PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a condition that you may not be incredibly familiar with but you should be because it is a condition that affects many women. In fact, the Office of Women’s Health reports just how many women have PCOS, “Between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women of childbearing age has PCOS. As many as 5 million women in the United States may be affected. It can occur in girls as young as 11 years old.” With so many women impacted by PCOS it is important to understand exactly what PCOS is. Mayo Clinic describes PCOS and how it affects the female body, “Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine system disorder among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have enlarged ovaries that contain small collections of fluid — called follicles — located in each ovary as seen during an ultrasound exam. Infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity can all occur in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. In adolescents, infrequent or absent menstruation may raise suspicion for the condition.”
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is not a new condition, it has been around for some time. It was first described by physicians in 1935 and more and more has been learned about it as time has progressed. Many women do not realize they have PCOS until they begin to consider starting a family and start examining their reproductive health more closely. But, while PCOS cannot be cured it does not mean that the symptoms cannot be managed or overcome. While having children may be more difficult for those who have PCOS, having children is still very possible. For those that are diagnosed with PCOS, both birth control pills and Metformin are both treatment options. Birth control pills have been shown to help manage symptoms associated with PCOS by regulating menstrual cycles and mitigating symptoms. Women who have PCOS are also more susceptible to diabetes so managing weight and glucose levels is very important. Metformin is a medication that is often used to help diabetics manage blood glucose levels and has been shown to help women with PCOS as well. Additionally, for those looking to become pregnant, Clomid is a medication that has proven very effective at helping women ovulate so that they can become pregnant. For those looking for alternative therapies or simply want to avoid medication, supplements or additional food sources containing Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium and more can also be helpful at improving overall health. Before beginning any lifestyle or diet change sit is important to consult a physician who can offer guidance and medical expertise to ensure you are making the healthiest choice for your body, based on your medical history. Much about PCOS is still not understood so treatment methods are highly individual and often involve tweaking over time to find the perfect balance for each person. When managed properly many of the symptoms can be minimized or completely avoided, many women are able to achieve regular menstrual cycles and have children and, through the guidance of a physician, live incredibly healthy lives.