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PCOS Awareness Month

September 5, 2010

September is PCOS Awareness Month
. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can effect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, hormones, insulin, heart and even her appearance. The US Department of Health & Human Services estimates between 5-10% of women of child-bearing age have PCOS. Yet most people are uninformed about it and have no idea that such a condition exists.

Women with PCOS experience a combination of symptoms that can lead to serious conditions. Some symptoms include weight gain or inability to gain weight, absent or irregular periods, male pattern hair growth, thinning hair, mood swings, high cholesterol and blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and infertility. In fact, PCOS is a leading cause of infertility in women.

So now we’ll go a bit more into dispelling some common PCOS myths.

PCOS is a rare disorder!
Affecting 5% to 10% of all women of childbearing age, PCOS is one of the most common hormone disorders among women in this age group.

It’s easy to diagnose!
Confirmation of a PCOS diagnosis requires obtaining blood samples for a variety of hormones, including those produced by the ovaries, adrenal glands, pituitary gland and thyroid gland. A full physical examination and screening for cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose and insulin as well as ultrasounds are also a part of the expensive diagnosis.

Only overweight women have PCOS!
This could not be farther from the truth! Weight gain and obesity are only symptoms of this syndrome but there are many women who have PCOS and are lean. In fact thin women with PCOS often find it very hard to be diagnosed as many associate PCOS with obesity.

Women with PCOS can not have children!
Although many women with PCOS have trouble getting pregnant, some women with PCOS have no trouble at all. In general, women with PCOS have a normal uterus and eggs and often have problems due to high insulin levels which can be brought
down with medications so you are able to ovulate each month.

PCOS is a gynecological Disorder!
Since many of the symptoms involve a woman’s reproductive system, PCOS is often mistaken for a gynecological disorder. It is, however, a disorder of the endocrine system, involving hormones and hormone production. This is why most doctors will try to refer you to an Endocrinologist, especially if you’re having difficulties conceiving.

Doctors do not know the cause of PCOS and there is no cure for PCOS; therefore it is a life-long condition, and people need to be informed about managing PCOS and all the symptoms associated with it. So try to keep in mind that the obese woman with “monkey” arms and a bit of facial hair. It may not be their fault.

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