Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition anyone with a uterus needs to know about. These tips will help you manage symptoms to minimise their impact.
With its wide range of symptoms, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can take time to diagnose, but it’s important this common endocrine condition is investigated and managed correctly.
Linked to higher levels of testosterone and insulin being produced by the body, it generally starts in young women between puberty and their mid-twenties. These hormones prevent eggs being released, so they build up in a woman’s ovaries.
This is why PCOS refers to many cysts in your ovaries. Symptoms vary from person to person, but may include irregular or heavy menstrual cycles, acne, weight gain, excess facial or body hair, scalp hair loss, anxiety, mood changes and depression.
Affecting 5-20% of women in their reproductive years, it’s important that PCOS is diagnosed correctly and early, says Simon Jones, a gynaecologist and advanced endoscopic surgeon at Oxford Women’s Health.
“PCOS is a diagnosis of exclusion,” he explains. “During this process, we need to take into account how you’re feeling, alongside your medical history, and we will run tests to confirm whether you have PCOS or another health condition.
“The syndrome is related to a complex mix of biological and environmental factors, including diet, lifestyle and genetic make-up.”
Understandably, many women living with PCOS are concerned that the condition will affect their chances of getting pregnant. In fact, PCOS is one of the most treatable conditions for people with infertility issues.
Options to manage PCOS symptoms include surgery, medications such as acne treatments and oral contraceptives, and electrolysis or laser therapy for removing unwanted hair.
“It’s important for a doctor to diagnose PCOS early and help to manage the symptoms to minimise its impact on your daily life,” says Simon. “Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, and eating a well-balanced diet can also help to manage it.”
If you’re concerned that you may have PCOS, talk with your GP or give our friendly team a call to make an appointment to see an Oxford Women’s Health specialist.
For more information, visit oxfordwomenshealth.co.nz.
THIS ARTICLE IS SPONSORED BY OXFORD WOMEN’S HEALTH