How is PCOS diagnosed?
Balance Women's Health providers conduct a thorough review of contributing factors such as medical conditions and medications, vitamin deficiencies, endocrine disorders, exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, menstrual history, family history, current dietary habits and food cravings, fertility history, relationships and life stress as well as mood and anxiety disorders. A lab evaluation can help rule out other causes for your symptoms and target therapies to your individual needs. Additionally, as needed, a physical exam may be performed and sometimes an ultrasound of the ovaries.
How is PCOS treated?
Treatment options for PCOS vary because some women experience a range of symptoms, or just one. Balance believes it is important for women to understand their diagnosis, the underlying dysfunction in the body and options for treatment. Main treatment options for PCOS include:
Birth control medications such as an oral contraception pill or a hormonal intrauterine device are options that can help manage irregular periods associated with PCOS. You should discuss these options with your OB/GYN or women’s health care provider.
PCOS: The Oral Contraceptive Pill
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) and PCOS
For women with PCOS, maintaining a healthy weight can be a constant struggle. PCOS makes it more difficult for the body to use the hormone insulin, which can cause insulin and sugar (glucose) to build up in the bloodstream. This build up is called insulin resistance and is often linked to obesity. Many women with PCOS tend to make too much insulin which is responsible for some of the weight issues associated with this disorder. Dietary changes, primarily limiting carbohydrates, can be helpful as well as monitoring blood sugar levels, and getting regular exercise. In addition, medication such as metformin and supplements, such as inositol, can improve insulin resistance in PCOS patients.
4 Things to Know About Taking Inositol for PCOS
Metformin and B12
Metformin: How it works, and what you need to know if you have PCOS
Ortho Molecular: N-Acetyl Cysteine
Drug Combination Promotes Weight Loss in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
6 Ways NAC Supports Your Health With PCOS
More Magnesium, More Benefit in Prediabetes?
Treating Depression and Anxiety
In recent years, the complex relationship between PCOS and psychosocial issues has come to the forefront, with a prominent link found between specific features of PCOS and mental well-being. The scientific literature now shows clearly that anxiety levels, psychological distress, depressive feelings, and social fears are much higher in the women with PCOS. In one study of 300 women, nearly 30% had anxiety, and quality of life was lowest in those with a combination of stress and depression. The reasons for the increased risk of depression and anxiety in women with PCOS, as well as for PCOS women to develop psychiatric disorders, are still unclear, but we do know that stress is linked to overall health and well-being.
Depression and Anxiety In Women With PCOS
PCOS Linked to Anxiety and Depression
When Not to Treat Depression in PCOS With Antidepressants
PCOS, Infertility, and Pregnancy
PCOS is the most common, but treatable, causes of infertility in women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may miss periods or have fewer periods (fewer than eight in a year). Or their periods may come every 21 days or more often. Some women with with PCOS stop having menstrual periods. Having PCOS does not mean you can't get pregnant. In women with PCOS, the hormonal imbalance interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). If you don't ovulate, you can't get pregnant.
PCOS can cause problems during pregnancy for you and your baby. Women with PCO have higher rates of:
- Diabetes during pregnancy
- Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure (preeclampsia)
- Premature delivery
- Endometrial cancer
- Children with mental health and neurodevelopmental issues, including autism
PCOS Is Associated With Adverse Mental Health and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes