Women should be aware of PCOS

StarMetro Calgary - - DAILY LIFE - Dr. Sheila Laredo

Men­strual ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties are just one sign of PCOS, which also in­cludes male hor­mone-ef­fect symp­toms like acne, male pat­tern hair loss or hair growth. Poly­cys­tic Ovar­ian Syn­drome (PCOS) is one of the top rea­sons that women may strug­gle to get preg­nant. But, even if you’re not try­ing to con­ceive, it’s im­por­tant to treat this en­docrine con­di­tion.

Ir­reg­u­lar or in­fre­quent pe­ri­ods are a com­mon symp­tom. In my work as an en­docri­nol­o­gist who fo­cuses on re­pro­duc­tive health is­sues, up to 85 per cent of the women who come to see me be­cause they only get pe­ri­ods oc­ca­sion­ally have PCOS.

The name is a bit of a mis­nomer. Most women with PCOS don’t have cysts. What ap­pears on their ul­tra­sounds are ac­tu­ally fol­li­cles. Usu­ally, these sacs, which con­tain and ul­ti­mately re­lease eggs, are tiny and hard to see in a scan. But in women with PCOS, the fol­li­cles grow larger than they would in women with­out the con­di­tion.

In a nor­mal men­strual cy­cle, the lin­ing of the uterus builds up and sheds. But, in PCOS, if the pe­ri­ods are in­fre­quent, the uter­ine lin­ing can con­tinue to build with­out shed­ding. If this con­tin­ues over time, the risk of ab­nor­mal­i­ties in the uter­ine lin­ing in­creases. In the worst-case sce­nario, this can con­trib­ute to en­dome­trial can­cer.

Men­strual ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties are just one sign of PCOS, which also in­cludes male hor­mone-ef­fect symp­toms like acne, male pat­tern hair loss or growth.Hair loss, un­wanted hair and acne can be dis­tress­ing enough on their own, but re­search also shows women with PCOS are at an in­creased risk of de­pres­sion and some types of anx­i­ety.

Among women, male-pat­tern hair growth or loss are also clues that some­one is likely in­sulin re­sis­tant and her body can’t ef­fec­tively re­spond to the in­sulin it pro­duces to help man­age blood sugar lev­els. Most women who have PCOS have in­sulin re­sis­tance. For ad­vice on how to man­age PCOS symp­toms go to thes­tar.com/life

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