Management of Irregular Periods & PCOS
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among young women. Symptoms of PCOS can be irregular and/or prolonged menstrual periods, excess male hormone (androgen) levels resulting in acne, male pattern excessive hair growth, as well as male pattern baldness. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly ovulate, which may result in infertility. Women who have PCOS are resistant insulin, an important hormone that regulates the use of sugar in the body. This results in too much insulin, which causes inflammation and over time, can lead to heart disease. Excess insulin can also lead to excessive weight gain and obesity.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown but is frequently linked with being overweight or obese. There may also be a hereditary component. Early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss may reduce the risk of complications. Possible risks and complications include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, heart disease, infertility, miscarriage, as well as complications in pregnancy such as diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, cesarean section, and premature birth.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
A diagnosis of PCOS is made when you experience at least two of these signs:
Irregular periods – Infrequent, irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles are the most common sign of PCOS. For example, you might have fewer than nine periods a year, more than 35 days between periods, abnormally heavy periods, or periods lasting more than 7 days.
Excess androgen – High levels of the male hormone may result in excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), acne and male-pattern baldness.
Polycystic ovaries – Over time, ovaries can enlarge and develop many follicles that surround the eggs due to disruption of ovulation and can result in infertility.
Please contact us if you have irregular menstrual periods, if you’re experiencing infertility or if you experience worsening hirsutism, acne and male-pattern baldness. There is hope as there are many medical treatment options available for PCOS symptoms. Once your PCOS is treated, we can also provide laser treatment for active acne as well as acne scars.
PCOS signs and symptoms are typically more severe if you’re obese. Please feel free to call us for a nutrition consultation as we also specialize in optimizing your nutrition as it relates to PCOS.
Treatment of PCOS symptoms
Because polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has a broad range of symptoms, health care providers may use a variety of treatments for this condition and its symptoms.
Dr. Fleming will discuss your gynecological history, symptoms, and nutrition with you before recommending treatment. Because some of the common treatments for PCOS symptoms can prevent pregnancy or may harm the fetus during pregnancy, she will also discuss your fertility goals with you while discussing treatment options. Our goal is to be sure you fully understand your treatment options and their effects on pregnancy before deciding on a course of treatment.
More information can be found on the National Institute of Health’s website.
Conveniently located at Playhouse Square at the corner of Forest Street and Washington Street in Wellesley, MA minutes from Boston, MA.