PCOS – or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – is a disorder that affects an estimated 5 to 10% of women of child bearing age, and yet many women still do not understand what it is.
Most women receive treatment from a doctor and / or a gynecologist when they believe they may have PCOS or have already been diagnosed, as these specialists can treat the individual symptoms, such as:
– problems conceiving
– facial and body hair
– thinning head hair (alopecia)
– irregular, painful and / or heavy periods
– dark, velvet-like patches around the base of the neck and in other body creases
– unexplained weight-gain
However, it is important to be aware of the underlying cause of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and seek the help of an endocrinologist.
There is still some debate as to how PCOS starts, but it is clear that it is an endocrine disorder. The endocrine system is a group of glands that make hormones. These hormones control the way your body works, such as reproduction, metabolism and growth. When the hormones do not work normally – as with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – it creates a knock-on effect throughout the body.
In the case of most PCOS sufferers, too much insulin is created, which in turn affects the hormones controlling the reproductive cycle. There is excess production of male hormones (androgens) resulting in symptoms such as excess facial and body hair, weight-gain around the abdomen and alopecia. Women with PCOS also find that they have low energy levels because the insulin is not releasing the energy from food properly.
An endocrinologist is trained to diagnose and treat hormone problems by helping to restore the normal balance of hormones in your system.
While there is no current cure for PCOS, the right treatments can reduce symptoms and enable you to conceive naturally.