PCOS and obesity. Such patients frequently have severe insulin resistance, with diabetes occurring in up to 50 percent of PCOS patients. An increased risk of heart disease also ensues.
Since every member of the team at Park Avenue Endocrinology & Nutrition has specific training and experience in endocrinology, metabolism, and clinical nutrition, we are the perfect resource to help you address and move past your PCOS.
What happens with PCOS?
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. They trigger lots of important processes, every thing from growth to energy production to moods. Sometimes the job of one hormone is to signal for the release of another hormone.
In PCOS, a woman will grow many small cysts on her ovaries. The cysts are not harmful, but lead to hormonal imbalance. Early diagnosis and treatment with the team at Park Avenue Endocrinology can help control symptoms and prevent long-term issues.
The reasons the hormones get out of balance are not understood. One hormone triggers another, leading to a domino effect. PCOS seems to run in families.
Here are two examples of PCOS problems:
- With PCOS the sex hormones can make more androgens than normal. This causes the woman to stop ovulating, develop acne, and grow extra facial and body hair.
- The body may have trouble utilizing insulin, another hormone whose job is to regulate blood sugar. When this happens blood sugar levels rise and along with them your chances of getting diabetes.
In addition to the acne, unwanted hair growth, and ovulation problems, PCOS also makes most sufferers become obese.
Common symptoms of PCOS
- Weight gain
- Thinning scalp hair\
- Extra hair — including thicker, darker facial hair, and additional hair on the chest, stomach, and back
- Irregular periods. Some women have no periods, others fewer than nine per year. Some have heavy bleeding.
Dr. Gage has dealt with PCOS extensively, describing the problems of insulin resistance with PCOS in his book, The Thinderella Syndrome: A Practical Guide to Individualized Permanent Weight Loss. He notes that insulin resistance in women with PCOS seems to resemble that which occurs in the obese type 2 diabetic.
How we diagnose PCOS
If you’re showing symptoms of PCOS, we start by looking at your past health patterns, symptoms, and menstrual cycles. During your physical exam, we’ll look for other signs, such as high blood pressure and abnormal hair growth. We’ll check your blood sugar, insulin, and the levels of other hormones so that we can rule out thyroid problems. We may include a pelvic ultrasound to look for cysts on your ovaries.
How PCOS is treated
At Park Avenue Endocrinology, for our patients who complain of excessive weight gain despite all dieting efforts, we find that Metformin and GLP-1 agonists (insulin-sensitizer medications) can correct this problem. But Dr. Gage notes that the medications must be accompanied by strict lifestyle changes such as adopting a low carbohydrate diet.
Other treatment options depend on if you are seeking to get pregnant, but can include oral contraceptives or ovulation induction medications. But weight loss may be all the treatment that is necessary, as it can help balance your hormones and restart your menstrual cycle.
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Posted in: Thyroid