Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common condition that affects women hormonally. The symptoms first begin at the onset of puberty, though they may manifest later in life when caused by a lifestyle change. PCOS causes a variety of symptoms due to enlarged ovaries that may develop cysts. In Peoria Women’s Health, we have the experience to help you treat PCOS successfully. Treatments, including medication and lifestyle adjustments, can successfully treat discomfort and health issues caused by the condition.

What are the Symptoms of PCOS?

PCOS symptoms are all affected by hormone levels. Since the ovaries are affected, symptoms include irregular periods, pelvic pain and in some cases, infertility. An excess of testosterone can cause unwanted body hair and acne. Many people with PCOS also gain weight.

The ovaries may develop cysts if eggs are not released, but this symptom is not necessary for someone to receive a PCOS diagnosis. Not everyone with PCOS will have the same symptoms. A combination of several of these symptoms is a sign you may have PCOS.

What Causes PCOS?

Some factors have been linked to PCOS, but none have been identified as direct causes. Research suggests that there is a genetic component, since nearly a quarter of women with PCOS have a mother with the same condition, and 32 percent share it with a sister. A range of genes regulating hormones and insulin may be associated with it.

Insulin resistance may be one of many PCOS causes. It creates higher levels of testosterone in the body, leading to hirsutism and affecting periods. It is also part of why women with the condition have higher rates of diabetes.

What are the Health Risks of having PCOS?

Getting a diagnosis from a medical professional is helpful for those with PCOS, as it gets them closer to finding effective treatments to reduce health issues. The treatment has been shown to reduce health risks like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Several medications are used to address symptoms like irregular periods and a tendency toward diabetes.

How is PCOS Diagnosed?

A diagnosis is necessary before beginning any treatment for PCOS. Diagnosis involves a look at overall health and includes a few procedures that assess symptoms. Some methods doctors often use include:

    • Blood tests
    • Ultrasounds
    • Pelvic examinations

Blood tests can measure hormone levels, such as high levels of androgens, which is one way of diagnosing PCOS. Pelvic exams can reveal abnormalities in the pelvic region that indicate PCOS symptoms. Ultrasounds can give a more detailed assessment of pelvic abnormalities within the uterus and ovaries that may be harder to see, such as growths or cysts.

Contact Peoria Women’s Health Today!

If you believe you may have PCOS, contact Peoria Women’s Health to set up a consultation. PCOS treatment can lead to a better quality of life, so find out if you could benefit from medical treatment with us.