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PCOS is fairly common, yet many patients have not heard of it, or they may not even know they have it. 

If you have irregular periods, acne, or excessive hair growth, you may have PCOS. The care team at HerMD has worked with many patients to manage PCOS.

What exactly is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which a patient’s hormones are imbalanced. PCOS can cause numerous, small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) to form in the ovaries.

Is PCOS common?

PCOS is common among patients of reproductive age, affecting 8-13% of women in their childbearing years.

How do I know if I have PCOS?

PCOS can cause a variety of symptoms. Some patients may have many symptoms, just a few, or none at all.

Some of the most common symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregular or absent periods
  • High levels of androgens, a type of hormone
  • Cysts on the ovaries
  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Excessive hair growth in certain areas of the body
  • Anxiety and/or depression

Treatment Options for PCOS

A combination of treatment options can be used to alleviate the symptoms of PCOS. Approaches to treatment will generally aim to target the most distressing symptoms, and goals for fertility planning.

Some treatment options for PCOS include:

  • Oral contraceptives and anti-androgens, which can help to regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce excessive hair growth, and reduce acne
  • Medications to stimulate ovulation, for those trying to conceive
  • Medications to treat insulin resistance
  • Medications to treat feelings of anxiety and/or depression
  • Lifestyle modifications, such as increasing activity levels and eating a healthful diet
  • Laser hair removal

What to expect on your visit

During your visit, you can expect your care team to listen to and address all of your concerns in a safe and trusted space. A consultation for PCOS may include:

  • A history and physical examination
  • Labs
  • Imaging (Ultrasound)
When should I see a doctor?

Even if your symptoms are mild, a thorough evaluation is warranted as PCOS increases your risk of other health diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol levels, sleep apnea, and depression.

Is there anything I can do on my own to treat the condition?

Yes. If you are overweight or obese, lifestyle modification and weight loss can improve PCOS. Losing as little as 5% of body weight has been shown to improve symptoms.

Does PCOS cause infertility?

One of the cardinal symptoms of PCOS is anovulation. This occurs when an egg is not released during a menstrual cycle. As a result, certain patients with PCOS may find it harder to conceive, but there are many treatment options available to regulate menstrual cycles and enhance fertility.

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