Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): What You Don’t Know

woman with stomach painWhen it comes to the sexual health of women, we can often run into issues concerning our reproductive organs, and sometimes these issues go unchecked and undiagnosed. One of the most common and least spotlighted issues that plague the ovaries is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and is a condition that affects 1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 women of childbearing age.

The underlying problem with PCOS is a hormonal imbalance and because of it’s unknown cause, PCOS can only be treated and not cured. As many as 5 million women in the United States are affected by the condition, yet 50% of these cases go undiagnosed.

Continue reading for the causes, symptoms and treatment options for PCOS.

Causes

PCOS has been linked to an imbalance in hormones due to an overabundance of insuline within the female body that isn’t able to be absorbed and used properly. The ovaries of women living with PCOS produce a high amounts of androgen (a male hormone) that affect the development and release of eggs during ovulation and can cause a delayed or an absence of a menstrual cycle. PCOS is the number once cause of female infertility.

READ: How Normal Is Menstrual Irregularity?

Symptoms

  • Infrequent, absent, and/or irregular menstrual periods
  • Infertility (inability to get pregnant) because of not ovulating. In fact, PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility.
  • 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

Treatment

Making lifestyle changes by incorporating more frequent and rigorous exercising,…