While estrogen is known as the predominant female hormone and androgen the predominant male hormone, in reality, females do have some androgen levels in their bodies. When androgen levels become too high in a woman’s body, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may be the cause.
An estimated 10 percent of women in their childbearing years are affected by polycystic ovarian syndrome. It is a frequent cause of female infertility. Genetics play a role in developing polycystic ovarian syndrome, as does diet and general health. Contact a skilled gynecologist if you are looking to learn more about polycystic ovarian syndrome treatment options in Greenwich.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome occurs in women of reproductive age, but certain symptoms may continue even past menopause. Symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome include:
Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome in Greenwich typically have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes as they age, and the miscarriage rate is higher as well. Their risk for developing uterine cancer is also greater than the general population.
Diagnosing polycystic ovarian syndrome requires a thorough physical examination and, when feasible, a pelvic exam. Along with a medical history, a doctor will order blood tests to assess a patient’s hormone levels. Typically, menstrual cycles are irregular due to a failure to ovulate.
Estrogen levels tend to be low while testosterone levels may be high, resulting in acne and facial hair growth as well. Resistance to insulin is also characteristic of PCOS, which causes inordinate weight gain and may require medications to regulate blood sugar. Substantial weight loss in an obese woman can result in more regular periods.
Your physician may order a pelvic ultrasound to assess the ovaries and uterus. As the name implies, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome develop cysts on the ovaries. However, it is important to realize that having ovarian cysts does not mean you have PCOS. It is primarily a clinical and laboratory diagnosis.
Various treatments exist for polycystic ovarian syndrome in Greenwich. The patient and her physician together decide on the best course of action after the diagnosis is made. Oral contraceptives can relieve symptoms and make menstrual periods regular. When pregnancy is desired, medications which induce ovulation are appropriate. In instances where excessive hair growth or acne are problematic, this adverse effect of testosterone on the skin can be blocked with simple medications without resorting to oral contraceptives.
Women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome ovulate infrequently – or not at all – so the opportunity for conception becomes limited. Women with milder symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome may not even know there is a problem until they fail to conceive. Women with PCOS have higher rates of miscarriage if they do get pregnant and must be followed closely by their obstetrician.
In some difficult cases, ovarian surgery to disrupt the numerous cysts can induce regular ovulation. Surgical success does not guarantee a long-term outcome, and a successful outcome may require additional non-surgical therapies. Fortunately, many women with polycystic ovarian syndrome will eventually conceive and have children.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome in Greenwich, call Dr. Edward Jacobson’s office today to make an appointment.