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Legacy Women's Health

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Help for Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Affecting an estimated 5 million women in the United States, polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most common endocrine disorders in women of childbearing age. It is a leading cause of both anovulation and infertility, yet is also considered widely underdiagnosed.

PCOS symptoms

Knowing the symptoms related to PCOS will improve diagnosis and help women more quickly be able to manage the condition. Common PCOS symptoms can range from bothersome to serious, interfering with quality of life.

● Irregular periods
● Ovaries that are large or have many cysts
● Excessive hair on the face or body (hirsutism)
● Weight gain, especially around the abdomen
● Acne
● Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
● Infertility

The presence of two or more of these PCOS symptoms should be evaluated by a physician. At Legacy Women’s Health, our San Antonio OBGYNs will take your medical history and perform a physical exam. An ultrasound may be performed to evaluate the size of the ovaries and look for cysts. Blood glucose, cholesterol and hormone levels can also be tested.

The cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is not clear, but it is believed that a woman’s hormone levels are a factor. It’s clear that genetics plays a role because women whose mothers or sisters have PCOS or type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop PCOS. Also, many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, leading researchers to make a correlation between the two.

Diagnosis is the first step to improving symptoms

There is currently no cure, but symptom management can greatly improve the quality of life of women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Once diagnosed, our San Antonio OBGYNs will walk you through the steps to improving symptoms.

● Healthy diet: Controlling your insulin and losing weight can minimize the effects of PCOS.
● Physical exercise: A healthier lifestyle has been shown to reduce symptoms.
● Medication: Decisions about medications will be made with your physician, and depend on symptoms and life stage.

Living with polycystic ovary syndrome

Symptom management not only improves daily life for women with PCOS, it also reduces the risk of future health concerns. People with polycystic ovary syndrome are more likely to have infertility, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease and endometrial cancer. Proper management can help improve quality of life and reduce long-term health risks.

It is important that women who experience PCOS symptoms reach out to a physician to schedule an evaluation. Contact Legacy Women’s Health for an appointment with our San Antonio OBGYNs.