What is PCOS?
PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal disorder characterized by small cysts on the ovaries. While its name would imply that the cysts are the most significant aspect of the condition, that’s not actually the case. The bigger issue is really the resulting hormonal imbalances. These imbalances may result in:
- Menstrual problems: A cessation or decrease in menstrual periods or irregularity
- Fertility problems: Inability to ovulate or repeated miscarriages
- External changes: Balding, increased hair growth in other areas of the body, acne or oily skin
- Sleep Problems: Trouble breathing while asleep
- Internal problems: Insulin resistance or an excess amount of insulin. This may cause obesity, skin tags and so on
Left untreated, this can lead to more serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Not to mention endometrial cancer, which can develop if the endometrium is unable to shed its lining for an extended period. Of course, you wouldn’t want to have any of these health problems.
If you don’t have PCOS currently, you might be wondering, “Am I at risk? And if I were to be diagnosed, what treatments would prevent my condition from worsening to such a point?”
Risk Factors and Treatment of PCOS
If you have a family history of the condition, your chances of having it too are higher. Research has shown that it tends to run in families. Additionally, family history of obesity, irregular periods and diabetes may mean that your chances are higher.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to avoid PCOS. But you can definitely receive treatment if you’re diagnosed with it. This might include medication to regulate your hormones and lessen your symptoms. Your doctor might also suggest adjustments to your diet and exercise regimen. Such lifestyle changes can go a long way in treating PCOS, although there is no cure.
What About Ovarian Cancer?
A woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer is approximately one in 75. It’s estimated that in by 2017 alone, more than 22,000 women in the U.S. would be diagnosed and 14,000 would not survive the fight. It’s clear that early detection and prompt treatment are key.
That’s why it’s recommended that women receive regular checkups to identify and treat any problems before they escalate.
Keep Tabs Now, Avoid Problems Later
Blood tests, ultrasounds and other tests can reveal any conditions affecting the ovaries. Especially if you have one or more of the risk factors, you should speak to your doctor about what tests may be right for you and how often you need them. Then, be sure to follow through according to those suggestions. If you know your ovarian health now, you can avoid problems later.